Impacting farmers thru structuring organization and goal setting

Ineke Bezembinder • 4 March 2020

Grameen Vikas Kendram envisions a transformed world wherein rural communities live in harmony with each other and nature. It unites the efficiency of the business and social good to break through gridlocks, encourages thoughtful solutions to drive change in society. Recently Women on Wings worked with this social enterprise on its organizational structure to ensure that the multiple units and projects align to the overall objective. 

Innovation for rural development

Grameen Vikas Kendram (GVK Society) implements several innovative projects. By adopting a hybrid model (NGO and commercial company), GVK Society`s innovations are benefiting thousands of downtrodden families, especially women in Kadapa, Anantapur, Vizianagaram and Nalgonda districts of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana states. The various verticals are very much interconnected and GVK Society needs to make sure all of them move in the correct direction to draw synergies and learnings from each other for the effective functioning as a process-driven organization. Teams of Women on Wings and GVK Society worked two days on devising a clear structure to enable the teams to attain the ambitious goals of the verticles. 

Right or wrong structure

The 2 days’ workshop started with explaining the importance of the right structure and how a wrong structure can impact the growth of the organization adversely. Aneel Kumar Ambavaram, President at GVK Society: “Like any other start-up, GVK has a structure which has a huge dependency on individuals and I see overlaps in roles and responsibilities of various functions across the verticals. This has some advantages especially in extracting maximum delivery of those who demonstrated a high level of commitment, but at some places, the synergies are not being leveraged well for overall performance. So, we needed this reflective session to set the structure and goals right for our growth phase.”

Balancing head and heart

The social enterprise’s mission, vision, long term and short-term goals, both for GVK Society and its verticals, were used to identify the current challenges in the system and set the roadmap to build a robust organization. Shashank Teotia, a senior business consultant at Women on Wings: “At the end of the two days of intense workshop and brainstorming, we had defined the overall structure at GVK Society and all sub-units, including a detailed structure under each of them. GVK Society comprises some great minds that are very eager to scale the outreach of the organization with a much deeper impact. Understanding that growth requires an organization with clear roles, responsibilities, deliverables and accountability, GVK Society shows it is a great example of balancing head and heart to create a true impact on the ground.”

The GVK Society`s verticals

-        RESET program (Regenerate Environment Society and Economy thru Textiles), a futuristic innovation by GVK Society in partnership with US brand Meta Wear. RESET focuses on tribal women farmers of Vizianagaram district and small cotton farmers in Kadapa district.  

-        Natural Farming: GVK Society supports small farmers to shift from chemical-dependent farming to low cost, climate-resilient natural farming. A growing number of farmers have adopted this Zero-Based Natural Farming that benefits nature, consumer and farmer. 

-        Livelihoods: Marginalized farmers and women labor earn extra income by collecting and processing premature fallen sweet oranges that otherwise go as waste. A naturally occurring bioflavonoid called ‘Hesperidin’ is present in these fruits which has value in the pharmaceutical industry. GVK Society has established a business unit to live up to the growing demand from this industry. 

-        Waste to Worth: Burning of agricultural biomass leads to a huge environmental burden contributing to the climate crisis by emitting CO2. GVK Society has joined hands with the Dutch Embassy in India along with the world`s leading brands, academia, technology partners and support organizations to create additional income for rural poor from farm-waste besides preventing emissions. 

Women on Wings and GVK Society started their journey together in 2016 to realize the collective goal: creating inclusive and sustainable development models in rural India that create and strengthen value-chain communities with shared vision and values.

Picture Courtesy: Krishna Thiruvengadam