Micro Interventions for CBNRM
These are some of the efforts of GRASP towards mobilising the rural communities for their own development. These endeavours include rainwater harvesting, rural energy, mobilising entitlements from the state administration, to name a few.
Micro-catchment treatment for drinking water:
In village Ranjangaon, one of the villages under SLVP, drinking water scarcity was acute due to consecutive years of drought and the women had to travel long distances to fetch water. We discussed with them the reasons for the scarcity and the possibility of rainwater harvesting and recharge. The villagers contemplated the option of recharging their traditional source, an open well. We gave them a small contribution (mobilised from a well wisher, Mr AnanthaNageswaran of Singapore) to execute their idea of recharging their drinking water well. They mobilised additional resources in cash and kind from the village.
During the 2003 monsoon, the well got ample quantity of water, which lasted till the following mid-summer in spite of scanty rainfall. The success motivated them to take up more rainwater harvesting and water conservation activities in their village. We used this example to motivate other villages, facilitating their interaction with Ranjangaon villagers, and exposure trips. Taking the cue, the communities from 8 other villages built nearly 20 small rainwater harvesting structures by shramadan (voluntary labour), and using local material.
Firewood for cooking and heating is a constraint in drought prone areas. In Boltek and SitanaikTanda watershed projects, we promoted energy plantation on wastelands. Yet, the women had to spend considerable time on fetching firewood until the plantation became productive. In order to save on fuel, we familiarised the women on use of pressure cooker. Mr Ram Bhogle of Nirlep Industries, Aurangabad extended a helping hand by supplying modern pressure cookers at ex-factory price. The women took loans from their SHGs to buy these cookers at a discounted price. Since the level of savings in their SHGs was low, GRASP provided interest-free loans to the SHGs under Indo-German Watershed Project. As a result, all women could get the opportunity to save on their firewood costs.
Micro-enterprise through Women's SHG:
Mrs. Hausabai Telure, a Dalit woman is a member of “BhimGarjana SHG” supported by GRASP under its PACS project. A wage earner getting Rs 20-25 per day from public works or agriculture labour, actively participated in her SHG activities. Like other women, she got confidence and motivation from capacity building efforts like SHG training, Panchayat Raj training, etc. In her pursuit to find a way of getting out of clutches of moneylender, she took a loan of Rs 1,500 from the SHG and started cultivating vegetables at a small scale some two years ago. Initially she started selling it in her village and nearby villages. From her earnings she repaid the SHG loan and also the loan of a moneylender. Now, she has expanded the business and attends nearby weekly haats with relatively large quantity and variety of vegetables. Thus, she now earns over Rs 50 per day as a profit out of the business.
Seeking Entitlements from the State:
Mrs Rukhmanbai Prabhakar Sotam, the then Sarpanch of village Kanhori in Fulambri Block, is a member of Kalikamata SHG under SLVP. She was trained on SHG management and Panchayat Raj. She also participated in a function of women's political day celebration in Delhi . After having trained and exposed to larger world, she realised the significance of organising women and her right as a gramsabha member and a sarpach. She began to look after the panchayat and village matters, which she rarely involved in the past. Few months later a tragic incident occurred in the village when a pregnant woman died on the way to hospital in Phulambri, because of bad condition of the approach road. Rukhmanbai immediately got into action and organised all women and men folks and led the Dharana on the road at the block headquarter. She took the mob to concerned government office and demanded a pucca road urgently. Due her leadership, never seen in the past, the village now has good approach road, and it was an issue of admiration for all in the cluster.
Mrs. Mandabai Mahadu Dudhe, a panchayat member actively participated in all the activities carried out in her village by the NGO under ‘stree-shakti lok-shakti vikas project (under PACS). She underwent panchayat raj training organised by the NGO. Since she became aware of her rights and duties, she started participating regularly in panchayat meetings, gramsabhas. Never before, she strongly advocated the importance of sanitation work in those meetings. She also happens to be the member of VEC. As member of VEC, due to NGOs intervention, she also participated in the committee's meetings and raised the issue of approving one more teacher for the school. Earlier there was only one teacher for four classes. She convinced her point to other members and enabled them to make a resolution and put a demand before concerned department. As a result of her initiative and persuasion now the school has two teachers, which obviously helped in enhancing quality education for the children in her village.