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 the founders plan to involve in skills development of youth, women and rural people and contribute to environmental sustainability. "Development of youth and youth for Development" is a slogan, an approach and also the process.

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 education, health or food etc., but the reference indigenous Nagas are caught 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.

Leadership development is key to bringing sustainable change to this backward indigenous tribe, as capable leaders can ensure social development and economic progress. The project envisions 200 rural entrepreneurs launching small start-up businesses with local products. Skills in food production particularly processing farm produce can help improve food hygiene, nutrition and bring much needed money income to the target households. Thus activities are: Entrepreneurship Training in food processing like baking, using local rice flour etc. Entrepreneurship Training in pickle, fruit jam, jelly and juice, from what are grown on farm. Entrepreneurs training in soap making, dish wash liquid soap, and detergent powder including using locally available materials, to impact on health, hygiene and income. Training in concepts of digital marketing and use of technologies like mobile apps in business development. Awareness training on rights and entitlement and linkages to have access to government welfare schemes and subsidies. Set up a micro credit facility for entrepreneurs to support the pursuit of income generating activities, reaching out to late starters in future as well.

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

We are looking at the 20,000+ Zeme Indigenous tribe for Leadership Sparks among social leaders and small entrepreneurs to act as change agents to build food security, improved nutrition, health and hygiene. Recently a Public Organization comprised of educated men and women to represent 33 scattered villages has been formed, with the view to advocate on various issues like improved communication, electricity, education, primary health care and others. The spark is noticeable and next phase will nurture a flame. Earlier 60 women were trained in baking with local rice flour, fruits pickle, as well as hygiene products which became marketable products. About 50% have diversified their economic activities and are earning good incomes.

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, 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 the activities. Cottage industry in 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 that is sure to impact social development.

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, the trained rural entrepreneur should increase monthly money income/profit by at least 30% after developing change of attitude, mindset and gaining knowledge and skills. This will form the indicator for growth. Ample opportunities exist in rural villages, but constraint by lack of skills and the attitude that are basic to starting successful enterprises. 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?

Needs are identified and training imparted using local raw materials with easy to adopt technologies, and low investment cost. No agency or department has worked here earlier. Through training on rights and entitlements to local leaders, a Public Distribution System (PDS) outlet has been established that provides ration - rice, sugar, lintels etc., thus giving access to government welfare program for the first time. 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?

-About 60 villagers were trained in small enterprises like marketable food item and hygiene items. -Trainees are slowly diversifying livelihood activities, now more focused on enterprises. –Now Trainees look at their farm products and attach money values to them. -Many People started looking for right information and eager to get trained. -What they have can be value added and converted into marketable commodities; e.g. sticky Rice flour can be baked, packed in leaves and sell it in cities too. The abundant fruits can be value added by making pickles and preserved them in bottles and sold in markets. -Governments response is improving. A PDS outlet is brought to the area and supplying rations under government welfare schemes. A Public Organization (PO) has been formed to advocate for better roads, mobile connectivity, school, PHC and an (EAC) Extra Assistant Commissioner’s Office

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. A micro credit facility will be set up and managed by a CBO to give access to credit. Long term: An Umbrella FPO (Farmers' Producer Organization) will be facilitated to take care larger marketing of village products. The FPO may be further linked to govt. or non-government market facilities for linking to larger regional, national, international markets

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 power and money play a role for jobs and other opportunities.

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Social media

11. Bring it to life: Please walk us through a concrete example of how your solution will solve the problem you’re trying to address

40 women were trained in food processing mostly using farm products; another 20 were trained in detergent and liquid soap making to impact and promote hygiene. About 50% have started their enterprises. Rest are unable to start for want of a seed money. Nthuachu SHG with 6 members are doing well. They decided to work in group after the training and contributed Rs500 each as working capital, and completed 4 cycle production making a net profit of Rs 2500 in each cycle. Last cycle invested Rs 3360 to make 40packets of 1kg, 20packets of ½ kg detergent and 65 bottles (750ml) of dish wash and sold them in village markets. All products were sold and made Rs 8250; a net profit of Rs 4890. Villagers expressed satisfaction saying: “We are getting good detergent at reasonable price produced by our own local women which is very encouraging. I and my family will always use their product”-Mrs. Kanria

12. Skills Matching: HSBC Employees will have the opportunity to offer skilled-volunteering. If matched, which of the following skills would you be most interested in receiving?

  • Planning & Strategy
  • Staff Development
  • Marketing Strategy, Design
  • Multimedia
  • Web/Mobile Development

13. Financial Sustainability – funding breakdown: please list a quick breakdown of your funding, indicating an estimated percentage that comes from each source.

So far the investment has been meagre for want for sources. The less than Rs.5lakhs received so far, the break-down is as below:

Individual Donation or gifts: 10%

Foundation or NGO grant: 60%

Corporate Contribution: 30%

14. Financial Sustainability – please tell us more about how you plan to fund and scale your project over the next 12 months.

A. Personnel - 3 staff at the ground for 12 months -Rs. 668,000. B. Administration including office supplies, phone, postage, local travel, audit fees etc., - Rs. 100,000. C. Training 200 entrepreneurs in food production, fruit processing, soap and detergent making training - Rs. 1100,000. D. Skill up gradation - Leadership development, CBO formation including, SHG, Farm Producer Org (FPO), Trade license/Permits - Rs. 700,000. E. Set up micro-credit revolving facility to encourage and help also future entrepreneurs - Rs. 600,000. We have to rely entirely on grants, prize, donations for the current Project Plans. The financial sustainability plan of the project is for each trained start-up entrepreneur who ensures his/her net profit every cycle of production. At CBO level, the micro credit revolving fund may fix about 2% interest charged to the user for administrative expenses.

15. Growth Strategy: What are your main strategies for scaling your impact?

The organization is in the midst of many deserving similar communities in a much larger geographical spread. Based on resources availability the success model will be replicated in other blocks, districts and states in the tribal dominated regions. The Master trainer and her team continue to facilitate skills training to different groups on invitation by other NGO/CBO/government department.  

16. Activating changemakers: How are you giving people the power to control their own destiny and support other people to become changemakers in their communities?

Leadership spark came slowly, as initially no one volunteered among educated people. It took patient coaching to get few interested and now the spark is about to turn into a flame. The Momentum of change will be harnessed for social and economic transformation. Community leaders are trained, and aspiring entrepreneurs coached in life skills, problem solving, risk taking and enterprise management skills, followed by practical lessons in selected trades. The project ensures a pool of leaders and entrepreneurs who transforms the family's and village economy. Thenceforth they are change-makers

17. Awards & Recognitions: What awards or recognitions, if any, has the project received so far?

My Organization - PRO RURAL has won the UN-Habitat India Youth Fund Award for Training youth as Waste Wise Managers (WWM) to assist in Municipal Solid Waste Management in 2013-14. It has also been awarded Governor's Recognition Prize 2015 for our Initiative on Kitchen Waste Composting popularized as "Waste to Gold".

18. Tell us about how collaborations and partnerships would enhance the scalability and impact of your project

The good pace of development at country and state level at times fail to be inclusive. People of remote and inaccessible areas are often left out. It is our effort to scale up our project to reach many deserving areas. Hence many collaborators and partners are required. An inclusive development approach requires that opportunities should reach all deserving communities. For this vision we seek supporters and collaborators. The present project also needs more partners to achieve desired impacts.

Finally - Your Selfie Elevator Pitch: Share a 1-minute video that shares a quick summary of the problem you would like to solve, how you’ve chosen to solve it, and the impact you hope to see.

Evaluation results

2 evaluations so far

1. OVERALL Evaluation:

Yes, absolutely! - 50%

Yes/maybe - 50%

Maybe - 0%

Maybe/no - 0%

No - 0%

2. Is this entry INNOVATIVE?

Yes, absolutely! - 0%

Yes/maybe - 100%

Maybe - 0%

Maybe/no - 0%

No - 0%

3. Does this entry have SOCIAL IMPACT?

Yes, absolutely! - 50%

Yes/maybe - 50%

Maybe - 0%

Maybe/no - 0%

No - 0%

4. Is this entry VIABLE financially and operationally?

Yes, absolutely! - 50%

Yes/maybe - 50%

Maybe - 0%

Maybe/no - 0%

No - 0%


Yes, absolutely! - 0%

Yes/maybe - 100%

Maybe - 0%

Maybe/no - 0%

No - 0%

6. FEEDBACK: Highlights

IMPACT POTENTIAL: You use specific numbers and evidence to describe what your project has achieved so far (or plan to achieve in the future) – and you have a concrete plan for future impact. You have specific tools for measuring impact. - 100%

QUALITY OF INNOVATION: You have a great understanding of the problem, have researched existing solutions, and have developed unique, thoughtful solutions - 100%

FINANCIAL AND OPERATIONAL SUSTAINABILITY: You have given a great deal of thought to not just the idea itself but how to make it work operationally and financially in the present and future; your plan is specific and you value sustainability. - 0%

CHANGEMAKING ACTIVATION: You have a good plan on how to activate changemakers and empower them to innovate through your product or programming - 100%

Other option - 0%

7. FEEDBACK: Areas for Improvement

IMPACT POTENTIAL: make sure to provide specific instances of your social impact (or how you plan to measure impact) – it may be helpful to describe the beneficiaries, the main activities/products, and provide evidence of (or plan for) impact evaluation - 0%

QUALITY OF INNOVATION: make sure to describe how your solution is unique and innovative – it is helpful to include the research you have done on past solutions and how your solution is different from (and/or builds upon) these. - 100%

FINANCIAL AND OPERATIONAL SUSTAINABILITY: make sure you have provided descriptive information about your financial sustainability plan. Where do the funds come from now and do you have a concrete plan for future sustainability? - 50%

CHANGEMAKING ACTIVATION: make sure you describe your plan for how to empower others to become changemakers through your programming, service, or product - 0%

WRITING STYLE. Try to be concise, descriptive, and specific. Avoid jargon. - 0%

Nothing stands out! I thought it was great. - 0%

Other option - 0%

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Attachments (2)

Sanitation Items.JPG

In a bid to improve sanitation and health and bring money income among poor households, soap making, detergent powder and dishwasher liquid soap making are taught using also locally available herbs.

Food Production trg.JPG

Teaching tribal youth on food processing to encourage taking up small enterprises around food processing that has scope for steady money income.


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