Maitreya’s core strength is in finding forward and backward market linkages and we continuously strive to fill this niche. We are not looking at families simply making a livelihood of 4-5000 per month, but true creation of wealth. Although our projects explore different income avenues, the focus is on agriculture. Our aim is to get farmer’s children interested in growing food as a livelihood and to erase the notion that agriculture equals subservience.
We start with where the people are, build on their knowledge, and understand their needs, First, we connect people in the community to one another, and help them work together. We then bring in resources and partners to solve each community’s individual problems.
Some of the areas where problems are regularly faced are–
1. Water – watershed management organisations, water purification plants, setup with shared ownership.
2. Government schemes – Maitreya introduce schemes not by bringing it to the people, but by educating the people about the available schemes, and facilitating access for them to obtain the benefits of the schemes as a group.
3. Agriculture – better farming practices, improved plant stock
4. Markets – connect rural producers directly to markets, and create brand value for their products.
Creating local leadership, local ownership, and shared ownership
At Maitreya, the projects we undertake are completely driven by the community. Wealth can be created in rural areas, but will flow out of rural areas if the ownership is solely individual. Maitreya does this in various ways – e.g., creation of farmers’ groups – the Maitreya Kissan Group, helping groups of villagers buy assets and access resources, etc. Creating shared ownership means we include as large a group from a single community as possible, irrespective of APL/BPL differences, gender, age etc. In this way the community becomes owners of the programmes being undertaken in the community, not merely recipients. This also means sharing ownership with the NGO or government body working in the area.