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10.04.2016 admin
0 Comments   In early May my project manager identified a local entrepreneur who was into vermicomposting, and into innovating and marketing various other products made from cow dung.
0 Comments   The lead entrepreneurs for this group (funnily enough, they're both called Mamata) after they went on a long market research and shopping trip with our project manager, Mr.
1 Comment   A consulting clientThis person above came into my office this past Thursday, wanting help with his business.
Examples of green compost include freshly clipped grass clippings from the lawn, green leaves, stems or other green plant anatomy, kitchen scraps, etc. Unlike brown composts, green composts are not as nitrogen-poor and therefore do not run into the same decomposition problems that brown composts have. If you opt to spread it in your garden and let it compost in place, be aware that it may smell a bit (or a lot).
Spreading either green or brown compost on top of your garden soil during the growing season creates a mulch that helps to smother weeds and preserve soil moisture.
If your green compost turns yellow and becomes brown compost before you have a chance to till it in, it’s not a big deal, just treat it like a brown compost. Compost piles are a great way to go if green compost mulching is not something you’re interested in or if you have so much green compost that adding any more mulch to your garden would suffocate or bury your plants.
If you don’t have one of the tumbler type compost bins, simply use a pitch-fork to mix up and get fresh air back inside the pile. Depending on where you live, you may never have to worry about watering your compost pile because Mother Nature will provide moisture for you as rain. Adding a handful of soil to a compost pile may seem like a strange thing to do but let me tell you why it’s a recommended procedure for compost piles. Now, truth be told, it’s likely that these microbes are already in your compost pile in abundance but just to make sure, it’s a good idea to throw in a handful of soil to make sure your compost pile is inoculated with tons microbes. Inasmuch as I have talked about compost piles from the angle of green composts, brown composts can also be added to a compost pile. Like brown composts, green composts can often be acquired for little or no additional cost.
Fresh grass clippings that are lased with herbicides is obviously not a good thing to put into your garden. Be sure to check out our podcasts on different types of organic matter and their uses in the garden. Contact UsINTELLECTUAL PROPERTY: All recipes posted on this blog are either my original recipes or modified from other recipes.
You can use our pictures (unless otherwise noted) under the Creative Commons 2.0 license - Attribution, Non-Commercial, Share Alike. The global concerns for food without any contamination have spurred organic methods of cultivation for sustainable agriculture development. The use of earthworms for recycling of organic matter known as Vermiculture became the focus of attention by the scientific community in mid-1990s.
A thatched roof shed preferably open from all sides with unpaved floor is erected in East-West direction length wise to protect the site from direct sunlight.
The biological synthesis of complex chemical compounds present in naturally occurring materials and minerals can produce all plant hormones.
Microbe-assisted agriculture synthesizes complex chemical compounds present in naturally occurring materials and minerals by harnessing the predatory and antagonistic characteristics of naturally occurring compounds through an accelerated process of production.
Bio-Organic sprays do not create any residue problem as their active principles are totally biodegradable. Enriching vermicast through the use of naturally occurring minerals and micro-organisms ensures application of vermicast in similar quantities while maintaining higher availability of required nutrients for the plant. After struggling with multiple sclerosis for more than twenty years my dear mom has passed away today. I thought it would be interesting to read another authors view on composting with worms so here is a link to an article by Leigh Barns. As I have often stated, worms do not need a mansion to live in, however if you are serious about vermicomposting and want a high quality composter system for your worms to produce lots of high quality vermicompost, then this is the system for you.
After trying a lot of different housing options for the worms, I decided that the best option in my case is to use hoop style greenhouse buildings. This covers the basics of hoop houses, but soon I will be posting the details of an actual hoop house construction that is sure to keep some wiggler worms happy. Interestingly enough I have had this happen one other time when an individual bought some worms for his neighbor. Shipping live worms is tricky business, especially when the temperatures are extreme, but with lots of experimentation, we have got it down to a science. A packing fill, specifically suited to the temperature, is added to the box and then the bag of worms is added on top.
It is extremely rare to have worms die in shipping, but in the rare case when it does happen we reship the worms.
Hoop style greenhouses are an excellent investment for many gardeners and are easy to construct.
In addition to housing the red worms, I am planning on using the overhead space to grow plants.
In coming post I will show the basics in constructing a hoop house and why every gardener should have one. Brown composts are older dead plant material. Examples of this would include straw, old leaves, sawdust, branch or twig pieces, old grass clippings, old stalks or stems, wood chips or shavings, etc. Now don’t shy away from brown composts given these facts because this problem is easily remedied by simply supplementing brown composts by mixing brown composts with other more nitrogen-rich organic matter sources such as manures or green composts for example (remember green=nitrogen), or by adding a little nitrogen in the form of a fertilizer. As an example, have you ever noticed that forests often have leaf litter on the forest floor even though it’s not autumn or have you ever noticed how dead pine needles are always perpetually underneath pine trees en masse. Another way to help in the decomposition process is to increase the surface area of the compost.
Before I move onto other organic matter sources I want to mention that one of the big benefits to brown composts is that you can often get them totally for free. If your property has few trees on it, or if you have a really big garden that could use a ton of autumn leaves, be a good neighbor and ask your neighbors if you could serve them by collecting their leaves for them. Trees, and the autumn leaves they shed, are fantastic because they produce a reliable, free source of organic matter every year, and once more, usually you don’t have to drive or go anywhere to get it.
So my manager and I went to meet this Mr Bisoi (shown in the above left photo) about 2 months ago, to explore possible linkages between his entrepreneurship and our project.Mr. He lives in Kargil basti, and has a tiny store in one of the main market areas in the city (Bapuji Nagar). Right: Group meeting in the house (and production facility) of the mentor, discussing how to get into the production and marketing of spices, flours, etc. For this reason, green composts are best applied to the garden soon after they are collected.
For example, you may have grass clippings from mowing your lawn but during the summer your garden is in full swing so you obviously can’t mix the grass clippings into your garden soil. If you put it in a compost pile, you can keep it well away from your house (and neighbors), but then you’ll need to turn it. At the end of the season, or after a harvest when plants are done producing their crop, simply till in the green compost mulch to incorporate the organic matter into the soil. You could either let it continue to compost on top of the soil as a mulch, or simply supply some additional nitrogen when you till it into the soil. It doesn’t really matter what you use as a container for your compost pile whether it’s a wood bin, one of those fancy commercial tumbler type compost bins, or simply heap in the corner of your yard. If you don’t have a pitch fork you can use any standard shovel but a pitch fork works best. If you live in an arid part of the world you will need to get out the garden hose from time to time and water the compost pile. Soil, particularly good garden soil, contains billions of microbes that will feed on and breakdown dead plant material.
Just remember that brown composts are nitrogen poor so if your compost pile doesn’t already have a lot of other organic matter in it that is more nitrogen-rich be sure to add a little nitrogen to help the microbes in the break down process. If you use weed and feed fertilizers, dandelion weed killers, or any lawn care chemical that is labeled as lawn-weed killing or controlling, you cannot use those grass clippings in your garden – or at least not immediately. A shed area of 12'X12' is sufficient to accommodate three vermibeds of 10'X3' each having 1' space in between for treatment of 9-12 quintals of waste in a cycle of 40-45 days. The appearance of black granular crumbly powder on top of vermibeds indicate the harvest stage of the compost . With suitable fortification and strengthening, biological materials can be used to meet the complete nutrient requirement of the plants under all cropping systems.
As against chemical pest control approach that is reactive, the biological-botanical approach is pro active.
The vermicast used by us is provided by the Morarka Foundation in compliance with stringent organic inputs standards applicable in USA & Europe. Not that they are out of worms, it just takes a lot longer to harvest the worms when they are not as thick in the beds. Just need end walls on it, but I don’t see much point in adding them until next winter since spring is just around the corner and they will not be needed when its warm.
Hoop houses, as they are often called, are semi-circular buildings made from curved semi-circle rafters and are usually covered by clear poly-ethylene film. I personally believe this to be to far apart and like to space the rafters no further than 4′ apart.
The ground post are simply pipes that are driven into the ground that the rafters will attach to. Also I am looking forward to having a place to grow plants in the winter and having a good building for researching potting soils made with worm castings. Upon opening the box I found a white bag, which I now presume to wriggler worms, and an information sheet with your phone number.
He explained, “OK I remember the fellow who sent me the worms now, he was a friend of my sons and he had come over and ate supper here one evening and sent the worms as a thank you gift for the hospitality.
So I guess if you are wanting to get someone a gift they will never forget, just get’ em some worms. Composting worms are hardy creatures and can take the rigors of harvesting and shipping well, but it is still important to keep them as stress free as possible. The first step is to remove the worms from the large beds that they were grown in through a process we call harvesting. Then the invoice, and an information sheet are added, the box is taped and the shipping label attached. I did go through the certification process and Worms Etc is certified by both carriers to ship live worms, but I have found that Priority Mail and Express Mail via the United States Postal Service to be the best and most reliable options. I have kept a log of every time a shipping problem arises and have each time changed something to lessen the chance of it happening again. I have started putting up a large hoop house to keep the red wiggler worms warm during the winter months. This breaking down process is done by soil microbes such as bacteria or fungi in the soil who feed on the organic matter — in this case, the brown compost. That means that microbes will actually take nitrogen out of your garden soil in order keep themselves alive while they continue to feed on and breakdown brown compost. If you add nitrogen to your brown composts the microbes will be able to continuously feed without scavenging for nitrogen in your garden soil.


Well, that’s because leaf litter, including pine needles, are a brown compost, and without some kind of additional nitrogen source it takes soil microbes forever to break them down. This is done by breaking down the compost mechanically into smaller pieces such as shredding leaves with a string trimmer or lawn mower, or by breaking up twigs into finer bits and pieces. Autumn leaves are an awesome example of this because they are usually around in great abundance.
Trees aside, you can often get sawdust or straw for free from people who work with wood or a local farmer who has straw but doesn’t have a need for it. The store is one of the smallest I have seen, you can see its size from the picture on the left.
Adding and mixing in green composts straight into garden soil also helps to prevent attracting flies and other critters, and it also diminishes the smelliness associated with freshly rotting plant material. There are two things you can do. (1) Spread the green compost on top of the soil in your garden around your plants like a mulch and (2) make a compost pile.
Because the green compost may sit on the soil surface for a while before being incorporated into the soil, it will age, and like we’ve already talked about from above, aged or older compost is brown compost. Microbes need a drink while they’re hard at work in your compost pile but give them too much water and they’ll suffocate and drown, and then the compost pile will become anaerobic like I talked about above.
After watering a compost pile, or after a rain shower, it is a good idea to use a pitch fork and mix up the compost pile to evenly distribute that moisture.
Adding a handful of soil to your compost pile, therefore, functions as an inoculating agent to make sure that there are plenty of these soil microbes in your compost pile. If you have a lawn that has to be mowed, you might as well save the grass clippings and put them in your garden. So you can use grass clippings from lawns that have had weed-control chemicals put on them but put them in the compost pile not the garden directly.
I dream of owning our own farm in Idaho someday, complete with chickens, pigs, and a miniature Jersey cow. Also, if you make any purchases using Amazon we would love it if you would use the affiliate links on this page. Earthworms eat cow dung or farm yard manure along with other farm wastes and pass it through their body and in the process convert it into vermicompost, a highly efficient soil nutrient and fertilizer. The underlying scientific principle is that when natural minerals are fermented under controlled conditions, metabolites are produced. My theory is that the weird weather we had during the fall prevented egg capsule production. Hopefully I can get him to reproduce some more giant worms, but I am unsure if this is a phenotype or a genotype (nature vs nurture) caused giant. They send you knowledge, bedding, the bin and even thought to have the packaging double as a temporary cover for the tray holes on the first level. Not only are these buildings strong, but they are also inexpensive compared to other structures; furthermore, the hoop house can be covered in poly during the winter and then covered with shade cloth for summer use.
Although this may add a little cost to the building, but I can sleep sound at night during heavy snow and freezing rain knowing that my greenhouse is plenty strong. So-and-so, but he did not remember the name I gave him, so I gave him the billing phone number.
The harvesting takes place a couple days before shipping, because we like to let the worms rest awhile after harvesting and before shipping.
The reason I think the USPS has better luck shipping the live worms is the fact that USPS has post offices within every city in the country, whereas UPS and FedEx both have less warehouses and shipping hubs. This is why I think that I vary often get comments from my customers that my worms are far better than any others that they have ever ordered. Also it will be covered with shade cloth during the summer and a misting system will be installed to keep them cool during our hot summer months here in South Carolina. Aged, or older composts, have unique properties that need to be addressed so we use them wisely. The end result is the creation of a competitive interference between soil microbes and your plants’ roots for the nutrient nitrogen.This of course will lead to a nitrogen deficiency in your plants which will greatly stunt their growth and their ability to produce for you. I’ve pulled together a graph to illustrate the principles we’ve been discussing with respect to brown composts. It takes months, and sometimes years, for the most nitrogen-poor brown composts to decompose.
This simply exposes more area on the compost which gives the soil microbes more access to the compost as a food source.
At present this entrepreneur does not himself maintain any large vermicomposting or other production facility.
He didn't have his crew with him, so we decided to aim for just one store instead of five as we originally wanted. It sells cellphone parts, cellphone chargers and batteries, and a random assortment of DVDs and CDs.
Compost piles need three things to thrive: (1) plenty of air, (2) moisture, and (3) a handful of soil. A good indication that your compost pile is in desperate need of air is when it begins to stink. And see to it that the compost pile will be mixed frequently and stand for several months before being applied to your garden.
Your cost remains the same but we receive a small commission that helps keep this website up and running. In the 19th and 20th century scientific methods for converting low value organic matter into high value organic composts were developed. The earthworms go down and the compost is collected from the top without disturbing the lower layers (vermibed).
The fermentation process makes the minerals available to the plants as free ions which can be directly assimilated by the plants.
These sprays are used as alternative to conventional pesticides under normal spraying schedules and depending on the type of crop, can replace chemical sprays either completely or by as much as 50-75% over a few crop cycles.
Can O Worms Instructions The lid is extremely tight fitting and worms are very unlikely to escape.
In my location the pipes were driven about 3′ deep, but the required depth will depend upon your soil. Over 1000 living worms in a box only 7x7x6 shipped across the country and arrive at your door in 2-3 days. Harvesting begins using pitchforks and good old fashion muscle to deliver them into the harvester. Due to regulations shipping worms to Hawaii is illegal, but we have shipped both european and red wiggler worms to Alaska and Puerto Rico without problems. This means that when shipping through USPS the worms spend less time in a carrier car which tend to be cold in the winter and hot in the summer. Once I received a box of worms that where returned to me because of a bad address in California.
They are a great source of organic matter but they are lacking in one critical nutrient: nitrogen. The microbial population never completely dies out because as some begin to die, the nitrogen from the dead microbes is released and made available again to the surviving microbes such that the population begins to climb again.
The red line represents a soil microbial population on a brown compost that is not supplemented with any nitrogen. The blue line in the graph, by contrast, represents a microbial population on a brown compost that is supplemented with nitrogen. Some composts are already very finely chopped-up like sawdust or grass clippings and therefore require no further mechanical handling of the material.
This got the ball rolling, since the initial group of women talked to other women who talked to others.Women were interested in things like sewing, and we wanted to initially cater to existing needs and interests. It's basically a shop set up in the small space between the walls of two adjacent large stores, one an electrical fittings store and the other a phone booth and phone store.I visited his store that same evening for a preliminary "consulting visit". The foul smell associated with rotting organic matter is an indication that anaerobic conditions exist within the pile.
The first lot of Vermicompost is ready for harvesting after 2-2 ? months and the subsequent lots can be harvested after every 6 weeks of loading. The excellent compatibility of different Bio-Organic sprays produces the combined effect as insecticides, acaricides and fungicides. We went straight from summer to winter it seemed like and so did not get the eggs that we needed to have in order to have plenty of worms for spring. It is used to route electrical wires in buildings and can be purchased at electrical supply houses and at many well known home improvement stores. The harvester turns and is covered in screen which lets the majority of the bedding fall through but not the worms.
Seems that they tried to deliver them several times before sending them back to me in South Carolina. The plants will be grown using our very own potting mixes and will help to showcase the superiority of worm castings as a fertilizer over synthetic fertilizers.
Notice how the microbial population fluctuates and never reaches its full decomposing potential. The microbial population is able to continue feeding unimpeded, and best of all, these microbes would not need to scavenge for nitrogen in your garden soil.
The smallest measures 6' x 4'.Unlike in some of the other notable slums in Bhubaneswar, a number of residents in our target slum (Kargil Basti) actually do have access to (own or rent) some land in addition to their houses. Business IncubationI see this micro-scale production as an exercise in self-employment training entrepreneur incubation than "real" business set up.
So we asked our local tailor and project helper to lead (informal) tailoring classes and work with these women to set up a tailoring unit - our first self-employment generating activity.
Bapuji Nagar is the part of the city where all the cellphone stores are clustered - cellphone sellers, cellphone repairers etc. One thing that will help out in the long run is that worms tend to reproduce faster when they are stocked less densely. The worms are collected at the end of the harvester in a tray, roughly ten pounds of worms per tray.
The 'Micro Business Centre' shall be set up on this land - training & production facilities, small classrooms and office space.
Insights will be used to create an enterprise that operates at a larger scale and generate more revenue. After all the worms that we estimate will be needed for shipping are harvested they are carried into the shipping room and allowed to rest. Villages : Tackling the Constraints of Access to Cow DungWhat we debated during this initial discussion itself, was the problem of access to adequate amounts of cow dung in urban areas - slums or otherwise. I'm hopeful that this way we develop the confidence and business understanding in these female entrepreneurs, such that they are able to successfully take forward that scaled up enterprise. Their inspiration had been Nayana Devi's small-scale food processing & packaging facilities that they had visited a week earlier. They are commonly between 1 and 5 purlins in a hoop house, but I would recommend at least 3.
There is a fair amount of bedding left on the worms that the harvester does not remove, but this is not a problem and the extra bedding will be removed on shipping day. Else, the project is starting to stall; I can feel my team (and the community) getting irritable and thinking that this is a futile, failed project.


He said he wanted a bigger store, but honestly, it would be difficult to achieve the size of store necessary to compete with the surrounding stores without a very large bank loan.
Purlins not only add extra rigidity to the building, but can be used as anchors for lights, fans, sprinklers, or hanging plants and other items on. A couple days later the worms are placed under bright lights early in the morning and allowed to go to the bottom of the harvesting tray. The peat moss that they were shipped in had partly been turned into castings, showing that the worms were even eating during shipping.
Perhaps this is true in other parts of the world, but certainly true of India - when physical infrastructure is under construction, everyone feels things are moving and everyone feels happy. Since there are few stores along this stretch but it's a busy road near the airport, we hoped that creating a unique and eye-catching structure would make passers-by really interested in bamboo structures. For nearly an hour, he discussed how he wanted to work with other community members to start up a business and was even ready to pay for the machines himself. The size and spacing of the purlins and rafters is going to depend largely upon the size of the building and the expected snow load. His conviction was amazing, but by the end it was clear that he didn't really want to participate in any kind of business planning beyond buying the machines.
Also if you do intend to hang plants or other items off of the purlins to make sure they are plenty strong for that as well. None of the community members without cows wanted to participate in this vermicomposting project even though they could have gone around other parts of the city collecting cow dung. Many of them expressed that it would be inappropriate and undignified to scrounge for either organic waste or cow dung, unless these outputs came from their own households.Since community members with cows tended to have access to larger areas of land, they decided to go for the 12' x 4' sized kits rather than the smaller ones. Our intention was to coerce them into learning this new skill (since it was closely related to their existing skill), and we hoped that their interest would be born once the orders for furniture etc. The heavy rains made it challenging to install these kits specifically in land covered by mud and cow dung, but our project coordinator, project manager, and Mr. But I wanted to convey below is that our work here is not impeded by discrete problems that one can solve by brainstorming with a bunch of smart team members. In fact the very first woman we met during our initial visit to the community was an older lady who walked about an hour to and from work everyday; she worked as a cook in a college hostel on the city's outskirts. Progress is dulled more because of basic contextual issues - climate, and access to basic utilities.ClimateSummerFrom end March through end May there was death inducing heat here, just as in most parts of India.
One just didn't show up, and the other showed up for just 1-2 hours a day and then returned after a few days' absence to demand his stipend.Initially we had spoken to a few of the carpenters and they said that wood prices were going up, so they wanted to get into fabrication and other kinds of construction work instead. So we talked to them about the availability of bamboo, its lower prices, its durability and the ease of working with it.
Yet rather than asking us to give her an opportunity, she immediately took me by the arm and pointed scornfully at some of the younger women around, "They do nothing all day, except gossip and start fights. At this time, most of our work comprised laying the foundation - household-level community surveys, community mobilisation, legwork to scout around for successful local entrepreneurs, and going around the city to identify future market linkages.
It would be good if you gave them some kind of a job to keep them occupied".I found women's perception of each other in this slum community rather unexpected. Since this was outdoors work, we were restricted to working for about 2-3 hours in the morning, and for 3 hours in the evening. Nevertheless, we wanted to go ahead with the bamboo store front and finish what we'd started.In fact ultimately it was my project coordinator who did all the bamboo work - the cutting of strips, the nailing and tying of planks, the digging of the bamboo frame into the sand.
He said none, at least not a significant number (in this he was more or less correct, since all the computer and electronics stores are clustered in another part of town). But our networking with local entrepreneurs and businesses couldn't start too much earlier than 10 am because this is a very laid back city where things don't really start before 10 or 10:30 am on any given day.
The store owner was nowhere to be found, so his daughter and I took responsibility for applying primer to the entire structure. The store owner is gone so what do we do with the store? But here?! Also somewhat surprising is the fact that the men in the community have also offered up their daughters and wives to us for various kinds of economic engagement and skill training, but have been far kinder in their reasons for doing so.
I asked if he had done a quick survey of the stores around him to assess his competition - what were the other really small stores selling that he wasn't?
Our project shall share in the profits since we paid for and installed the kits, are paying for the training, and established (and will be managing) the linkage with Mr. Turns out that the store owner - the male household head - has had a fallout with his wife and family, and is not coming home anymore except to occasionally come home, beat his wife, take some money, and wander off again.So I asked the store owner's wife if she would re-open the food stall, since the attractive store front would definitely attract more customers. She really wants to do something, please involve her." or for instance (with great pride) "My wife knows how to tailor, look she even has a certificate! Bisoi.We are also interested in working with agricultural scientists who have developed vermicomposting techniques that utilise 100% organic kitchen waste. The other apartment houses our office rooms, and a small-scale spice making unit - pulverizer, manual plastic package sealer, weighing machine, packaging material, sieves and other paraphernalia for sorting spices.
She said it was her husband's store, and she had no interest in engaging with him further and that if I wanted, I could talk to him about his ideas for the space.So we're not meeting any of our objectives regarding an intervention for the existing store.So now what?
In fact, a heated argument broke out over this during one of our smaller neighbourhood outreach meetings.
He said yes, he knew he should paint the outside of his store a little bit, spruce it up, take down the CD string, or at least dust it off. Unfortunately the electrical wiring for these residential apartments wouldn't be able to withstand the electrical load that would be generated if we operated all these machines. Maybe, a community micro enterprise display centre?Regardless of the store ownership and what the owners' plans and disputes are, it is undeniable that this is going to be a lovely structure once constructed and attract a fair amount of attraction. A similar story with the 10-15 dust-covered cellphone covers he had stocked in a small glass case on the store front.There was also a pile of dark yellow, dusty plastic envelopes on one of the shelves to the front.
In fact, just operating the pulverizer is causing the electricity to trip.So we decided to convert the electrical power supply for this building to three phase. The fact also remains that this is a fantastic location, and a kiosk selling goods even moderately in demand, would attract a reasonable number of customers. She was convinced that none of the women would leave their homes to go sell their products in local markets, no matter how profitable it might be to dispense with the intermediary.But another woman disagreed vociferously. Once that is done, we'll be able to get the tailoring training underway, and start some small-scale production of garments, home furnishings, and the like.
She and her husband had jointly owned and operated a corner store, and she said she was ready to go out and do the selling of products herself. In other words, we use this large kiosk to showcase the skills of the community (in having constructed this structure), showcase our project, and showcase as many of the products currently being produced by community residents as possible.For example, we could showcase the spices, garments, home furnishings and other items that our project participants produce. I asked her if she had gone around to banks for loans, was familiar with banking processes, and had engaged in marketing activities. Our program coordinator had to go every single day to the relevant local public authority, do the paperwork and pay the deposit. But we could also display the handiwork of those not related to our project, so it serves as a marketing strategy for them. She answered in the affirmative to all questions; she had operated all elements of the business in equal partnership with her husband.
The house owner had to speak with residents of the 2 other apartments in the building, and do more paperwork. Then the public official in question got transferred and a new person came in his stead, so much of the discussion had to be re-done.And of course, everybody in the region will be off work this Friday through Sunday or even Monday.
Or even the fresh food snacks they are cooking on a daily basis in order to sell elsewhere.
Their young children, household chores, social and familial obligations are perceived to be leaving them with no time to participate in any time consuming, regular, and frequent skill or self-employment activity. Just a place to highlight all the micro-enterprise activities already occurring within the community.This would be fantastic of course, but the main problem I foresee is the contentious property rights of slum land. So no electricians or government officials will be available after 5pm on Thursday.It's slow.
I'm not sure that our project coordinator (the Basti secretary) is going to be able to successfully negotiate with the store owner.
And I'm pretty sure that after a couple of months, the store owner will want his store back and ask for a higher price in rent in order to not create trouble. We went back to the inventory question again - did he not keep track of how many DVDs he sold, which ones, to whom, for how much?
On the day that we had the first business meeting for the spice-making group (see here), one of the women who had kept rather quiet during the proceedings came to meet me afterward.She asked me if I could allow her to participate in this self-employment group. I said of course, she could discuss it directly with the group and didn't have to seek my permission. Also, I pointed out that it was impossible to browse the DVDs and select one, besides being unattractive, those yellow envelopes were completely opaque. She said she was the sole breadwinner in her family, and couldn't afford to give up her current job to work at starting a group enterprise. He used to have a small roadside store in Kargil basti itself, had converted one of the rooms in his roadside house.
She said her husband had left her a year ago, that she had a young son, and that she currently worked as some combination of assistant and maid in a college.
He had put a small refrigerator there in which he used to stock beverages such as Pepsi and Coke.
It took her about an hour to get to the college everyday, using an autorickshaw (shared transport). We'd work on a plan together, I could have some of our MBA interns take a look at his store and do some market research, and finally we could help him with paperwork to get a small loan to start with, and figure out smart, profitable ways to spend that money. 1000 (between $8 - $18).I told her that I couldn't guarantee that this spice-making enterprise would really maintain her income of Rs. 4000 for 3-4 months, to enable her to take the risk of self-employment while maintaining her income levels. Should this person choose to stock computer parts, where can he go in the 2-3 hours he has per day (during the very hot afternoons in the summer, when customer volume is very low and hence when he can shut shop) to learn a bit about computer hardware and the various component problems that potential customers would relate to him? If it generated enough work and income, then she could always join in as part of the spice making labour force. Even when it wasn't clear (to us or to our beneficiaries) what services we were providing, women were flooding our office with incessant cries of "I want to do something. To be honest, we just haven't been able to figure out what to do with all these willing participants. Mere skilling and training is not our objective, and figuring out which enterprises to start (and how) in order to create successful self-employment is a challenging and time consuming task.
It is impossible to do that right away with these many people given that we're not a factory that has just opened shop and is hiring by the hundreds.Opportunity Costs of Participating in an Entrepreneurship-based ProjectFurther, what we're doing is innovative and requires extensive business, creative, and market exposure for these individuals. But the average woman in our current target community (Kargil Basti) in Bhubaneswar doesn't seem to be working as a construction worker (perhaps due to some combination of slightly higher household income levels and social background), so the rates of female unemployment appear to be higher here than male unemployment, with the most common source of male employment being skilled and unskilled construction labour (as revealed by our just about wrapping up community survey).---Hence the opportunity cost of joining our project to train formally in a technical skill (whether tailoring, or electrical repair) and then work with us to set up an individual or group business, is higher on average for this community's men than for its women.
As reflected in my advice to the currently employed woman who is debating joining the spice-making enterprise, I'd feel more comfortable in working during this pilot phase with individuals with lower opportunity costs of project participation. The one on the left has no car, goes by shared transport to buy fish from the wholesale location, and walks around local neighbourhoods, toting the fish around in a basket.




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