REVISITING CAPACITY BUILDING SUPPORT – EMPOWERING RURAL COMMUNITIES
ARANYA strives for the empowerment of the rural communities with special focus on women , farmers and youth as the target groups in the remote tribal communities of Adilabad District. Several of its projects like TDF project, Watershed Development Program, ,NEAC programme ,APCBTMP, A PILIP,DWMA ,Samisti,UNICEF program , have been implemented working for empowerment of rural communities for sustainable development.
ARANYA focuses on understanding the obstacles that inhibit local farming communities from realizing their developmental goals while enhancing the abilities that will allow them to achieve measurable and sustainable results.
Aranya undertakes Capacity building activities for farmers on sustainable agricultural and permacultural practices through several awareness programmes, trainings, result and method demonstrations, exposure visits,field schools and required hand holding support under the purview of several operational projects. Capacity building activities are undertaken with focus on areas of Natural Ecological Farming in tribal hamlets,Vegetable gardens (Gangamma Mandala),Tree Based Farming in tribal farmers lands,Dry land/Rain fed agriculture,Irrigated Agriculture Development ( Command Areas), Bio-Diversity conservation,System of Rice Intensification-SRI,Compost making( Vermicompost and others),Promoting integrated systems (pisiculture, diary, poultry),climate change mitigation etc.
ARANYA post inception in 1999 at entry point launched Thrift and Credit Programme. With the participation of about 2,500 women from lower strata of society, federated them into various groups , succeeded in the formation of 3 large groups under Mutually Aided Cooperative Societies’ Act (MACS Act) which later become legal entities. These groups have forged links with the bankers in the area and acquired good reputation. As later they acquired the abilities to manage their own affairs ARANYA has withdrawn after the linkages were well established with various government institutions.
WOMEN AND RIGHTS
In addition to organizing them into groups, ARANYA empowered them with additional inputs in the areas of legal awareness and Women Rights especially on the reproductive rights. Workshops were held to sensitise them on Gender discrimination, equal wages, etc. Legal committees formed to solve the women problems in the villages with the help of Local police and some of them were referred to family counselling centres to prevent the domestic violence.
WOMEN AND AGRICULTURE
The success of the credit schemes launched by the groups inspired them to undertake many sustainable agricultural activities. As a result the programme has been expanded to integrate Women’s empowerment and sustainable agriculture projects in remote rural areas, with the main focus on women, poor small and marginal farmers in the region which lies in the semi-arid Deccan plateau, with laterite dry lands; the major portion of these lands are severely eroded and drought-prone. To check the erosion of lands ARANYA has linked the Women groups with Food for work Programme supported by the district administration. SHGs’ women were greatly benefited by this programme. They developed their fallow lands under the scheme by undertaking soil moisture conservation works , 150 women got benefited by this activity and work was carried in 262 acres. The activity helped them in getting employment and checking the erosion of the lands.
ARANYA Agricultural alternatives has already established an 11.5-acre Sustainable subsistence model/functional organic (demonstration) farm near Bidakanne village, Jharasangam mandal, and Medal district, also at Zaheerabad where training sessions are conducted periodically. The centre is equipped with basic infrastructure to meet training needs. Also few mandals of Adilabad under projects implementing area of APLIP and others like Dhani and Jam villages of Sarangapoor mandal have been enabled as development centers for Permatraining centers in unit areas to be covered under NATECO and inter related projects.The eventual aim is to provide knowledge based resources to small & marginal, especially dry land farmers for continuation of subsistence farming and conducting need-based training activities. It is serving large number of people’s needs, most of the theories explained are practiced on the farm attached to the training centers with also nursery development and plantations of useful ethno botanical plants. This has helped the farming community to a maximum level as the same principles are hitherto replicated in the small and marginal farms while implementing different farm based projects in the rural and tribal areas under Aranya’s operational purview.
PARA WORKERS FOR ANIMAL HEALTH
On ARANYA’s suggestion to fill the gap of lack of animal health services, farmers selected Para workers who later were trained by the Veterinary Doctors for 45 days on Primary Animal Health Problems. Para workers now have been providing services to the farmers at their door steps acting as a liaison person between the department of Animal Husbandry (AH Department) and the village farmers. There is good coordination achieved between the farmers and the AH Department as the Para workers are working as a link between both of them.