About Orissa Learning Hub

MART’s quest for innovative solutions has repeatedly proven the need to marry the learning from the ground to the scientific knowledge and management principles available in public and private domains. This paradigm is reflected in our business approach and activities in Orissa that has grown as our Incubation Centre. Over the past 7 years, MART has intensively worked in Orissa by deeply involving the community and finding space for their voiced needs. This is true for both development and corporate sector projects undertaken so far.

MART has experimented with and established various models and mechanisms that are accepted as durable solutions to the development challenges posed by rural India in general and Orissa in particular. Under the ‘Western Orissa Rural Livelihood Project’, we have developed and established the ‘pro-poor value chain’ concept wherein private sector is engaged as an equal business partner with the community to ensure a win-win situation. This model is termed simplistically as the ‘Collective Marketing Model’. This model has been furthered to include the government towards better fulfilment of its development objectives and was replicated under the ‘Orissa Tribal Empowerment and Livelihood Programme’ to cover 396 villages. The relevance and success of this model is reflected in its adoption for project design, pilot and upscale for the ‘Orissa Forestry Sector Development Project’ under which 68 clusters are being developed in 9 forest divisions of the state.

Other successful outcomes of the experiments in Orissa are potential of ‘Haats as Rural Business Hubs’ and ‘community managed marketing institutions’. NABARD has developed 10 haats to act as rural business hubs bridging the information and transaction divide between the production centres and markets. This model is being used by the Associated Cement Company to foster development in their operational areas under CSR activities. The model for developing ‘community managed marketing institution’ was adopted by Rabo Bank when it took up an initiative to support development in the most backward regions of the tribal district of Kandhamal. All this points to the importance of keeping our ears to the ground and continue to learn and facilitate co-creation as the way ahead to seek effective answers to the needs and challenges of rural India.

With the growth in scope and importance of the rural economy in India, MART has identified Orissa as a major centre for incubation with huge potential for co-creation. This will assist businesses looking to leverage the rural growth story by bringing customised and unique solutions to the markets.

Our Team

Ramesh JenaRamesh Jena: Ramesh, a PGDM and PGDBEM from EDII, Ahmedabad joined MART in 2002 and since then he has been actively involved in the core areas of research, planning, implementation, strategy and monitoring of projects in the domain of Livelihoods promotion and Rural Marketing. His long association with MART has provided him the impetus to contribute immensely to the domain of sustainable livelihoods promotion for the community, market led research, project management, rural marketing and capacity building. He achieved his feat and distinction of being one of the few proactive and innovative contributors to coming up with livelihood focused solutions in the development sector pioneered by MART.
By virtue of his experience and knowledge of development issues from policy and institutional perspective, he is heading the Orissa team and is also certified as a Trainer by BIRD and EDII.

Nirmallya MandalNirmallya Mandal: Nirmallaya is a key consultant in the Orissa team and a Post Graduate Diploma in Rural Management from the Indian Institute of Rural Management (IIRM) with around 8 years of rich experience. He has expertise in Micro Enterprise Promotion, Value Chain Analysis, Business Development Services, Capacity Building and Institution Development. He has provided Consultancy and Project Management at MART to clients such as SDC, IFAD, WFP and Govt of Jharkhand, GTZ, UNDP, World Bank, DFID as well as Livelihoods and Market Research for clients such as ICCO Netherlands, Catholic Relief Services and World Vision India. He has been the Programme Coordinator of the Certificate Program in Inclusive Marketing, an international capacity building programme conducted by MART and the Birla Institute of Management Technology (BIMTECH) to impart comprehensive knowledge of inclusive marketing to professionals of both the development and corporate sectors. 55 national and international development professionals have been trained successfully so far by him.