Empowerment of rural areas to expand small enterprises in Kermanshah
Project name: empowerment of rural areas to expand small enterprises in Kermanshah
Project implementer: Kermanshah Science and Technology Park
We live in Kermanshah, one of the western provinces of Iran. Understanding and recognizing challenges facing villages in Iran are strategically important, because we believe that the origin of lack of development in developing countries including poverty, inequality and increasing unemployment, come from challenges of villages. Because of cultural differences, villages demand different technologies and technology should adapt itself to the needs of local people to be accepted by them.
We believe that practical technologies should enter the villages and technology should consider natural, cultural, human and economic conditions of the region and basic needs of the villagers. Entrepreneurship and rural development are connected together. In fact entrepreneurship accelerates rural development, and we should let the villagers to choose their needed technologies.
In order to achieve the goal of villagers participating in the process of selecting their needed technologies considering local capacities, we organized 'think rooms' in the villages and invited all the villagers to take part in that and offer the best strategies and approaches for the best needed technologies to enter the villages.
Holding training courses for the villagers was the second step. Application of technology needs skill and those skills should be taught by holding training courses. We don’t want to just transfer technology, instead we want villagers to learn how to use, maintain and develop technology.
At third step we didn’t want to focus on just one village or limited number of them, instead we believed that villages should be considered as a network and all the villages of the area should be a member of this network. Consequently we started the project in limited villages and expanded that to other villages of the region and country by organizing tourism tours, invitation of government officials, holding exhibitions of products and product branding.
We didn’t want to focus on agricultural entrepreneurship; our goal is to expand tourism, forging, carpentry, spinning and reducing dependency on agriculture. For empowerment we should encourage all the villagers to participate and consider local capacities. Our main goal is empowerment of villages to eradicate poverty and to expand investment and sustainable development to rural areas.
Two examples of empowerment project achievements in rural areas:
1. Mechanization of Giveh (traditional shoes) production
Native people of Western Iran have been engaged in Giveh production for more than 2000 years using traditional methods which in some cases are dangerous and very difficult. By making a team of educated and skillful people familiar with this ancient industry, we mechanized production of Giveh. We had to make a team of people familiar with both ancient secrets of Giveh production and mechanization of production. Using new tools let the shoe (Giveh) makers to increase their productivity more than 10 times comparing traditional methods.
2. Spinning wheel
For thousands years, Kermanshahi people were involved in spinning yarn from wool. Spinning was done using traditional methods. This industry has created main jobs for native people and has played an important role for reducing unemployment in rural areas. Our technicians developed and introduced mechanized spinning wheel which revolutionized spinning industry in the region. The new technology created new jobs, employed many job seekers and paved the way for wealth generation in the region. Users are able to manage time, increase efficiency and productivity. Spinning wheel is portable and spinners can spin 1 KG yarn a day while using traditional tools for spinning wool let them just spin 1 KG yarn in 10 days.
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Yes, getting our STPs to break down their walls (if they are any) and "go out" to the big brave world is important. STPs mustn't be "technology reservations" for the happy few.
It is compatible to be a center for high-tech development, research and knowledge-based companies and, at the same time, connect with the other side of the story, the low and mid-tech solutions to impending problems.
This flexibility will reinforce our role and leadership within our broad community and give more reasons for our decision makers to keep supporting our initiatives.