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Magazine Editorial

Community Engagement

You may be a writer artist, small or big investor, entrepreneur, academic, school teacher, ecologist, food technologist; agricultural, veterinary, human or microbiological scientist, engineer, fabricator, student, a vendor on the street, shop keeper, householder, translator, government servant, corporate executive, lawyer, manager of an incubator, a start-up, or just a farmer, pastoralist etc. You may just be a curious individual without any idea as to how can you connect with the Network.

The Network always needs new leaders, just as it needs sincere followers. It is an ethical platform that tries to deal with people’s knowledge in a most sincere and transparent manner.

You can do many things and you can do them from anywhere:

You don’t have to be very clear about what you can do to begin with, but it must be clear whether you want to contribute voluntarily or as a paid intern, at SRISTI premises or from your own place, online or off line, or just want to spread the good word. It is possible that when you study the activities, participate in some, you begin to appreciate better which aspect of our work resonates with your spirit. Majority of what we have accomplished in India or 70-0 other countries, sporadically or continuously has been accomplished through volunteers.

We don't aim at enriching ourselves or our kins through the activities of the Network. We want to give maximum credit to the knowledge providers whose generosity when blended with institutional volunteers helped in creating the Network.

What can you do?
Translate: You can translate the content of different databases, case studies, research papers, reports and other outputs into regional/global languages to make it accessible to local communities.

Transform:You can transform local knowledge, ideas and traditional practices into value added products/services to help local communities move on a sustainable path; you can help in screening thousands of microbial cultures isolated from soil samples collected during shodhyatras and help develop value added products. The Benefits, if any, from them will go towards conservation of biodiversity in the regions from which the concerned samples were collected. You can characterise traditional nutritious foods, make posters, review literature etc.

You can Transform stories of innovators (technological, educational, institutional or cultural) into comics, posters, booklets, animation for children and adults;

Tweak: You can tweak many challenges posed at summerschool.sristi.org and help young students design better solutions, host students in harsh conditions to enable them to map local richness of material and non material resources and skills

Transfer: Lot of knowledge needs to be transferred from one creative community, school, lab, studio, house to another; cross-pollination is the essence of the Network. You can be the ‘bridge, broker or benevolent bania’ who cross-connect nodes and helps in creating knowledge network

Mentor: You can mentor budding start-up in sustainability and affordability space, help them connect with right partners, help expand the reach and resources of sif.sristi.org

Paint/illustrate: Draw or paint cover page for Honey Bee Newsletter, illustrate stories, help us find less popular folk stories that convey in a sublime manner about values of nature conservation and compassionate creativity

There are so many other ways volunteers can help trigger a node of the Network in respective region. Ideally, we should have a node in each district, school, college and each city/village of the world. We should spread the philosophy of the Network to scout/search, spread, and celebrate inclusive innovations and outstanding functional traditional knowledge; and identify or sense or make an inventory of the unmet social needs. These unmet needs will trigger next innovation revolution in the country. Gandhian values still have a place in our life. Frugality has to be a binding constraint on all our pursuits. There is no pride in doing things extravagantly.

You can be an active participant in making the world more creative, compassionate and collaborative. The Honey Bee Network needs all your energy, no matter what you do, where you are located. There is something that each one of you can contribute to the Network. We await your mails and tweets/posts eagerly…

To Join HoneyBee Network Click Here

Setting up National/regional, institutional/college or school level Innovation Club Chapters: Mobilizing and mentoring grassroots innovations and learning from them

Societal aspirations are increasing with every deepening of democracy. More the people feel empowered, the less patient they become with inertia and inefficiency to channelize the energy of youth for social transformation. National/Regional/Honey Bee Innovation Club chapters have been initiated in institutions and new clubs can be set up. These clubs have to mediate between the creativity in society and educational institutions so that both get fertilized through exchange and engagement. There are at least four functions that each club has to perform: [a] searching, [b] spreading, [c] celebrating creativity and innovations by inviting innovators to the classroom, organizing exhibitions and joining hands with them to take their ideas forward and [d] to sense or benchmark the unmet social needs so that through future research and interventions by the academia and other stakeholders, the gaps can be bridged.

The clubs will have various sub-groups for pursuing time-bound implementation of different activities. For instance, while searching innovations, it is not necessary that one restricts oneself to only the rural and urban areas in the vicinity of the university. Students coming from different parts of the country can also search innovations in areas around their homes. However, this will be in addition to identifying the innovations in the hinterland. One can find out innovations in various domains such as technological, educational, institutional, financial, supply chain, logistics, etc. If we take a matrix having three dimensions i.e. methods, materials and applications of the solutions, then one should have novelty in at least one of the three dimensions. For instance, azadirachtin is a known compound from neem which helps in pest control. If we extract this compound by a known method and use it for a known application, i.e., crop pest control, then there is no innovation. Either, the method should be new and/or the material or compound should be new or the application should be new. If the same compound is used for growing hairs on the bald head, then it becomes a new application. Similarly, use of aspirin for controlling headache was known for a long time. But its use as a blood thinner became an innovation. If mobile phone can be used by attaching a UV LED to purify water, that will be innovative use of mobile phone. Innovations can also be in education, i.e., a school or college teacher in the neighborhood may find a new way of teaching children, solving problems or overcoming different constraints preventing poor children from learning. A local village panchayat can come out with a new way of resolving conflicts, keeping village clean or mobilizing contributions for addressing the problems of the community.

Spreading implies sharing information about innovations with the communities around the college or university. One can spread creative ideas from anywhere in the country to stimulate imagination, build confidence and even address the local problems. Sometimes, by learning about other’s ideas, one can overcome inertia more easily and try or experiment to develop a local solution.

The celebration of the innovation will involve inviting innovators to the classroom, organizing exhibitions from time to time, working jointly with them to improve the effectiveness of their ideas and linking formal and informal knowledge systems to make innovations more affordable, accessible, available and environmentally more sustainable. Joint research papers and sharing of research in local language with the innovators will also boost their confidence. Validation and value addition in local innovations will inspire both sides, the formal sector but also informal sector. Most grassroots innovators may not have access to new materials, tools, workshops and thus bringing them to university campus will augment their repertoire.

The sensing of unmet needs is a very critical function of the club. Many times, in the absence of such an inventory of the felt needs or even unfelt needs, our educational research may not make the impact it is capable of. One can find out the limitations or inadequacies in the availability of energy or the method of its use which can be improved. It is not always necessary that people articulate the problems they face or the social gaps they live with, sometimes for centuries. We have to develop great sensitivity and samvedana to understand the bottlenecks in the local value chain as well as in the affordability and environmental compatibility of various practices.

These clubs can be set up in companies, community orgnaizations, NGOs or any social institution.

How to start a regional node of the Honey Bee Network

We are very keen to establish voluntary node of the Honey Bee Network in different schools, colleges, companies, NGOs, villages, district, countries, etc., to spread the philosophy of the Network. Idea is that whatever we learn from creative people in informal sector at grassroots or formal sector like industrial shop-floor, or school teachers, or workers etc., we acknowledge the contributors. But when some intermediaries helps in reaching the original innovator or traditional knowledge holder, or conservator of biodiversity or other natural resources, we should acknowledge their contribution too. The ordinary people who solve problems through their own efforts in various sectors need respect, recognition, reward and a warm relationship with each other.

You can help in forging such relationship: we need active volunteers who wish to start a HBN nod in any state of India or any other country. We can have more than one or two or even ten collaborators in one state. It is not just the task of scouting and dissemination that collaborators can do, they can also help in adding value in local innovations in their labs and workshops, they can augment design, they can make apps to seek, spread, and celebrate innovations or share a problem that has defied local solution. A school/college teacher who documents educational innovations, creative ideas of children or college students and documents unmet social needs can be a collaborator. They are many such teachers who have hosted children creativity workshops, organised shodhsankal workshops that is workshops of experimenting farmers, teachers, youth, workers, labourers etc.

Some of the activities that these node take up:

a) Visiting villages, slums, workshops, repair shops in cities, women groups, or other processing or other clusters to look for creative people, traditional knowledge holders, practices, ideas, incremental, derivative or disruptive radical innovations;
b) Sharing the creative ideas among those who ma be facing similar problems, help build horizontal network of problem solvers, innovators in education, technology, institutions or cultural domains;
c) Sharing with knowledge providers whatever we do on their ideas in local language with easily understandable progress report of value added by us, set up local language version of honey bee newsletters with ffty per cent local content and remaining content from other regions;
d) Help in validation and value addition in local knowledge, ideas and innovative pedagogies, herbal or nutritious food formulations, or agricultural, animal, human, microbial leads;
e) If any commercial opportunities emerge based on people’s knowledge, we have to ensure that local innovators get fair and just return of the income generated through their knowledge; explore market mediated model of poverty alleviation, empowerment of women, workers and local communities;
f) Help in organizing shodhyatras, a walk through the villages to learn, share and gratefully seek blessing from centenarians, and other elders; document and write life histories of those who have lived happily for 90-100 or more years. They have a legitimate right to advise how healthy long life can be achieved.
g) Create open source knowledge bases for democratising access to frugal, extremely affordable, open innovations
h) Where needed, help local innovators seek IP protection on their innovations but not to use this IP protection to prevent people to people learning. Help establish tech commons to encourage and allow people to people copying and improvements. But at the same time ensure that people to firm or companies, knowledge or IP transfer takes place through licensing route.
i) Expand databases on grassroots innovations, ideas of children educational innovations, creative common property institutions; engineering/biotechnological or other projects by students and recognise them through GYTI Awards( Gandhian Young Technological Innovation); see gyti.techpedia.in or techpedia.sristi.org
j) Set up HBN innovation clubs in companies, colleges, schools, communities etc.,
k) Link corporations, communities, policy makers, public administrators, industrialists etc., to take ideas forward for inclusive development in society
l) Organise idea contests among school and out of school children; workers and professionals,
m) Document and Share fold stories which encourage younger generation to feel responsible for conservation of nature and frugal use of resources available to us; also see the note for volunteers

There is a lot more that each node has to do selflessly and with open heart and mind, inclusively without any prejudice against any social group or minority or disadvantaged people or non-human sentries beings.

SRISTI is a registered charitable organization under Bombay Public Trust Act, 1950.
Trust Registered No. F/3538/AHMEDABAD

Donations to SRISTI are tax exempt under sec 80-G up to the fifty per cent of the donated amount.

One can donate time, resources, lab/workshop equipments and libraries also

Please contact us for your CSR engagements

SRISTI acknowledges all contribution gratefully and assures full transparency in the utilization of the resources for the declared public purposes.

Bank Details
A/c holder name:- SRISTI
Bank name:- AXIS BANK LTD
A/C NO:- 032010100012131
Branch:- Memnagar, Ahmedabad