ICICI Bank takes a holistic approach to the socioeconomic development of rural India and aims at addressing various challenges faced by the country’s rural population. ICICI Foundation Rural Livelihood Programme was launched in 2017 after a successful pilot in Akodara village in Gujarat. Since then, the initiative has been significantly enlarged and enhanced.
Our comprehensive rural livelihood interventions focus on skill development of villagers and facilitation of market linkages with regional and national markets to provide sustainable livelihood opportunities to them. Apart from skill development, from fiscal 2020, we have also started focusing and designing our interventions to create and nurture local value chains in identified clusters of villages, to catalyse transformation of these villages into self-sustaining ecosystems.
The intervention strategy is designed around four important pillars which are critical for promoting inclusive growth in a sustainable manner.
1. Addressing shortage by increasing yields and improving quality of local products
2. Monetising surplus by developing value chains to improve market linkages for better realisation of local products and services
3. Enabling inclusion by providing low investment entrepreneurial opportunities to landless and other less privileged communities
4. Protecting the environment by addressing local environmental challenges and promoting sustainable practices
Till March 31, 2020, we have provided pro bono vocational training to over 2.75 lakh people in more than 2,100 villages across 29 states and one union territory in over 50 locally relevant skills. Close to 60% of these trainees are women.
ICICI Foundation Rural Livelihood Programme adopts a process-oriented approach to skill development in each village and cluster of villages. It encompasses the following steps to achieve its intended outcomes:
We conduct a comprehensive survey of the local ecosystem and its surroundings through a structured needs assessment process. This helps us to define the contours of our intended operations and the needs and aspirations of the villagers who are the intended beneficiaries.
We gather information about the needs of the villagers through multiple channels including anganwadis (rural child care centres) and panchayats, non-governmental organisations and government departments, and also by having direct interactions with the villagers through our local Community Facilitators and Development Officers.
We analyse the findings of our needs assessment survey in conjunction with the prevailing economic conditions in the village, availability of raw materials and human resources to identify relevant skills and market opportunities.
Our teams develop and customise comprehensive curricula for targeted programmes and coordinate with local government organisations, panchayats and influencers in spreading awareness and enrolling villagers into various initiatives.
Our free vocational training is focussed on improving the income levels of villagers and is conducted in classrooms provided by the local Panchayat office. The training programmes include modules on financial literacy, soft skills and life skills to ensure all-round development of the beneficiaries. These training programmes are conducted by expert trainers who are generally well versed with the local milieu. An ‘Entrepreneurship Development’ module is also an integral part of the curricula for all skill building programmes. This module familiarises trainees with the concepts of entrepreneurship, risk-taking and goal setting, and also introduces them to key aspects of setting up a formal business.
On completion of the training, participants are presented with various opportunities to earn a sustainable livelihood through a combination of credit and market linkages. Our trainers and local community officers assist in establishing connections within the local ecosystem so that the beneficiaries can find sustainable sources of income through employment or by becoming micro-entrepreneurs.
A strong handholding process, post completion of training, with periodic one-on-one follow-ups, is the hallmark of our Rural Livelihood Programme. It allows us to monitor the growth in livelihood of our trainees and intervene suitably, if needed.
ICICI Bank ensures financial inclusion of the villagers by encouraging them to become a part of the formal banking channels. ICICI Bank offers a suite of banking products and services at their doorstep through its various banking channels.
Our multi-pronged approach has met with remarkable success in enhancing livelihoods in our target villages. In fiscal 2020, over 76,000 people were trained as part of our Rural Livelihood Programme. Almost 55% of them were women.
“My mother motivated me to join the free ‘Vegetable Nursery Farming’ course offered by the local centre of ICICI Foundation’s Rural Livelihood Programme. The comprehensive training was a transformational experience for me.“Read More
“On the advice of a community facilitator, I decided to join ICICI Foundation Rural Livelihood Programme’s free ‘Dress Designing for Women’ course at the local centre. Even though I did not know basic stitching, my trainers constantly encouraged me.“Read More
At ICICI Bank, we are committed to create and strengthen local ecosystems to make our villages self-sustaining. As part of our Rural Livelihood Programme, apart from training individuals in standalone villages, we are also increasingly undertaking comprehensive value chain intervention programmes that help in making the rural economy vibrant, by harnessing locally available resources. These interventions help in finding long-term, sustainable and innovative solutions to catalyse holistic development of clusters of villages located in adjoining areas.
Banana cultivation is an important agricultural activity in large parts of India, especially in the southern states. In fiscal 2020, ICICI Foundation identified three village clusters, comprising 24 villages across Madurai, Namakkal and Thanjavur districts in Tamil Nadu.Read More
ICICI Foundation is collaborating with local authorities and fish farmers in multiples states to address the various problems associated with creating and nurturing inland fisheries.Read More