Organization: Digital Green
The M.I.T. grad turned aeronautical-astronautical engineer now helms the New Delhi-based Digital Green, an NGO funded in part by the Gates Foundation that teaches farmers in small rural villages the latest agricultural techniques via multimedia presentations and personal demonstrations. Currently active in four states in India, the plan is to expand to 1,200 villages total throughout South Asia and Africa within the next three years.
At least once a week, farmers gather in a small group of 15 or 20 in a common area of their village, where they view a six to eight minute instructional video, varying according to region and state, that is projected onto the side of a building. The lessons are also supplemented with more in-person group demonstrations.
Gandhi says his new media take is 10 times more effective per dollar spent in converting farmers to better farming practices than more traditional approaches. It also transforms farming into a communal activity.
"Normally, these practices happen in isolation," Gandhi explains. "A farmer adopts this practice here or this practice there. But it's really seeing these farmers integrate many of these practices together and really seeing a change brought about in their lives and the lives of their whole family that makes this first-hand experience an experience to have."
NEXT: Valerie Gauthier
Last updated June 17 2010: 5:11 PM ET