Gramvikash
Access to Services Award by Bihar Innovation Forum-II awarded to Gram Vikas on 31st January 2014   
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titlepointMANTRA - Experiences of Gram Vikas

“Our village is better than the town. We have 24*7 piped water supply to all families, without exception. Every family has their own toilet and bathing room as well. When we seek marriage alliances, our daughters ask us – ‘ would there ...
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Livelihoods

NATURAL RESOURCE MANAGEMENT(NRM) AND FOOD SECURITY
Land, water and forests are the three most important resources for the people living in rural areas. Intensive work is carried out by Gram Vikas in enhancing food security and improving environmental resistance to drought through effective land, water and forest management practices. Communities recognize the fact that sustainability of natural resources will also determine food security and sustainable livelihoods for themselves.

Gram Vikas supports village communities in undertaking sustainable management of natural resources through a variety of interventions in promoting community forestry and horticulture, land and water conservation and development. Gram Vikas work in this sector is concentrated in the tribal dominated areas of Ganjam, Gajapati and Kalahandi districts.

To reduce vulnerability of rural communities, Gram Vikas encourages villagers to enhance their income sources through alternative livelihoods such as fish farming, horticulture and livestock development. Gram Vikas facilitates village communities in sustainable natural resource management through community forestry, horticulture, land development and water conservation through the medium of self-help groups and small community businesses.

Natural Resource Management and Food Security
Livelihoods

 

 

NATURAL RESOURCE MANAGEMENT AND FOOD SECURITY
The main sectors of intervention include soil and moisture conservation and development of land, water and forest resources. Watershed management and drought proofing of villages contributes to enhancing the resilience of livelihoods to changing climate patterns.

Community Social Forestry
Integrated Watershed Development
Horticulture and Agriculture Development
Livestock Development


 

Community Social Forestry
Social Forestry is an environmentally friendly method of forest management that involves the local community and recognizes an individual’s right to forest resources. Gram Vikas has been actively involved in the past in promoting social forestry that supports sustainable livelihoods by providing community members with the right to farm previously unproductive wasteland. Communities have been motivated to regenerate common and private wastelands by growing trees for fuel, fruit, fodder and timber and also by developing horticulture patches. These community forests and horticultural plots enhance the green cover, raise the collective income of the village and also contribute to a strong sense of community.

Each village has been encouraged to earmark 2 acres of community plantation towards ensuring sustainability of their education programme. Links have been established with appropriate government departments for procurement of seeds and saplings.

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Integrated Watershed Development
Horticulture and Agriculture Development
Livestock Development

 

Integrated Watershed Development
The aim of watershed intervention is to raise the water table in specific regions, protect land from soil erosion, improve the soil’s ability to absorb rainwater, and improve vegetative growth and agricultural productivity. Several land development mechanisms are adopted by Gram Vikas to transform barren land to sustain certain crops and trees. Ponds have been excavated to harvest rainwater allowing the land to regenerate further enhancing livelihood potential.

Since 2002, government-run watershed programs have recognized Gram Vikas as the Project Implementing Agency (PIA) for watershed projects in Bongamunda block, in the drought affected district of Bolangir. In this block Gram Vikas is implementing 20 micro watershed projects under four government-run programs and will affect 9866 hectares of land and 49 habitations. 7,306 households with a population of 35,193 are involved. The funds are directed through the District Rural Development Agency (DRDA) in Bolangir.

Under the entry point activity provision watershed villages are motivated to construct, manage and maintain community-based water and sanitation programmes with 100 percent community coverage. This process of achieving total inclusion creates a democratic platform for other development activities to begin.

Gram Vikas is also a PIA for the government-funded Orissa Tribal Empowerment and Livelihood Programme (OTELP) in Thuamul Rampur block, Kalahandi District, covering 12 watersheds and 39 habitations with a population of 6,509. Additionally, Gram Vikas undertakes watershed work in the tribal pockets of Ganjam, Gajapati and Kalahandi districts to enhance natural resources and to demonstrate best practices to be employed in communities that traditionally engage in unsustainable slash and burn cultivation methods.

In areas affected by government watershed programmes, Gram Vikas assists communities in establishing Watershed Committees (WCs) and local community groups to manage watershed activities and mobilise the community. Forest committees are formed under the Joint Forest Management Programme (JFMP) of the government to protect and manage the forestlands. To date, 33 watershed societies and 16 forest committees have been formed.
Community participation is ensured at all stages of watershed development work and WCs are responsible for implementing the work as per the plan. Villagers also contribute a portion of their wages to the Watershed Development Funds (WDF). The purpose of the WDF is to create a community fund to pay the maintenance costs of the watershed work and for future development activities.

In addition to the government financed watershed projects, Gram Vikas is also developing micro-watersheds across seven villages covering 800 hectares in Thuamul Rampur block of Kalahandi district. Work in these villages began in 2002.

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Community Social Forestry
Horticulture and Agriculture Development
Livestock Development

 

Horticulture and Agricultural Development
Gram Vikas assists tribal communities in the development of agricultural land, reducing their dependence on slash and burn agriculture. Plants that suit specific soil conditions are chosen for cultivation. The cultivation of cashew, pineapple, mango, jackfruit and vegetables are promoted and supported through field training, credit support and seed distribution. Horticulture has enabled families to have a steady source of income as compared to the unreliable income that comes from shifting cultivation on degraded lands.

A project is being proposed through financial assistance from NABARD to improve the quality of life of tribal families through the wadi- a small orchard, approach. The proposed project will be implemented in the Jagannath Prasad Block of Ganjam district.in Odisha,
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Community Social Forestry
Integrated Watershed Development
Livestock Development

 

 

Livestock Development
Gram Vikas enables villagers to access improved varieties of livestock. Villagers are trained in improved methods of constructing livestock shelters and stall feedings. Additionally, Gram Vikas provides practical training in animal husbandry practices and appropriate vaccination procedures. A key intervention has been to motivate people to insure their animals, which Gram Vikas facilitates by acting as a liaison with insurance companies.

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Community Social Forestry
Integrated Watershed Development
Horticulture and Agriculture Development

 

LIVELIHOODS
Gram Vikas focuses on livelihood diversification for enhancing livelihood security through skill development, training and strengthening Self Help Groups to access sources of finance and avenues for marketing.

Skill Development and Training
Promotion of Self-help Groups
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Skill Development and Training
Gram Vikas conduct training in five main areas, all of which are important to the construction industry, namely masonry, plumbing, bar-bending, stone dressing and painting. The overall aim of the training programmes are to improve livelihood opportunities for the Base of the Pyramid (BoP) population; specifically younger men and women with no formal skills or qualifications, by enabling them to develop skills that can be utilised for industries/ markets within and outside of rural areas.

Often, livelihood activities focus on the non-vulnerable or less-vulnerable poor, who possess a small degree of entrepreneurial and/or risk-taking ability. Hence, the tier above the Base of the Pyramid (BoP) is reached, but not the actual base.

The BoP population in orissa accounts 40-50% of the total population, who are generally characterised by the following features :
• They are landless
• Their main source of income comes from daily wage labour
• They possess an engrained attitude that they are unable to do any other kind of work.
• Even when offered training with a daily stipend equal to the daily wage, many consider themselves unfit to
become masons or other skilled labourers.

In India, lack of skilled labourers in the construction industry is a problem. Therefore, this is an area of intervention where the actual BoP population can be targeted, and helped to achieve a more sustainable and secure livelihood.

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Promotion of Self-help Groups

 

 

Promotion of Self-help Groups
Gram Vikas supports the formation and strengthening of Self-Help Groups (SHG). These groups can collectively accrue savings to fund income-generating activities such as agriculture, livestock rearing, fish farming and horticulture. A typical SHG is comprised of 10 to 15 members of the community who agree to deposit monthly savings into a fund, a portion of which can eventually be borrowed to fund community businesses.

To support SHGs Gram Vikas provides basic record keeping and financial training and encourages the group to undertake income-generating activities. When the group gains the ability and confidence required to successfully manage their funds, they are linked to local banks. By linking them to local banks they are able to access external funds and government loans.

Although SHGs are not restricted to beingexclusively for women, although majority of them are women's groups. The groups provide a social space for women to discuss common concerns in addition to wider issues. Additionally, this space enables women to develop the confidence that they need to speak out even when men are present. In a village council meeting, this allows women to play a greater role in the decision-making process.

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Skill Development and Training

 

 

“WADI” in Rudhapadar
The project is being proposed to improve the quality of life of tribal families through integrated Natural Resource Management based “wadi” (a small orchard) approach. The proposed project will be implemented in Jagannath Prasad Block of Ganjam district. Ganjam district is situated in the South Eastern part of Orissa. Under the project it is proposed to cover about 690 families with development of 1.00 acre wadi for 534 families, spread over 24 villages of Jagannath Prasad block of Ganjam district. Another 156 families, who do not come under the wadi, would be involved in income generating activities through bee keeping, goattery, poultry and training them as mason for a sustainable income. The total of 690 families would be developed over a period of 6 years, with each wadi receiving support for 5 years.

The area is inhabited by poor tribal and other backward communities living in forest fringes. These communities eke out their living through a combination of several marginal activities, which include traditional agriculture, cutting and selling fuel wood, daily wage earner and collection of non-timber forest produces. Although the area receives high rainfall (normal annual rainfall is 1500mm), due to its erratic nature and improper distribution, income on farming is highly uncertain. This discourages people to go for intensive land husbandry rather they fall back upon forest to meet any deficit/emergencies they face. This is at the core of poorly developed farming system and prime reason for degradation of natural resources in the villages. The situation needs an integrated approach, which will include helping the people to discover their own unexplored capabilities and realize the potentials of their own under -utilized resources. Simultaneously, it would build their awareness about the local environment and its linkages with sustainable livelihoods.

The proposed project would follow an integrated approach and implementation by Gram Vikas will have three major components consisting of three major sets of activities:

  • First component would address capability building of local communities, which would ensure the participation of each family in the programme. Gradually these groups would be taken through intensive training and exposure on improved NRM practices and environmental restoration.
  • Second component would cover developing 1 acre farm land of each tribal family into an orchard, which would be based on an integrated farming system approach that includes horticulture and forestry with intensive cultivation of suitable intercrops for food and cash income. It would take the family as a unit and build on the resources that the family possesses. The approach would ultimately lead to increased agricultural production; augment food supply, fodder, fuel, timber to these households. It would as well ensure improvement of local environment through better water resource development and biomass production.
  • Third component will emphasis on empowerment of women through creating awareness around community health and broader well being of the community; on landless through creating employment opportunities through skill building.

The implementing is would be consist of three field supervisors and one programme coordinator. One agriculture specialist and one soil and water management specialist will assist the project during the implementation.