there is a will, there is a canal
AFPRO had the opportunity
to lend technical assistance to a self-generated effort
of villagers in the Nalanda district in Bihar. The district
is characterised by a flat topography, criss-crossed
by rivers, pynes (high-level canals) and reservoirs.
The most important of the rivers is the Paimar, the
‘Sada Neera’ or the ‘perennial river’. The river is
the main feeding source for a wide network of canals
and pynes including the Kolhuan pyne that used to irrigate
80-85 villages of Nalanda and Islampur regions in British
times. By the end of the Zamindari system, landlords
registered submergence lands surrounding the pyne in
their own names. This and the lack of timely maintenance
made the Kolhuan pyne fade into the background for the
next five decades. Shrinking sources of irrigation made
the surrounding villagers take a fresh look at the pyne.
group of youth started a relentless campaign among the
villages for a revival. Slowly the movement gathered
momentum, and people from all sections irrespective
of caste and creed joined them. The community organised
themselves into a ‘Kolhua Sangharsh Samiti’ (The Kolhua
Endeavour Committee). Since the new canal alignment
was falling along a different route, the Samiti decided
to buy the lands falling along the canal line. About
3,10,578 rupees were collected from the farmers whose
lands were falling in the command area. The money was
used to buy 1.64 acres, and the rest registered in the
names of the 160 members of the Samiti (2 from each
of the 80 villages). For excavation work, they approached
a locally active voluntary organisation, the Lok Swarajya
Sangh, who in turn approached FORRAD, New Delhi, for
assistance. AFPRO planned the 7-kilometer long excavation
in two phases, of which Phase One is now complete. The
mouth of the canal has been opened to bring the river
water in, and 35 villages at the mouth of the village
have grown their Kharif crop with Paimar water. At the
end of the project, when the whole canal would be de-silted,
all 80 villages will get enough water to save both their
Rabi and Kharif crops from droughts.
Relief in Chhattisgarh
sections of the population of the newly formed State
of Chhattisgarh are dependent on the rains to grow crops.
This is especially true for the 32 per cent tribal population
of the State.
recent years, Chhattisgarh is facing one of the worst
droughts in recent years, with a shortfall of 300 mm
of rainfall from the usual 1100-1400 mm per year. At
places, the shortfall is as much as 500 mm. Severe damage
to the kharif crop inevitably led to large-scale hunger
and migration. The district of Mahasamund was the worst
response to the alarming situation, several NGOs have
initiated relief works. AFPRO, CARE, World Vision and
the Public Health Engineering (PHE) departments of the
government and village panchayats have come together
to in a programme to provide succor to about 65,000
villagers in 103 villages across 43 panchayats in Mahasamund.
The programme is supported by the Australian High Commission
and co-ordinated by CARE.
total of 24,226 person days of employment were generated
in 32 villages. Cash-for-work in repairing and deepening
ponds and tanks, construction of water diversion structures,
strengthening existing dams and canals were implemented
in the programme period 1st February to 1st May, 2001.
The local practice of wage employment, called the Godi
system was followed, whereby digging one Godi of land
measuring 13ft.x13ft.x1ft. makes a person eligible for
a payment of Rs.105.
collaboration with the PHE department, AFPRO also trained
14 youth in repairing and maintaining hand pumps. The
new mechanics will be given a toolkit each, and will
operate in 43 panchayats. 28 non-functional hand pumps
will also be repaired. Combating droughts however requires
a long-term vision. AFPRO has already worked out the
design details and cost estimates for soil and water
conservation structures for 22 villages in the Mahasamund
block. The communities where the structures are planned
are cooperating enthusiastically, voluntarily guarding
raw materials and supervising construction work.
campaign is on in these villages, propagating the importance
of conservation to mitigate the effects of future droughts.
Drought-resistant varieties of saplings have been distributed
in all 103 villages.
Funds in Maharashtra
Vasti, a small dairy community of 187 people and 160
cattle in Ghoti village is making news. Water overflowing
from a bore well fitted with a submersible pump used
to inundate the surrounding area, resulting not only
in the loss of precious ground water but also creating
unsanitary conditions due to water logging around. In
a village meeting, the community suggested constructing
a tank to store the excess flow. Technicians from AFPRO
worked out the estimates, and the tank was complete
at a cost of Rs. 80,000, including Rs. 30,000 contributed
by the community. People get piped water for drinking
now, and the excess is used for horticulture activities
on 10 acres of village common lands. The income from
this will go into a Water Fund that will maintain the
drinking water supply scheme.
villages in Vidharba and central Maharashtra (including
Ghoti) are part of a broad-based programme for providing
drinking water and sanitation facilities and encouraging
enhanced hygiene. The programme supported by Water Aid,
is touching the lives of 27,140 villagers in these villages.
In its fourth running year, the programme has been instrumental
in bringing in changes in personal hygiene and availability
of drinking water.
Samasya Mukti Trust, one of the partners, have already
taken the first steps towards sustaining the effects
of the programme by forming a water and sanitation committee,
whose job it is to ensure participation from others.
A federation of 13 villages and 18 hamlets have also
been formed, which has started a Water Fund to repair
and maintain the created infrastructure.
Water Use Through Appropriate Distribution
water distribution from a single overhead storage reservoir
(OHSR) faces the problem of vandalism on the distribution
side, with acute consequences in areas where water supply
to the reservoir is low. The AP III project of the Government
of Andhra Pradesh aims to replace OHRSs with multiple
medium-level storage reservoirs (MLSRs) for rural areas
in the Vijayanagaram district. The project is assisted
bilaterally by the Royal Netherlands Embassy and the
Government of India. AFPRO took up the job of calibrating
the drinking water schemes in five habitations in Jami
Mandal. The multiple MLSRs avoid wastage and ensure
better maintenance of the system. Besides system calibration,
Public Stand Posts (PSPs) calibration has also been
carried out in order to ensure a similar filling time
for all the MLSRs.
drinking water scheme like this can sustain only when
there are well-defined systems with clear roles and
responsibilities to monitor and maintain it. Thus, a
people’s body called a Manisa has been formed for each
system. In all, 12 MLSRs have been calibrated by AFPRO
for the five habitations, benefiting 3,652 inhabitants
of the area.
Safe Water and Sanitation Programme for Schoolchildren
in Manipur and Tripura
diseases account for as much as 40% of serious pediatric
health problems that amount to a staggering 300 million
cases in the country every year. The close association
between the occurrence of diarrhea, malnutrition, lack
of safe drinking water and proper sanitation facilities
is well known. Unfortunately all efforts to address
this issue consider diarrhea as medical problem. An
integrated approach incorporating all dimensions is
a felt need in the country.
role of AFPRO in North-East India has evolved over the
past two decades of its involvement from a predominantly
welfare-oriented approach to one based on integrated
development needs for the village communities. As part
of this integrated approach, we are now working as UNICEF
extenders in the North-East region to facilitate integrated
projects in water, sanitation and nutrition in West
Imphal and South Tripura districts. The Governments
of Manipur and Tripura have taken up integrated water
and school sanitation programmes with funding support
from UNICEF and technical support by AFPRO. The aim
of the project is to develop an operational model to
reduce the diarrheal cases by 25 per cent before December
2002, and facilitate the community based capacity building
programmes towards achieving convergent services.
overall objectives of the programme are to provide access
to safe drinking water, to reduce incidence of diarrheal
diseases and to enhance the nutritional status of children
and pregnant women. AFPRO as a resource support agency
will co-ordinate help from officials of the respective
State governments and local NGOs to implement the programme
in the four Rural Development blocks selected for the
programme. The initial phase of two years 2000-2002
is planned as a pilot phase.
AFPRO will also be involved in planning and
monitoring of all the activities in the program. Some
of the main activities include co-ordination of baseline
studies, conducting orientation workshops and trainers
training programmes providing technical assistance in
installation and maintenance of hand pumps and training
of masons for constructing low cost toilets.
integrated WATSAN and nutrition project and school sanitation
project is underway in Amarpur and Bagafa blocks of
South Tripura districts, Tripura and CD blocks I and
II of West Imphal district, Manipur.
Experiences in NRM
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.
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.
As 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 as a
bride’s best friend?
123 groups have been formed till date in these villages,
with 1541 women and men members. 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
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.
Agricultural Land Technology (SALT) optimises land use
to grow not just food crops but horticultural produce
and forests as well. It thus enhances income levels
as well as food and fodder availability within the community.
More than 1000 persons have participated in the SALT-related
training events and demonstrations organised by AFPRO
during the year of reporting.
villages in the Aravalli hills, a semi-arid zone in
southern Rajasthan, have been selected for a project
to implement SALT in partnership with 4 local NGOs.
In all, 415 farmers with 200 hectares of land are part
of the initiative. Disseminating the uses of the practice
were a main concern in the first year of operation.
The area being one of limited water availability, SALT
involves many water-saving techniques such as liquid
manure with dung and urine, and using plant waste through
mulching. Agro-forestry groups have been formed among
the villagers, which has promoted their interest in
the workings of SALT. As part of the agro-forestry groups,
the women of the villages are getting an opportunity
to come out of their cloistered roles and take on questions
of land productivity along with their men folk.
villagers who have adopted SALT techniques demonstrate
a combination of appropriate technology and management
techniques, the cornerstone of conservation.
Rural Development Programme for the North-East
seven states of North Eastern India are similar in terms
of development challenges faced. EZE-EED has been supporting
small NGOs to start various projects under
AFPRO’s overall coordination since 1982.
Package Programme VI, the latest running project, went
through an assessment in 2000 to see the impact of such
initiatives given the macro situation for the North
support in the form of building irrigation and water
supply structures, biogas plants, low-cost toilets have
gone towards fulfilling much-needed infrastructure requirements
of the villagers. Designs have been modified in certain
cases to suit local needs, as in the Shramik Bandhu
Biogas Plant, made of locally available bamboo instead
of bricks, an expensive commodity in this hilly region.
from providing assistance to villages through the 19
partners, the programme had a decided thrust on capacity
building, both for the villagers as well as the partners.
There are many instances of poor families becoming self-sufficient
through timely assistance from the programme. A family
in Manipur grows a local plant called Yenam (from the
garlic family) that is very popular in the local market
and gives returns amounting to as much as Rs. 750 per
day. In another village – Hengbung, Hahat Kipgen, a
Kuki woman, shares her views on the thrift and credit
programme for women: “Men are jealous of us as we are
the poineer moneylenders in the village. We feel very
powerful to be lending out money”.
like supply of oil-engine pumps to lift irrigate paddy,
pineapple and pepper cultivation has considerably increased
Support for Coastal Orissa
super cyclone that struck coastal Orissa on 29th-30th
October 1999 and the floods following it necessitated
relief measures on an emergency basis - timely support
that helped people to survive in those critical days.
When things settled down, however, many were left without
any means of livelihood. The poor in general – small
and marginal farmers and fisher folk - did not have
resources to rebuild their lives. Migration in search
of labor started from the coastal districts.
response to the crisis came in the form of post-disaster
support to enable the cyclone-affected persons to generate
livelihoods in their own villages. The Orissa Livelihood
Restoration Fund, conceived by SDC, aims at rebuilding
lives in all six coastal districts, with AFPRO covering
4 of them. In all, 3416 families are being covered under
the programme, working out to an average of Rs. 1,539
to be invested per family. All the beneficiaries of
the individual family support programme are returning
25 per cent of the amount vested in them to the village
group for the revolving fund.
specific support, inputs like paddy and vegetable seeds,
fertilizers, pesticides, iron ploughs and threshers
were provided for the farmers to start cultivating.
Land improvement activities were also carried out and
inputs provided to increase crop yields, in both kharif
as well as rabi seasons. To support irrigation, shallow
tube wells with either Krishak Bandhu or diesel engine
pumps. Cows and goats were distributed, especially among
the widows from the cyclone. Fisher folk were also supported
with equipment like boats and nets lost in the cyclone;
inland fisher folk were aided with inputs for pisciculture.
is supplemented with strategies to mobilize these communities
in taking charge over their lives. As an approach, it
is proving its efficacy, as shown by the increased degree
of participation in community works, especially by women.
Forest Management: A Learning
September 1999, AFPRO-SDC started a community-based
programme to better the relationship between tribal
people in 40 villages covering 4,364 families of Yawatmal
district with the surrounding forestlands.
the 40, 25 villages have passed a Gram Sabha resolution
to start forest management jointly with the Forest Department.
Experience gained during the initiation process led
to management of non-timber forest produce emerging
as a major tool for economic upliftment. In this way,
an age-old symbiosis between the forests and the communities
dependant on them was re-established. Non-violent ways
of harvesting honey was one such way. About 5000 kilos
were harvested; with appropriate links with the Food
and Drug authorities on one hand and the markets on
the other, this has developed into a major income generator.
the groups stressed on protecting the forests through
forest protection committees as conceived by government
policies. With changing practices, it is increasingly
being acknowledged that the interests of the stakeholders
will be taken care of only if ‘protection’ is replaced
with ‘management’. This is an important learning for
the groups, and the network hopes to share its views
with others in the State.
the Way Towards Natural Pest Control
input costs typically hit small and marginal farmers
the hardest. Since approximately one-thirds of the world’s
harvest is lost due to pest attacks, non-chemical based
pest prevention and control is fundamental to agriculture
pest management is a system that utilises all suitable
techniques and methods in context of the environment
and population dynamics of pest species and maintains
them at levels below those that can cause economic injury
(the Economic Threshold Level or ETL). IPM reflects
and reinforces the goals of a more sustainable agriculture.
Since it is an amalgamation of all compatible management
practices, the chances of failure are minimized, as
every system acts as a backup for the other. The measures
used check possibilities of developing pesticide-resistant
varieties of pests and diseases.
unique research project is underway on 120 acres(48.56
hec.) of cotton-growing fields in the Jalna district
of Maharashtra. Sixty-four farmers of Bhutkheda village
are voluntary participants of an action research project
on integrated pest management (IPM). Funded by SDC and
implemented by AFPRO and Marathwada Sheti Sahayak Mandal
(MSSM) Aurangabad, the uniqueness of the project lies
making an environment-friendly alternative amenable
to the farmers. It combines knowledge with application
to make the whole learning process practicable.
the specific measures introduced, cotton was inter cropped
with cowpea in order to divert the aphids and leafminer
pests to this crop. T-shaped bird perches and various
bio-agents like Chrysopa, Trichogramma, HaNPV etc. were
also used for the management of pests.
farmers are happy given a yield of 7.1 quintals on an
average on the IPM fields, at a reduced cost of production.
While their non-IPM neighbors have equal or higher yields,
it is at the cost of tremendous cost of inputs (see
Comparing Costs of Production
Deenbandhu 2000 Model Biogas Plant
Deenbandhu 2000 Model Biogas Plant is the latest in
the line of innovations in alternative rural energy
developed by AFPRO. At Rs. 7,600 for a 2 cubic meter
plant and Rs. 9,300 for a 3 cubic meter plant, it costs
up to 1 6% lesser than AFPRO's earlier model, the Deenbandhu
Biogas Plant. Changes include a dome-shaped outlet tank,
reduced thickness of the walls and reduced diameter.
of the inlet pipe. Besides being cheaper, the new plant
is also easier to maintain. The existing design has
a rectangular outlet tank, often left uncovered by the
plant owners to save the expense. This risk is eliminated
in the present dome-shaped design. The wider open area
in the existing design increased scum formation due
to the effect of ambient air and accumulation of slurry
at the corners and on the side walls, a problem that
is again eliminated in the new design.
Being user-friendly, the plant is especially beneficial
for women. The model has been submitted for approval
with the Ministry of Non-conventional Energy Sources
(MNES), Government of India.
Joint Management of Forests in Andhra Pradesh
practice of joint forest management through forest protection
committees - Van Samrakshana Samitis (VSS), as they
are called in Andhra Pradesh, faced some practical challenges
with the conclusion of the first phase of funding by
the World Bank in Septermber 2000. The AFPRO-SDC project
to better the relationship between forests and the people
(operational since 1998) took this as a learning ground;
all 14 local partners under the project were able to
sustain the interests of the 120 VSS.
In some VSS areas, harassment by forest officials on
false charges of theft and smuggling have not stopped.
Changing roles whereby communities become more active
on management aspects are not yet grasped or accepted
by the officials. However, VSS are emerging as strong
local level institutions. A clear distinction has emerged
between the JFM and the non-JFM areas. Women in the
JFM areas are more articulate, participating 'in community
activities and aware about their rights. In ecological
terms, the JFM areas report increased floral growth
and lesser incidence of fires and illegal activities.
However, its impact on poverty levels has been negligible.
This is where the income generation projects come in
to give a certain amount of succor to the VSS members.
In the year of reporting, a training on collecting,
processing and marketing minor forest produce and an
exposure trip to Orissa to understand the working of
community forest management helped to keep interests
high in evolving new ways to use forests in an enduring
Gujarat Earthquake: AFPRO’s Response
earthquake measuring 7.9 on the Richter Scale hit Gujarat
on the morning of 26th January 2001. Twenty-one out
of Gujarat’s 26 districts was affected, and 26,000 lives
were lost. The Earthquake left 1.69 lakhs injured and
caused immense damage to physical structures, including
water harvesting and storage structures that were the
only source of water to this drought-prone region.
experience with the 1993 Latur Earthquake in Maharashtra
taught us that immediate relief support must get transformed
into long-term strategies for rehabilitation and development,
for relief to have any meaning at all for the poor.
In collaboration with 6 voluntary agencies, AFPRO addressed
the immediate problem of water scarcity by siting and
drilling wells and providing technical assistance for
renovating tanks, etc.
carried out an assessment study on the extent of damage
to structures such as tanks, bunds, check dams and constructing
reservoirs and tanks for 20 villages and 6809 families
in the three blocks of Rapar, Anjar and Bachau in Bhuj.
The study will be used for a proposal for restoring
soil and water conservation structures, agriculture
and livestock to be implemented by World Vision, India.
A comprehensive rehabilitation programme for water harvesting
structures is also being worked out for the Kutch region
with funding support from Wells for India, UK. Training
programmes on hand pump repair and maintenance were
conducted for youth in Surendranagar district in Kutch.
Herbal Plants as an Alternate Source of Livelihood
is among the most underdeveloped districts of Orissa,
characterized by recurrent droughts and crop failures.
AFPRO conceived of a project to develop a simple, cost-effective
model for drought-proofing the area by using in-situ
soil moisture and a diverse cropping pattern to ensure
food security. 125 farmers from 5 villages are past
of the exercise, which uses a combination of technology
and information dissemination. The project is mainly
aimed at providing alternate sources of livelihood by
growing herbal plants and uses a technique called the
60:40 technique. The 60:40 technique uses 60 per cent
of the agricultural land to grow the main crop, and
leaves the other 40 per cent to grow other crops, thus
reducing the pressure on the land. The program also
promotes the Jaldhara and 5% models to conserve soil
moisture. Multi-tier cropping based on a combination
of agriculture, silviculture, horticulture and herbal
plants. About 121 acres are being treated with these
technologies. The main thrust of the program has been
to popularize the use of these technologies to beat
the drought. Farmers have been exposed to all these
technologies through training programmes and exposure
visits. Soil test kits have been distributed in the
the gap between available technology to combat drought
and community practices, the project is a small step
towards enhancing the community’s resource base.
Drops that made the Ocean
years ago, monsoons and the local moneylenders were
the pivots around which lives revolved for 15 remote
villages in the Central Indian districts of Balaghat,
Lalitpur, Dewas, Sarguja, Chchindwara, Gwalior, Jabalpur
and Mandla. Drinking water and adequate food, the two
most basic commodities, were seasonal in availability,
and food-for-work programmes that materialized in the
worst of droughts only served as a stopgap arrangement.
are different in these 15 villages now. In 1994, a program
aimed at watershed development was started in 12 drought-prone
villages in Madhya Pradesh, 1 in Chhattisgarh and 2
in Uttar Pradesh. Supported by Christian Aid and the
Lutheran World Relief, the programme was put into operation
by 8 local partners, with AFPRO providing the technical
services. Over a period of six years form 1994 to 2000,
a number of physical structures have ensured better
soil and water conservation in each of these villages.
In all, 21 check dams and 6 check weirs have been built,
and over 1000 hectares of agricultural land improved
through bunding, leveling etc. Other soil conservation
measures include 190 gully plugs and 14,510 meters of
graded bunds. Drinking water problems especially have
been solved with the installation of 10 hand pumps and
6 bore wells. The villagers are still dependent on the
rains, but their ability to use the monsoon water for
a longer period of time has been bolstered. 62 community
organizations like self-help groups, watershed and farmers’
committees have been set up, and are seen by the partners
as the first step in enabling the poor to regain control
over their lives. Understandably, then, the local moneylenders
are not too pleased!
attention to gender concerns has paid dividends: as
of today, women and men participate equally in village
meetings. Equity as a practice was emphasised by paying
women and men equal wages in the implementation of the
programme. As Rulibai, President of the Mahila Samiti
in Dolbaj, district Dewas says, “Things have changed
so much. Earlier we would not even sit at the same place
with men folk. Now we can debate and discuss with them
on anything of concern to us all.”
Rayalseema area in southern Andhra Pradesh is a semi-arid
zone, getting only about 450-600 mm rainfall in a year.
The Rayalseema Watershed Development Programme zeroed
in on 6 micro-watersheds in 21 villages in 4 districts
with moderate to acute water shortage: Ananthapur, Chittor,
Cuddappa and Nellore. The basic starting point for the
project was the understanding that soil moisture is
the cheapest source of irrigation for village communities.
The underlying goal was to ensure equity – gender as
well as class based.
RWDP is a joint effort of 5 funding partners - Action
for World Solidarity (ASW)/CWS, Bread For the World,
Christian Aid, Oxfam (I) Trust and Water Aid and 6 local
implementation partners, with AFPRO providing the socio-technical
services. It covers 1508 persons with 3597.21 acres
of personally owned land and 851.33 common property
the very beginning, the implementing agencies dialogued
with landless and marginal farmers, focussing more on
the needs of groups that depended solely, or at least
in majority, on livestock assets. The physical factors
contributing to water scarcity, as well as the social
factors that denied weaker sections access to available
water resources, were discussed at community-level meetings
where both the landed as well as landless voiced ideas
on feasible designs for water harvesting structures,
construction materials, etc. Exposure trips and training
courses on soil and water conservation and rainwater
harvesting made the concepts clear, and gave them the
requisite knowledge to think about, and plan, structures
and designs for their own communities.
interest levels were raised enough for the villagers
to participate as members of water harvesting committees
consisting of both men and women to supervise construction.
Similarly, committees on drinking water and sanitation
and work monitoring were also organized. The community
jointly decided to disburse the benefits of the program
to landless and land-poor families by investing in ponds
as drinking water reservoirs for domestic animals. Such
planning made sure that the concerns of the marginalised
were met in the course of the project. In at least 7
villages, women were involved in deciding the crop mix,
with the direct result that the ratio of food crops
the clearly expressed impacts at the end of the four-year
improvement in surface water storage and availability
due to rainwater harvesting structures (renovated
as well as new ones). Surface water lasts for longer
Enhanced soil moisture content, reducing risks of
Build up in ground water levels: Drinking water
wells are full, 13 hitherto dry open wells are recharged,
11 community irrigation wells are in operation.
Livestock have been ensured drinking water.
special mention is a boost in self-confidence by putting
into practice the right to equal wages and involving
women in jobs requiring skilled labour. In the words
of the evaluators, “encouraging women to take up skilled
works, which were normally done by men, has significantly
enhanced their confidence”.
recent times, we have noted that many land-based interventions
take the landless, among the outermost fringes of the
rural earning groups, only minimally into account. Owning
little or no land or landed assets such as homestead
land or agricultural fields, landless families generally
have small animals like goats, chicken, or pigs to help
tide over urgent monetary needs as well as ensure a
certain level of nutritional adequacy.
main thrust in livestock management has been in capacitating
the poor in owning, and maintaining, their livestock
assets. All the long-term watershed development projects
are increasingly focussing on fulfilling the water and
fodder requirements for the village livestock. In the
Rayalseema Watershed Development Project, for instance,
watering holes were made and earmarked specially for
the use of animals belonging to landless households.
Another program is the revolving fund for goats, used
mainly by women. A woman takes a loan from the group
and buys a certain number of goats. When their numbers
double, she sells off half the number and returns the
loaned amount to the group, which then loans an amount
to another woman.
major approach in livestock development was one of training
village-level animal health workers in basic veterinary
skills. These ‘Barefoot Veterinary Technicians’, as
we call them, act as life savers for livestock in remote
villages out of reach for veterinary doctors, and in
so doing, earn an extra income. Self-help groups operating
in villages identify the potential trainees. The usual
criterion for selection is school education up to Class
X and dropouts from higher classes. The participants
help to streamline the training schedule according to
the specific needs of the village and an understanding
of the common veterinary problems. The emphasis thus
varies from state to state. In Maharashtra, the thrust
is on cattle, buffaloes and goats. In Rajasthan it is
on camels, sheep and goats; while in the North-East,
it is on rearing pigs and broilers.
technicians have reported earning Rs. 800 – Rs. 3000
per month. They often write back to our livestock section
to seek advice on exceptional problems. An indicator
of enhanced animal health in the villages is the fact
that income from providing para-veterinary services
goes down over a period of time! This was reported to
us in the refresher courses we hold for the technicians
every six months. Apart from allopathic vaccines and
other preventive measures, safe calving techniques and
cross breeding, the training programme also covered
locally obtainable herbal medicines.
for the Andhra Fisherfolk
work among fisher folk has mainly focussed on the state
of Andhra Pradesh, one of the four major maritime states
of the Indian mainland. The estimated marine fishing
population is about 5 lakhs, of which about 1.45 lakhs
are active fishermen and women.
in the marine fisheries sector in the past two decades
have not been very encouraging from the point of view
of the traditional fisher folk. From the eighties onwards,
increases in the number of mechanised trawlers have
had a direct negative impact on traditional fishing.
The trawlers sweep the seabed, with serious implications
for the sustenance of he resource pool. Besides, they
often overrun the fishing gear of traditional crafts,
causing damage to the generally poor traditional fisher
folk. Though the Marine Fishing Regulation Act, 1996,
of the Andhra Pradesh Government allows mechanised fishing
only beyond an 8-kilometer zone from the coast, meaningful
enforcement is yet to be seen.
boom in coastal shrimp farming, especially in the period
1991-95 by the corporate and private sectors alienated
many of these fisher folk from their lands. The Supreme
Court judgement banning shrimp cultivation in the coastal
regulation zones and the directions of the Aquaculture
Authority are yet to be grounded. Coastal mangrove forests
that are being depleted due to human pressure, disintegrating
both productive as well as protective roles. Information
collected from all parts of the Andhra coast corroborates
the fact that the per craft catch, number of fishing
days and the average size of the various species have
all come down over the years. Apart from trawling in
coastal waters, the finer mesh nets used by traditional
fisher folk also threaten fishing resources. Overexploitation
threatens the coastal fisher folk most, as fishing is
often the only trade they know. Besides, the area is
prone to cyclones, in which these communities are naturally
the most vulnerable group. Experience shows that despite
the advanced prediction systems, the warning dissemination
network needs improvements.
to the other maritime states like Kerala, Goa and Tamil
Nadu, fisher folk in coastal Andhra Pradesh are yet
to get organized in order to take collective action
on their rights. Education and awareness levels are
low, especially among the women and the investment and
credit support required frequently for replacing and
repairing crafts and gear is not forthcoming from institutional
systems. Fishermen co-operatives at the primary level
are defunct in most cases. Poor roads and lack of storage
facilities translate into difficulties in post-harvest
marketing for the traditional fisher folk, though women
do sell dried varieties in local markets. Of late, the
intrusion of merchants from outside has also affected
these women fish traders adversely.
fiberglass crafts and motorizing boats are some ways
in which the traditional fishing communities have been
benefited. But what is very clear is that unless the
available fishing pool is protected in some way, none
of the inputs will help in the long run.
involvement in developing the fisher folk therefore
focuses not just appropriate technical inputs (70 artificial
reefs have been installed in the year of reporting)
but also strengthening other sources of livelihood and
organisation among the fisher folk to better their bargaining
power. Awareness about the urgency of conservation to
endure a livelihood from fishing are regularly emphasized
in all our programmes with the fishing communities.
Issue-specific studies have been conducted to aid intervention
strategies. A present study is ongoing to understand
occupational migrations and shifts due most often to
poverty. In the AFPRO-SDC project area, community-based
disaster preparedness measures have been introduced,
that came into use directly in the cyclone threat to
the 40 villages in Prakasam and Nellore district in
October 2000. Albazzia fulcataria, a tree species used
to make fishing crafts and catamarans, was brought from
Kerala and planted by some villagers in their backyards.
The availability of this wood has been a major bottleneck
for crafts making in recent years. The fisheries programme
in coastal Andhra thus takes a comprehensive approach,
encompassing the practical as well as strategic needs
of the fishing communities and the ocean and land on
which their livelihoods depend.
Building for NRM: A training course
management of natural resources requires a skilful blend
of physical components, socio-economic practices, and
proper linkages among Governmental and non-Governmental
agencies in order that village communities and the natural
environment from which they draw their sustenance benefit.
Often, the degree of success of a program that requires
such interdisciplinary skills depends on the attitude
and orientation person on the field. With this in view,
AFPRO has designed a year-long training course for field
workers in NRM. To be conducted jointly with Janvikas,
Ahmedabad, the program will be subsidized through a
grant from SDC, Berne.
course covers socio-technical aspects and skills to
be applied in the rural setting. Around 60 per cent
of the course time is allotted for field exercises and
placements at project villages with experienced NGOs.
12 candidates were taken for the first batch, started
in July 2001.
building in gender for watershed development programmes:
A training programme
participants from 14 NGOs participated in a three-day
training on building a perspective for a gender-sensitive
approach to watershed programmes.
In watershed programmes, various ways are adopted to
make the intervention sensitive to the practical as
well as strategic needs of women. Assuring a drinking
water source near the home may be one way of addressing
a practical need. Ensuring women’s participation in
decision-making groups along with men and increasing
the access to credit and other livelihood options are
the first steps to address the strategic needs of empowerment.
members from AFPRO have already gone through a thorough
‘training for trainers’ on these aspects from 1998 onwards.
Given the pervasive nature of gender as a continuos
area of co-operation and conflict, AFPRO trainers also
go through a learning experience while conducting the
training. Such interactive programmes encourage insightful
thinking and action. They are all the more significant
given the fact that engendering the prevalent practices
and ways of thinking cannot be a one-time service. The
benefits, though often not immediately tangible, can
show up in myriad indicators like improved health facilities
for the family, reduced maternal and infant mortality
rates, better literacy rates etc.
hands to address food security
the ecological and demographic diversity that characterizes
India, the best way to maximize our resources and learning
to be more effective is through networking. We believe
that sharing our experiences to plan interventions addresses
regional needs more efficiently. AFPRO supports or is
part of several region-specific networks of NGOs that
discuss emergent needs, plan programmes and capacity
building exercises, and lend each other a helping hand
in forwarding the agenda set.
such compelling concern is the issue of food security,
especially in the drought-prone areas. Getting adequate
and nutritious food in steady supply is a year-round
worry for much of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Orissa,
three states that have seen persistent droughts in the
Orissa, AFPRO is
the technical support agency for a forum on food security
called Action For Food Security – Orissa (AFFSO). This
group of 51 small and medium voluntary organisations
has pooled their ideas to ensure food security for all
in the state. Recognising the lack of adequate inputs
like skills and technological to produce and store enough
food for family consumption to be among the primary
cause behind predominant hunger and distress migration
in the state, the network plans to bolster the community’s
strength in a long-term way. Capacity-building programmes
are planned for the coming year.
Rajasthan, we recently held a workshop on food security
for the arid and semi-arid zones of India. A group of
twenty-five persons from 16 NGOs participated in the
discourse. In the context of the poor, food with dignity,
for a creative and active life is what matters, the
group emphasised. Major areas where proactive interventions
are required are:
practices for soil and water conservation and promotion
of mixed/organic cropping with an emphasis on dry
land crops such as Bajra (Pearl Millet) and Ragi
the degraded natural resource base, especially forests,
for conservation and regeneration.
alternative sources of non-farm income for landless,
marginal and small farmers; including optimum utilisation
of non-timber forest produce, skill enhancement,
credit mechanisms etc. to control distress migration.
with suitable alterations, traditional techniques
in animal health care and management, with due attention
to fodder requirements.
Panchayati Raj Institutions to ensure policy implementation
as well as recommendations.
for a people-oriented policy towards food security,
with corrections in the public distribution system
to make it match local requirements. Advocacy also
needs to shift from being a crisis-induced response
to a more-long-term one.
optimum returns for the farmer through marketing
preparedness to take a long-term view of the strategic
nature of food security.