INSTITUTE OF SOCIAL RESEARH AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT (ISRSD) is a grassroots rural development organization founded in 2005 and working in Jalna districts of Maharashtra state. The primary thrust of the organization during this period was to bring about rural development movement through active participation women and rural youth (Youk) in village communities in environmental action programs, Water and sanitation, soil and water conservation programs and gender justice.ISRSD networks with NABARD, Nehru Yuva Kendra Jalna, Organic Farming Association Of India, Goa, LIFE-Livelyhood Initiatives for Empowerment, Pune and CAT- Center For Advance Information Technologies support by N.S.D.C. National Skill Development Corporation Kurla, Mumbai.
ISRSD has played a significant role in the growth of the organic movement, HIV/AIDS,Skill development and Health in rural area.
Most of the people in rural Marathwada rely on agriculture for their livelihoods. Marathwada is a dry region with annual rainfall in the range of 400-500 mm. Irrigation facilities are minimal and does not reach the small farms. Most farms have only one cropping season during the monsoons from July to October. The incomes from the small patches of fragmented lands is therefore very less resulting in poor standards of living. The situations become disastrous if the harvests are affected due to lack of rains, pest incidents, unseasonal rains, and other natural calamities. Abandoning farming is not an option as they are limited by lack of knowledge or expertise on non-farm skills. To opt for unskilled labour in nearby towns or cities only results in increased urban poverty and neglect of farms. The solutions therefore should revolve around their existing livelihoods, available resources, and the local environment.
The interventions of ISRSD have resulted in better livelihoods of several of the farmers in the region. It has not been just the incomes that increased but their knowledge, perception, and directions of development have also changed towards what constitutes true liberation. The farmers are no longer tied to the external dependencies for their farming or rely on market forces that are biased towards the traders. They know what it is to self-determine and be free rather than be ruled by selfish gains and exploitative processes. They are now committed to sustainable farming, preparing their own farm inputs, establishing their own marketing approaches, preparing and implementing village action plans on water conservation and management, and taking steps to improve their living conditions particularly in housing and sanitation. The small farmers have come together to illustrate that being big is not about negotiations and exploitation but about genuine dialogue and inclusiveness. To supplement their incomes from farming, the small farmers have also acquired other knowledge, skills, and ability to establish their own micro-enterprises that brings in new services to the rural folk and may also add value to the farm produce and inputs.
ISRSD has been working in the sphere of rural development sectors in the backward regions of Maharashtra since it’s inception from 2006 and having a team of efficient professionals in the field of Health and environment, agriculture, rural development, Community mobilization and women empowerment . The professionals who are associated with ISRSD have many years of grassroots experience in rural development work. The expertise of these professionals has been put into practice to achieve rural development goals.