Wadi : The Sustainable Livelihood Approach…
SSM initiated Swadhar – The Tribal Development Project aims to improve the quality and standard of life of poor tribal families through holistic development approach. The Wadi programme is spread in 17 villages covering 1000 tribal families in Kinwat and Mahur blocks of Nanded district with the help of NABARD, Pune.
1) Wadi – “Wadi” is a Gujrati word for orchard. The wadi programme has found appropriate to rehabilitate the poor communities and ensure their year round gainful employment. A typical model consists of establishing draught tolerant fruit crops such as Mango, Indian gooseberry, Cashew, tamarind and custard apple on marginal land covering half or one acre by the family. The inner space is used for cultivating arable crops grown by them earlier. Hardy shrubs and trees useful for fodder, fuel, timber and herbal medicines are established on the field bunds and borders while some thorny species are planted on the outer boundary the serve as live hedge- cum- windbreak.
A Wadi consists of 30 Mango and 30 Amla grafts in one acre of land and 400 forestry plants are planted around Wadi as live fencing. Graft species in Mango are Kesar & Dashehari and in Amla, Banarasi & Narendra 7 (N-7) are selected. Spacing between Mango grafts is 9 meters and Amla is 6 meters in 1 acre of land. Total 900 farming tribal families have been participated in the programme in three batches since 2010.
B. Water Resource Development – The wadi participant families are supported with watering resources such as Well Deepening in a group, Diesel Engine in a group, Electrical Motor, PVC Pipes, etc. All the 900 families are supported with a suitable option to them. This support is helping them watering wadi plants with regular intervals.
C. Soil Conservation – This activity plays an important role in soil and water conservation in wadi. We have done Farm Bund activity in all the 900 wadi participants.
2) Landless Family Development – Since 15-20% of the families in the operational areas are landless; special emphasis is given to support them through various interventions for better livelihood. We have supported 100 landless families to start their own business such as Dairy, Goatary, Black Smith and Tailoring.
3) Women Empowerment- Rural woman plays a significant role in managing the agricultural activities in addition to household responsibilities. They directly contribute to the family income. Therefore, women empowerment through capacity building, choosing appropriate technological interventions for reducing drudgery and enhancing the physical efficiency are proposed for sustainable development. A strong emphasis is placed on organizing women through the formation of Self Help Groups and building their capacities through training and exposure visits. The groups that already exist in the area are further trained to develop their capacities.
All the women from participant families have brought together through Self Help Movement. We are facilitating 65 SHGs in the area. The women were supported with a smokeless Chulha and a Pressure cooker to reduce their drudgery.
The SHGs and Wadi participant groups will have one cooperative at block level for sustainability of the program. A cooperative will be a registered organization of SHG members and wadi participants. The committee members will be elected. It will provide credit for SHGs and also take care of processing units, and marketing of the products. The cooperative will also help to form new SHGs and organize programs for capacity building of SHG members.
4) Community Health- As part of the holistic approach, the measures have taken to improve the quality of living of the tribal communities. The main emphasis is on health check-up camps and awareness in village level meetings. For nutrition improvement we use to promote kitchen gardens. The Community Health Programme is specifically focused on the women by dovetailing at with the Self Help Group activities taken up as part of the Women’s Development Programme.We promoted all the women in SHGs for kitchen Garden and supported the seed also. We also arrange specialized health check-up camps benefiting all the tribal families.
5) Training and Capacity Building – Under the present conditions, where poor families have not been taking active part in development, Human Resource Development (HRD) plays a vital role in social mobilization. HRD is required for field functionaries as well as beneficiaries involved in development. We arrange training programmes for farmers for various Wadi activities, women for SHG activities, health & leadership and landless families for skill up gradation.
Project design is based on a solid foundation of people’s participation and developing vibrant people’s organizations. There are four basic pillars for ensuring the sustainability.
- Developing ownership of the participants over project is the first key aspect. This will be done through involvement of locals’ right from designing the intervention micro plans, implementation to linkage with market and development organizations.
- The bond between participants and local organizations like KVK, NGOs and GOs is going to be developed during the implementation phase. This linkage will continue after the project period.
- The project design envisages the important aspect of post-harvest processing and marketing of the agro-horti products. This will ensure longer term association of the community with the market.
- The people’s organizations (POs) will be formed and empowered to take forward the development process initiated during project. Sustainability will be ensured through the linkage of POs with PRIs, line departments, agricultural universities and KVKs.
- The cadre of skilled field guides/technicians selected among the participants and trained in the programme technologies will work with POs during the project itself.
Thus, the empowered POs and cadre of field guides and their strong linkage with the resource organizations (KVKs, agricultural universities, Govt. departments, and companies for marketing the products) will ensure the community as well as the growth. Initially SSM will play role of facilitator and later entire responsibility will be given to the POs.
Most importantly, the self-esteem, technological capacity and socio-economic upliftment of the community included during the project will ensure bright future of the participants.