- The major thematic coverage is promotion of
- Micro credits and improves savings among women farmers by developing the
- Soil and water conservation including stream
- Reduce Women drudgery and
- Promotion of Natural Resources and its
- Convergence of Government
- Climate Change
- Strengthen of community based organizations (CBOs) in
- Promotion of Model Village Development
- Promotion of Drinking water and
- Promotion of Health and Hygiene facilities in the
- Entrepreneurship, Skill and
IMPACT EVALUATION AND ASSESSMENT REPORT
The project has been based on extensive research of the implemented area with an adequate amount of literature review about the history, people’s lives before the construction of the dam and how this developmental activity has affected them socially and economically. The current needs of the area, too, were established through a Baseline Survey with complete involvement and co-operation of the community. The activities implemented within the project are very much need based and have been designed keeping the local geography, resources and conditions under consideration. All conditions like man- animal conflict, geographical conditions, weather, soil type, land quality, socio economic status, caste, amount of land, individual skill etc. is taken into consideration. This shows the level of involvement with the community and flexibility and adaptation in the given activities to customize it according to every beneficiaries need. For e.g.: people who have less agricultural land or are landless are made beneficiaries of activities that promote alternate means of livelihood such as Cattle rearing, poultry etc. since these are low risk ventures and give double returns.
Getting into the Community:
All the activities have been designed using information and knowledge of the local population to understand their geography and the community is made involved in every step of the project and its decision making process. The members of the team responsible for community outreach have also been chosen from the community hence providing employment opportunity to the local people. Engaging local population for outreach will also ensure convincing other community member’s participation in the project activities as it increases a sense of trust. According to the team, ‘gathering people to be a part of the activities was a difficult process for the first two years. But slowly and gradually, due to ours approach, which is we do not want to be leaders but companions and guides to them, they understood these activities will help them and now we have complete cooperation and involvement of the community’.
Interactions with the several community members indicated that they are very happy with the work being done by implementing agency and believe that this could lead to the overall development of their villages.
Farmer Self-Help Groups:
There are as many as 50 Farmer Self-Help Groups as per implementing agency including all villages that come under the implemented area with 684 members. According to the team 649 of them are women and 35 of them are men. There are various activities implemented through these FSHGs such as Exposure visits to agricultural demonstration plots, distribution of seeds to groups and encouraging community farming, goat rearing and bee keeping. The formation of these FSHGs is working really well and they have group meetings at least once in two months where feedback is shared and new decisions taken. These meetings are held at any of the member’s houses and the formation of these along with its associated activities will help community cohesiveness in the long run. It has also induced a habit of saving in the community members and through these groups they are learning money management along with all the training and awareness that comes with it. The pass books are used as a monitoring tool to check the success of the FSHGs. As per their records mentioned by implementing agency, between the 50 SHGs they have a cumulative saving of Rs. xxxxx However, the verification of record needs to be done by ABC/ independent agency pertaining to the savings and revolving funds for last three years.
The activities under the project are all currently pilot projects which are being tried and tested in the area to see what works and what needs remodeling. Hence, willing participants are made part of the program, individuals who are open to new ideas. Also, beneficiaries are selected by local authorities and community members leaving no scope for ill feelings between community members about either receiving or not receiving benefits from the project. Also, the activities and the team of the implementing agency is highly flexible in terms of acceptance to change and suggestions and open to remodeling or redesigning their activities as and when required. The activities and the team are not rigid, which is a necessary requirement while introducing new and untested interventions within an area. Flexibility in work strategy increases effectiveness. Close watch on all activities and effective monitoring allows for flexibility and change of strategy as and when required to keep the scales of the input output ratio balanced. If something does not work, they are open enough to scrape off the activity. For eg. Bee Keeping was tried with a few community members along with providing them training but the activity was a failure and hence was discontinued.
As per the information provided by the implementation agency proper documentation is maintained by the implementing agency and there is complete transparency in process and execution. The documentation is made available to all the community members including beneficiary names, benefits received by each beneficiary, finances etc. Monitoring is two- fold and is done at the level of XYZ as well as ABC through regular and timey site visits by ABC officials. The project monitoring team checked documents like pass books of the SHGs and documents indicating each beneficiaries detail and the benefit received by them through implementing agency.
Synergy between Partner Agencies:
There is synchronization between the ABC and the implementing agency and decisions are made in collaboration with both parties together. Continuation or discontinuation of an activity is jointly decided based on the success of a programme and the information is then passed on to the ABC office where the final decisions are taken. It was observed that there is clarity of roles in both parties and no overlap of roles or ideas was observed.
Presence of ABC:
The presence of XYZ and ABC is very high in all the project area villages. The community members are well aware about the presence of both the bodies and their respective roles. Given that one of the objectives of CSR is also to promote goodwill of the company amongst community members, knowledge of their existence and their work within the community is a very good sign. More efforts like hoardings, sign boards and wall writings etc can be undertaken to generate more awareness regarding the various activities being implemented by ABC. Also, knowledge of the community members about the presence and work of the implementing agency suggests the reach of the implementing agency which is one of the biggest markers of the success of their project.
Involvement of community is optimum and they are made part of the decision making process which is laudable since it takes care of their needs and not imposition of the implementing agencies ideas and also induces a sense of ownership for what’s given to them: tangible or intangible in the form of knowledge and training. Eg: Short-term income: vegetables (increased income): Success story: Rs. XXXX income from one crop: Vegetable cultivation is a major success because of land quality soil fertility weather and geographical conditions. Land supports vegetables really well.
The coming together of projects and the overlap or inter relationship between the projects is well established eg. Polyhouse, vermi compost etc. All factors related to agriculture and its advancement has been taken under consideration and remodelling of old traditional methods if they are good for the land have been executed in more scientific methods to get maximum results.
The project being well researched and being handled by experts from the field maximizes likelihood of its success since there is constant watch of an expert on the project. Scope of the project is to produce model villages which can be used for development in other regions. Given that there is an involvement and constant invigilation by subject experts, the activities showcase a perfect blend of field knowledge + theory + need of the community and can be said to be a perfect example of bringing lab to land that is putting theory and knowledge into real-time execution. For Ex. Napier grass is introduced in the villages since it is a high protein grass and it grows easily. It has a soft stem that is easy to cut. It has deep roots, so is fairly drought resistant. The tender, young leaves and stems are very palatable for livestock and grows very fast. It also holds the land and saves land from soil erosion.
One of the major plus points of this project is their idea of providing funds to individuals or groups in the form of revolving funds. They provide funds to the beneficiaries at zero percentage interest, the principal amount that the beneficiary has to return in due time. Also, the beneficiaries need to put in a share of their own money. This mechanism ensures that the community has a value for the benefits received by them since they are not provided free of cost and also it increases a sense of ownership within the beneficiaries establishing increased sincerity on their part enhancing the likelihood of success of the activity as a whole. Also, it prevents the community members from becoming dependent on the implementing agency. However, the verification of record needs to be done by ABC/ independent agency pertaining to the savings and revolving funds for last three years.
The activities are not restricted to the ones proposed in the proposal but interventions are made as and when observed a need for by the team members and based on the conversations with the villagers. For e.g. it was observed that there is a heavy loss of crops due to man-animal conflict and so the cropping pattern was changed. The villagers suggested growing exotic spices such as Marjoram, oregano and sez which are less likely to be harmed by monkeys and pigs. Most houses in XXXX gaon, now, grow these spices which are yielding better results financially apart from them not getting destroyed by animals. The presence of experts here helps in a way that they understand that the growing of these spices reduces fertility of the land and also the market for these is fairly limited which could result in major losses if proper market linkages are not developed. And, hence, the team of implementing agency is helping promote farming of other crops such as haldi and encouraging villagers to grow oregano ‘in addition to’ and not ‘instead of’ other crops. This illustrates that the team promotes ideas by the community in terms of guidance and provision of complete support and also understand repercussions of certain activities and tries to make amends without causing any financial or otherwise, harm to the community members.
According to the implementing team there has been a 30% increase in the livelihood of the beneficiaries of their project.
Given the implementing agency is involving local population, for the most part for the ground level execution and implementation of the project, the project has a high scope of holding out to be sustainable. The community mobilizers are being trained in the area of project execution and management so that the implementing agency can slowly and gradually ease themselves out of the area without the fear of the learning’s of the community being lost. The training to farmers and other community members will also ensure that the impact of the project on the community will be sustained for years to come. Also, since the implemented area was researched, the activities have successfully managed to merge the natural resources of the geographical area (like flora, fauna and herbs etc.) to the livelihood of people. This, too, shall affect the likelihood of sustainability of the project.
Issues faced during Implementation:
Some of the issues that are faced by the implementing agency as they implement the project in this area are:
- Convergence with Government Schemes
- Sudden and Unpredictable Climate change
- Government policies are found to be not pro people
- Lack of grassroots research and findings
- Inadequate panchayat representation
- Human wildlife conflict affecting productivity of farmers.