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Message From Nanji Deshmukh
  Self Reliance Methodology
Samaj Shilpi Dampati

Deendayal Research Institute’s (DRI) commitment to the implementation of the development process from the bottom to the top, i.e. formulated at the village level, necessitated sustained interaction with the villagers themselves to understand their problems and motivate them to change. However, after decades of exploitation, villagers are extremely wary of the intentions of outsiders who come to their villages claiming to want to help them.

The only way to gain their confidence and trust was to have committed social workers live within the community itself. The realization of this basic reality, led DRI to evolve the concept of grass root level functionaries known as ‘Samaj Shilpi Dampati’ (SSD),


a newly wed graduate couple that have the sense of commitment towards community service, to live and work in the village for a period of five years. The SSD would work in a cluster of five villages.

After an orientation and training camp, the SSD are taken to the village where they live either in the primary school or with a family that is sympathetic to the cause of social development. After first gaining the trust of the villagers, by their open commitment to the betterment of all in the village, starting with the children, the SSD, then start to talk to the villagers about change.

The SSD are catalysts of change, and key functionaries in DRI’s self-reliance campaign. In all areas of the campaign – increasing incomes; removing unemployment; improving agricultural techniques; education; health & hygiene; clean & green village; to help them resolve their disputes at the village level itself; and increasing social consciousness in the villages by encouraging them to live in harmony with mutual respect and complimentarity – the SSD act as a nodal point for all interventions by DRI units.

The success of the self-reliance campaign is directly linked to the success of the Samaj Shilpi Dampati.

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