India’s Rural Poor- How can we learn from them?

SRISTI is a non-governmental organization setup to strengthen the creativity of grassroots inventors, innovators and ecopreneurs engaged in conserving biodiversity and developing eco-friendly solutions to local problems. SRISTI was set up provide organizational, intellectual and logistics support to the Honey Bee Network, which was founded by Prof. Anil K. Gupta in 1998. Honey Bee Network is an online database of rural innovation that can range from everyday rural problems, like a bicycle used as a washing machine to herbal treatments handed down over generations. Honeybee has catalogued more than 50,000 innovations by rural entrepreneurs. They help them license their technology and to patent their inventions. It is a way of empowering rural people to develop their ideas, create business partners and make connections. As Mr. Gupta says:

“We don’t want a system where you first create a lot of growth and try to create a lot of Corporate Social Responsibility programs as a nod to the poor; you include them as stakeholders right up front.”

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