A three-year Indo-Israel action plan was launched by the Ambassador of Israel, Daniel Carmon and Dan Alluf, Counsellor, MASHAV. The action plan involves boosting of Indo-Israel partnership in the field of agriculture, education and sustainable development. “India and Israel have been old partners and we look forward to a great future. I too have a special connection with India. At this occasion I’d like to share that I started my diplomatic career 25 years ago in New Delhi, which is why this place is close to my heart,” said Daniel Carmon, addressing the gathering. The event also presented an overview of Indo-Israeli agricultural project and MASHAV activities in India.  The launch of the action plan was followed by an award ceremony, in which two of the MASHAV alumni ~ Indu Sahu and Digambar Singh Negi ~ were awarded with MASHAV grant of US $10,000  for their ongoing development projects, which are launched under the MASHAV training programmes in Israel and abroad.

Indu Sahu was awarded for her project on mainstreaming women of difficult professions through capacity building and linkage with developmental works in the interiors of Chattisgarh and Digambar Singh Negi was given the MASHAV grant for his works on reverse mitigation project in Jakhnoli village in Uttarakhand which aims to empower the farmers. The MASHAV Grant will be utilized to train participants in the project at the Indo-Israeli Agricultural Project Centers of Excellence and will focus on Israeli methods to know the  techniques for the benefit of farmers. In an interaction with Kunal Roy, one of the awardees, Indu Sahu, shared her experiences as a MASHAV alumnus and also her future projects in India. Excerpts:

What is MASHAV? How did you get associated with it?

MASHAV is a training centre established by Israel, which gives training to its representatives on various issues. I was at the MASHAV and was getting  trained to work for the economic empowerment of women. They provide training on a varied range of topics too and I was getting trained under the development sector. One of the alumni of MASHAV referred me to (the centre) and I wrote an application and I was selected for the training programme in Israel.

Your project aims to provide economic empowerment and also bring women of difficult professions to the mainstream. What is your action plan?

We will be giving special attention and care in the selection process of the beneficiaries. We will categorise the needs and accordingly we will form different groups and, depending on the their needs, we will train them.

What are the trainings that will be given to the beneficiaries under your project?

We are trying to form a group of volunteers, who can support various projects of the government as well as social initiatives. For example, we will train them to do some surveys, which will help the government get some data on the basic problems of the locals in the interiors of Chattisgarh. The data includes sanitation and health records, requirements of shelter homes, children and women care and nutrition programmes. There is always a scarcity of volunteers for these programmes. The beneficiaries, who are educated to some extent can be utilised as teachers in primary schools as well.

Are your programmes supported by the State or the Central government as well? Apart from the MASHAV grant, how will you manage the funds for your projects?

Currently no! We haven’t approached the State or the Central government yet as many projects are in the pipeline and are at the initial stage. But we are planning to hold talks with different authorities to seek help for our future projects. I am in talks with the UNICEF and I have worked with them in the past as well.

What are your future plans?

My plan is to teach as many children I can. I want to uplift the women from poverty and injustice and train them for a better future.