Saturday, 15 March 2008

CTI Expands Work With “the Other India”

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While much has been said and written about the emerging economy of India, there continues to be a bleak level of poverty in many areas of the country. Last November, CTI volunteers Nancy and Steve Laible helped expand CTI’s reach to “the other India”. There is a continuing need to help the parts of India that have high rates of illiteracy, a lack of electricity in the homes and millions of people existing on less than two dollars per day.

Nancy and Stevestoppedin Mumbai on their way to their primary nutrition project in Bangladesh. Fellow CTI volunteer, Shiv Murty, had made arrangements for Nancy and Steve to meet contacts at the Indian Institute of Technology – Bombay. The Institute has a Center for Technology Alternatives for Rural Areas (CTARA). CTI and CTARA have a lot in common regarding a mission of helping the poor with appropriate and compatible technology.  The visit had a two-fold purpose. First, Nancy and Steve presented a seminar on CTI grinder technology at the Institute. The seminar was attended by IIT faculty, research associates and graduate students. A second purpose was to transport and transfer an Omega VI grinder to the Yusuf Meherally Centre (YMC), an India based NGO that works directly with the poor of “the other India”.

CTARA and YMC have invited CTI to join them in expanding the technologies that are available to the poor in India. The visit by the Laibles is a first step in what is hoped will be an on-going collaboration with the goal of expanding the availability of CTI post harvest technologies in the areas of potato processing and grinder technology to more parts of India.

Nancy and Steve report that one of the real joys of the trip was to visit one of the YMC project sites about 40 miles east of Mumbai. Their YMC host, Haresh Shah, had made arrangements for a grinder and peanut butter demonstration with enterprise workers at Tara Village. It was amazing to see the delight in the eyes of the villagers as they discussed the ways they might use a grinder. A CTI Omega VI grinder has been added to the inventory of food processing equipment at the village enterprise. In the photos aboce, Nancy is sharing peanut butter samples with the village women.  The grinder will initially be used for training and food processing research. The research efforts will receive technical support from the CTARA group at IIT-Bombay. The women shown in the picture will soon have the training and capability to make their own peanut butter.  Continuing this three party collaboration will be a major focus of the CTI Asia Committee during the next year.

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