Skills for Economic Transformation of Indigenous tribes in Nagaland

The making of rural entrepreneurs

Photo of Julia Kajini
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  • Yes, I fulfill all of the eligibility criteria.

Initiative's representative name

Ms. Julia Kajini - Programs Manager & Lead Trainer

Initiative's representative date of birth


Initiative’s representative gender

  • Woman

Which eligible market are you based in?

  • India

Where are you making a difference?

Nsong Block of Peren District in Nagaland state

Website or social media url(s)


When was your organisation founded?

11/2006 founded. 05/2009 Registered under society act 1860

Focus areas

  • Helping people adapt to technologies of the future
  • Financial skills and capability
  • Reskilling and upskilling the workforce

Project Stage

  • Start-Up (first few activities have happened)

Yearly Budget: How much capital do you need to accomplish your proposed project?

  • $50k - $100k

Organisation Type

  • Non-profit / NGO

1. Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that led the founder(s) to get started or the story of how you saw the potential for this to succeed

Pro Rural was founded in 2006, however, it was accorded registration as a society by Government of Nagaland in 2009. The founding members got inspiration to form the society, following two events in 2004; viz: NORTH EAST REGIONAL YOUTH SUMMIT ON ECOLOGY, organized by a consortium of NGOs together with the Chief Wild Life Wardens of Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh, and the second event; the launch of the Indian chapter of the Global YOUTH EMPLOYMENT CAMPAIGN, in five states of North East in 2004 and 2005. It was then that the founders planned to involve in skills development of youth, women and rural people.

2. The problem: What problem surrounding employability or financial capability are you helping to solve?

Indigenous tribes confine themselves in their customary practices and are often left behind in socio-economic development. They have no sources of money income. Today money is required for everything be it for education, health or food etc., but they are caught up without any capacity to earn, though rich in resources. It is critical to upgrade their financial capabilities through training in viable small rural enterprises.

3. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

It is planned to train the indigenous potential entrepreneurs from the remote rural villages. Skills in food production like bread, biscuits and processing of farm products like fruit pickle, jam, jelly, juice etc. by using available resources and with traditional wares can help improve food hygiene, improve nutrition and bring money income for the indigenous tribal people. The planned activities include: - Entrepreneurship Training in bread and biscuits making by using locality available resources and earthen vessels and local rice flour etc. - Entrepreneurship Training in fruit pickle, fruit jam, jelly and juice, from what are grown on farm. - Entrepreneurs training in soap making, dish wash liquid soap, and detergent powder mainly using locally available materials. - Training in concepts of digital marketing and use of technologies like mobile in business development. - Awareness training on rights and entitlement and access to government welfare schemes and subsidies.

4. How are you innovating or using unique approaches to solving the problem?

Nsong is 80 km away from Dimapur city, connected by a rough road and vehicles can only ply during dry season. It takes about 8 to 10 hours to reach by a jeep. We went there to organize the women and to start some initiatives. Pro Rural selected 3 educated local youths to do community mobilization. Through a series of motivational workshops with the leaders, we selected 20 women to undergo baking and pickle making training. It was followed up with a soap and dish wash liquid detergent making training as per need. The women have keenly absorbed the skills and developed small enterprises for earning money income. Some are finding markets even in small towns, and now many more villages have requested for such skills training.

6. Financial capability: how is your organization or project creating innovative solutions that arm people with ability to optimize their current and future financial health

The target rural women are at a lost for their lack of skills to earn money income. The skills to be imparted to them is to help develop their attitude, knowledge and earning and saving skills. Together with the skills of production, the book keeping and calculating skills is given. This process empowers them and they start taking keen interest. The more enterprising trainees will keep on expanding their out reach with their products and ensure financial sustainability of their households and activities. Cottage industry on food production at village level have good potential as the products are organic and with hygienic packaging their acceptance in towns and cities are assured. Thus our training will help ensure the quality and hygiene aspects to gain popularity of the products. In the long run the rural folks will gain financially.

6a. Please describe what aspect of financial capability your organization is focused on fostering and how you have measured / plan to measure progress.

Our focus is that the trained rural entrepreneur should increase monthly money income/profit by at least 30% after developing change of attitude, mindset and gaining knowledge. Ample opportunities exist in rural villages, but constraint by lack of skills and the attitude that are basic to starting successful entreprises. Success story: A household invested INR500 and produced dish wash liquid, and got a gross income of INR1400 with net profit of INR900, and the family has continued the business by finding customers in surrounding villages.

7. Marketplace: Who else is addressing the same problem? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Our approach has been to identify local needs and use local resources and raw materials and easy to adapt or adopt technologies, and low investment cost. In the areas we are facilitating, no agency or department has come there yet. Through our training on rights and entitlements to the local leaders, a Public Distribution System (PDS) outlet has been established that provide rations of rice, sugar, lintels etc. The project will deliver right information, need-based soft and hard skills and ensure steady income through creating entrepreneurs in food production, and other need-based products.

8. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

- People are slowly changing their attitude on building livelihoods, and thinking outside the box. - They start looking at their crops and farm products and attach money values to them. - People started looking for right information and eager to getting trained. - What they have can be value added and converted into marketable commodities; e.g. Rice flour can be baked as rice cakes and not just eat, but put in nice leave packets and sell it in cities too. The abundant citrus fruits can be valued added by making pickles and preserved them in bottles and sold in markets. - Governments response is improving. Having called to be contributors as resource persons in some events the government officials have visited the area perhaps for the first time, thus the project can scale up the links with government line departments.

9. Financial Sustainability Plan. Can you tell us about you plan to fund your project and how that plan will be sustainable in the short, medium, and long term?

Short term: The project will provide soft skills (Life Skills) to build attitudes and perspectives, as well as skills for entrepreneurship and production skills. Medium Term: includes formation of product clusters and Self Help Groups and Farmers clubs around the clusters. The lead rural products would be identified and make further plans for promotion. Long term: An Umbrella FPO (Farmers' Producer Organization) will be facilitated to take care larger marketing of village product. The FPO may be further linked to govt. or non-government market facilities.

10. Team

1. Paul Lokho, MSW, M.Phil - Chief Functionary, 2. Athuo Phimu MA - Director, Programs, 3. Kajuni Catherine MBA - Manager, HR, 4. Kevinetou BA- Coordinator, Skills Development & Placement, 5. Neili Wengkanshu, BA - Coordinator, Environment & Waste Management Project, 6. Haining, BA - Field Coordinator, 7. Victor, BA - Community Organizer, All the above Team Members contribute to the progress of the Project.

Help Us Support Diversity! Are you a member of an under-served , under-represented, or marginalized group in your country of residence? (yes/no) (this question is optional – if you choose to fill it out, the response will not be shared with your fellow contestants)

  • Ethnic group
  • Religion
  • Socioeconomic class

If you selected “yes” to any of the categories above, please explain how being a member of this group has impacted you and your work?

I belong to a small marginal indigenous Maram Naga tribe in the North East Region of India. Indigenous tribes in India are lagging far behind and though development packages are being given, the slow learning and absorption capacity of tribes are inhibiting the pace of progress. I am also a Christian and face discrimination in my country. Also when I am economically poor, I cannot access equal opportunities as money play a role for jobs and other opportunities.

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Social media

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A Photo of the training program for tribal youth

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