The Community-based Human and Natural Resources Development (CBHNRD) Programme in Karnataka funded by EZE and implemented by AFPRO is on in 20 villages where the project is being implemented jointly with 9 local partners. Here are a few glimpses from the areas.
The physical components for soil and water conservation, including bunding, gully plugs, check dams and essential repairs have brought water and hope to all the villages. A highlight of the programme is the thrust given to indigenous methods of bunding and water conservation rather than capital-intensive structures. Only 4 check dams have been constructed, with cost effective budgets. An- elderly person from Huluvangala village, Kortagere taluka, Tumkur district lucidly puts it, “Earlier people from our neighbouring villages were reluctant to marry their daughters in this village because of the water scarcity. Now they happily come forward.” Water is a bride’s best friend!
123 groups have been formed till date in these villages, with 1541 women and men. The point to note is that women, at 55 per cent, outnumber men in these groups.
In Kallahally village, Mysore district, teenage girls have come forward and formed a Yuvathi Mandali (Young Women’s Association). The 18 girls, four of whom are attending college, have learnt tailoring under the programme and are active participants in all the activities. Saving 5 rupees every week that they met, they have now collected Rs. 60,000/-, now deposited in a Savings Bank Account. The weekly meetings are used as a platform to discuss issues of importance to the village and the girls themselves. All of them have resolved to bring awareness among the villagers on their areas of concern. They tell us none of them would get married before reaching their eighteenth year.
The CBHNRD programme covers a population of 15,953 (2788 households) and 5,107 hectares of land. Of these, 78.5 per cent are small/marginal farmers or landless. The programme cost works out to Rs. 5,500/- per hectare.