Developing Integrated SMART Villages for Rural Transformation in Response to Sustainable Development Goals
According to World Bank, three out of every four poor persons in developing countries live in rural areas and a big percentage of them are dependent on agriculture for their livelihoods. Climate change has had far-reaching consequences to agricultural and rural development, especially in areas that are already fragile and exposed to environmental vulnerabilities. Broadly speaking, climate change is affecting poor farmers disproportionately. Past decades have witnessed the unprecedented depletion of rich resources in villages, the eroding green cover, over utilization of chemical fertilizer, mass migration to urban areas in search of occupation, leaving children and the elderly to live in villages with poor quality of life. One of the long-term repercussions is that villages are losing their potential for job opportunities, and their ability to support sustainable livelihoods, sustainable communities, healthy living spaces and create prosperity. Reversing these trends requires talent infusion, the innovative use of science and technologies in agricultural and related occupations, the transformation of villages into self-sustaining enterprises providing market linkages, reducing post-harvest loss, and the combination of technology for sustainable development and good health. All these in turn will make agricultural and related occupations more attractive and challenging to the youth and motivate them to stay in rural areas and pursue adequate capacity development opportunities. Against this background, this project proposes a unique approach of developing green SMART (Sustainable Model for Appropriate use of resources and Resilient Technologies) villages using the skills eco-system as a driver of change. It proposes an integrated and comprehensive approach for developing green SMART villages focused on environment-friendly, science and technology-powered, and skills-driven processes involving local skills eco-systems to implement day-to-day operations.
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