Community takes the Baton – Introducing JEEViKA

After months of discussions, in the month of March, i-Saksham signed an MoU with Jeevika to implement the i-Saksham Fellowship Program. It aims to promote SHGs in two districts of Bihar – Jamui & Munger.

i-Saksham was started as a project in 2013 by three ex-Prime Minister Rural Development Fellows along with local rural youths. It runs a two-year fellowship program which engages the youth with the objective of developing educational leaders who either teach in local government schools or run their own community learning centers.

About JEEViKA: The Government of Bihar (GoB), through the Bihar Rural Livelihoods Promotion Society (BRLPS), an autonomous body under the Department of Rural Development, is spearheading the World Bank aided Bihar Rural Livelihoods Project (BRLP), locally known as JEEViKA with the objective of social & economic empowerment of the rural poor. The core strategy of the intervention is to build vibrant community institutions of women, which through member saving, internal loaning, regular repayment, and economic activities become self-managed institutions. Currently, Bihar has more than 98 lakh households under the fold of this program.

The idea of collaborating with JEEViKA comes with a strong belief in the idea of giving the community the ownership of its own development, while the role of organizations like i-Saksham will be in facilitating the process. Getting the idea accepted was not easy and it took us nearly 9 months to convince the leadership at JEEViKA to agree on this MoU. While the idea of engaging local rural youth as educators, and giving ownership to SHGs was something we all agreed upon, designing a feasible intervention design model for the pilot went through series of refinements before the MoU was signed.

Three key objectives of this pilot project are:

1) Improve the learning capability of 750 children in the primary grade against the baseline.

2) Mobilize and develop local edu-leaders, mainly women and build their capacities to deliver best pedagogical practices, with the aid of digital technology.

3) Create awareness in parents, and enhance community engagement through JEEViKA promoted SHGs about progress in the learning levels of children.

The project will be implemented with the participation of Community-based structures (SHGs/VOs/CLFs), nurtured by Bihar Rural Livelihood Promotion Society (BRLPS). Edu-leaders will be from the community and will be nominated by the community. BRLPS will bear the training and capacity building cost of edu-leaders who will be from SHG members family only. Community-based structures will pay an honorarium to the selected edu-leaders for providing 10 hours of supplementary education every week to 30 students on an average. i-Saksham will be involved in capacity building and the entire program design with a focus on students, edu-leaders, and the community. The pilot is for a six-month period, with additional extension possibility built-in based on the achievements of the stated objectives of the pilot program.

Written by Team i-Saksham

i-Saksham builds local youth as community tutors & entrepreneurs called ‘Saksham-Mitras’. It trains and provides them with capabilities and resources to empower their community through education and awareness while earning a livelihood for themselves. i-Saksham identifies motivated youth, trains them in details of pedagogy, digital tools, and English and guides them to deliver quality learning. The organization has been a part of EduMentum’s Cohort Alpha since 2017.


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