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Govt Signs MoU with Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to Improve Lives of Poor & Marginalized

Chander Mohan
Chander Mohan

The Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) under the Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana - National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM), for furthering their mutual objectives of strengthening grassroots institutions of the rural poor. The MoU was signed by Alka Upadhyaya, Additional Secretary and Mission Director NRLM on behalf of MoRD and by Alkesh Wadhwani on behalf of BMGF in presence of Secretary, Rajesh Bhushan who appreciated the initiative and collaboration between the two parties.

The MoU reiterates DAY-NRLM and the Foundation’s shared focus on improving the lives of India’s poor and the marginalized with the aim of reducing poverty through institutions of marginalized rural women for promotion of diversified and gainful self-employment while creating skilled wage employment opportunities.

On the occasion, Alka Upadhyaya, Additional Secretary and Mission Director NRLM, Ministry of Rural Development, expressed happiness on signing of the MoU with the Gates Foundation. She said that the Ministry is striving to remove barriers such as poor health, gender inequality and lack of opportunities for women’s entrepreneurship while providing them access to financial institutions and markets. She further added that the Ministry is glad to make use of the foundation’s expertise, and leverage its network, to provide technical assistance and support to the DAY-NRLM.

Alkesh Wadhwani from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation said that India is a focus country for many of the foundation’s programs and is glad to partner with DAY-NRLM on improving the lives of India’s poor and marginalized, especially women. He said that the foundations support will include assistance in improving implementation quality, documenting best practices, and designing of monitoring learning and evaluation. Wadhwani also expressed happiness towards the collaboration on India’s vision of eradicating poverty from the grassroots.

The foundation is already working with self-help groups (SHGs) for layering Maternal and Child Health interventions where rural women from marginalized communities come together to work collectively towards empowerment and poverty alleviation. Such efforts help to remove barriers facing women and girls, to ensure they have an equal chance to thrive and lead healthy, productive lives.

The scheme lays special emphasis on targeting the poorest and the most vulnerable communities, as it recognizes the need to address barriers to their development. DAY-NRLM is also building social capital and ensuring financial linkages to alleviate poverty and enhance the quality of the life of rural poor women. It has ambitious plans on innovations for alternate channels of financial inclusion like digital finance, creating value chains around rural products, improving market access, rural enterprise and also creating awareness on social development issues and services. 

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