Gyan Shodh

       Linking Students with Grossroots Knowledge

Organised by HoneyBeeAP National Innovation Foundation


Gyan Shodh Linking Students with Grassroots Knowledge

The idea of Gyan shodh came into being when Tejaswini Reddy, a student of BITS, Pilani approached  Prof Anil  Gupta for providing an  opportunity for a group to spend a month of their inter-semester holidays in social work. Since most of them are from AP, Prof Gupta  referred  them  to  Honeybee  AP.  We found it as a unique opportunity and commenced working on it.

We at Honeybee AP, decided to identify an objective, which should appeal to all the  stake  holders  in  the  activity,  namely,  the  students,  the  villagers,  the  society and other supporting  agencies.  In  the  last  three  and  half  years  of  my  association  with Honeybee AP, I found a silent admiration in the society when we talk about the wealth of knowledge  in  rural   and  unorganized   sector.   We   were   always   supported   and encouraged. We were also respected for the unique task we are pursuing in highlighting the rural knowledge in the form of “Palle Srujana” - a quarterly published in Telugu.  As the  knowledge  was  being  acceptable  universally,  we  decided  to  name  the  event  as “GYAN SHODH" - A Social Internship. We defined the objective as: 

“To provide an opportunity for young engineering students to interact with the rural environment, and create database pertaining to the villages visited comprising of the creativity,  traditional knowledge, problems solved and unsolved and suggest approaches and solutions." 

We prepared a paper on the objectives, methodology and work schedule and sent to NIF for consent.  Prof Anil Gupta and his team have promptly approved the  plan and  extended  their  assistance  by  providing  resources  and  resource  persons.  Paper submitted to NIF is enclosed.

 As we went through the "Gyan Shodh” during June 09 for 10 days,  we have learned much more than we ever expected. Students were ecstatic about the experience and we were  amazed  at  the  effect  it  had  on  their  thinking  and  approach  to  life.  My simple observation was, all the students were more humble than they were  prior to the event. One  student  went  straight  to  meet  her  grand  parent  to  seek  knowledge  from  her without wasting any more time.

Students’ feedback was very encouraging and each one of them assured us that they would return in their next holidays for similar exercise, with more friends.

Interactions with students in the beginning, between the visits to the villages and during the final  presentation and feed  back sessions was very lively, energetic, honest and enriching to each one of us. Our experience is inexplicable but we felt that we found a way to  informally yet firmly and  permanently link the youth of this  Nation with  rural knowledge.

As we evolved  ourselves  along with the “Gyan Shodh”, we  found  many spin  offs form this event. We discussed amongst ourselves and  shared our thoughts with  many students,  Educationists,  parents,  Govt. officials,  elders  of the  society  etc.  We  found Encouragement from all quarters.

Honeybee AP conducted   “Gyan  Shodh” during  Sep'09 for  16  students  of PG Diploma  in  IPTMA (Intellectual  Property and Technology Management  in  Agriculture) from  NAARM, Hyderabad.  This  involved  a  visit  of  4  groups  each  consisting  of  four students to four different Chenchu villages  located  in Srisailam forests of AP. Again the results were very  encouraging.  Students  accepted  all  the  hardships,  though  some  of them  had visited  villages for the first time,  but they valued  the  experience a lot. This time students paid for the entire duration.

Reports prepared by the groups of students during Gyan Shodh I & ll are compiled and  placed  in  this  book.  Reflections  of the  participant's  post -Gyan  shodh  are  also appended.

In our view, "Gyan Shodh" should be conducted for all students as "National Duty" for  at  least  seven  days  in  l or  2  villages  while  they  are  in  college.  This  should  be voluntary yet should  be  treated  as  part  of their obligation  to the country.  Purpose  of Gyan Shodh should be:

  • To  familiarize  students  with  rural  environment,  knowledge  base,  concept  of development, connecting with people who are in harmony with nature

  • To capture and document the knowledge base of the village 

  • To create database of village knowledge for the entire country.

  • To mentor local entrepreneurs.

  • To  mentor  children  of the village  by the  students for  life  time  in  an  emotional relation. We found this happening already in 5-6 cases without prompting.

  • To  provide the students a factual, first hand  perception  of the  Development  plans  initiated  by  the  Govt,  their  impact  and  influence  on  the  villagers. This would be a dispassionate feedback for the Govt.

  • To  build  a  linkage  between  the  youth  of this  country with  people  in  informal sector

  • To link the youth with nature through first hand and practical understanding and comprehension through  experience. This  hard earned  knowledge etched  in the minds of these students will always help them  in their life time to arrive at more village  and  nature  friendly  decisions  wherever  they  would  be. Qualitative decisions would emerge in the process.

  • Knowledge captured will be made available as "open source" to all.
    NIF  under  its  mandate  will  pursue  the  knowledge  so  captured  for validation, value  addition  and  incubation  ensuring  the  rights  and  benefits  thereof to  the knowledge owners.

  • To organize a Nation building activity.

Among the  many spin  offs  of the  “Gyan  Shodh”,  mentoring  of children  by the students has come as a pleasant surprise to us. While the students stayed  in the village for  2-3   days,   children  called  them   as  “Anna  or  Akka”   and   build  an   emotional relationship in that short duration. There were tearful farewells when the students  left the village  finally.  This  emotional  relationship  built  on  a  foundation  of  pure  human value  of  compassion  can  be  up  scaled  and  sustained  for  life long  by  communication between  the  student  and  the  child  from  village.  Imagine   a  situation  where,  a  bright engineering student of this country mentors 2-3 children  from the villages and  shares his  exposure  and  knowledge  for  years  on  a  continuous  basis.   The  change  and  the growth will be immense, exponential and it would come silently.

The knowledge of the villages captured by the students during the Gyan Shodh, has a great potential when we place knowledge of entire 3.5 lakh villages on the internet for free access. We feel that the growth of villages would be faster as their presence is felt universally. There would  not  be any village  which  is  not visited and its  knowledge captured and  placed  in open source for access  by everyone. This  is  possible to achieve in period of 5-7 years if the activity is scaled up and spread over the country with certain intensity and passion. Creation and management of such data base would also result in considerable employment.

If the duration  of “Gyan Shodh” is kept longer, the  students will  also  highlight the appropriate technologies required by the villages. We can assign such technological voids and  needs  to the  Engineering  colleges,  research  establishments,  to incorporate them  in  the  specific  development  plans  of the  region  etc.  Provision  of  appropriate technologies to each village will enhance the productivity of the Nation substantially as it  amounts  to  optimizing  the  effort  and  least  utilization  of resources  at village  level, which is not attempted by anyone now.

Honeybee  AP is  fully convinced  that "Gyan Shodh” can  bring  silent  knowledge revolution in the society by exposing the Nature and the villages to the young  minds of our country in a voluntary manner. We propose to conduct the "Gyan Shodh” events in AP through out the year for the  college  students.  Support and  resources  are  required  to pursue this mission form NIF and other Govt agencies.

We  sincerely  hope  that our dream  to  build  linkages  between the  young  minds
and Nature, villages, and  rural knowledge of this country  will become true sooner than later.