Livelihood Improvements: Livelihood is the most important subject in rural India, particularly with landless, marginal and small farmers. There are few livelihood opportunities for the vulnerable sections of the society due to great imbalance between villages and the cities on development. Rural areas lack technology and market access. Demand side is greater than the supply one. Due to subsistence nature of hill agriculture, surplus did not come for market, hence the market expansion and job opportunities shrinked in agriculture and allied sectors. To address this problem hETONA provided intermediary services to 1) Diversified agriculture support Project (DASP) and 2) Livelihood Improvements Project for Himalayas.
(a) Diversified Agriculture support Project: HETONA provided intermediary social services to this WB aided project in Dunda block of Uttarkashi. The traditional farming and cropping pattern resulted into the stagnation in the agricultural growth in Dunda block. So the main objective of the project was to transform the traditional farming pattern into scientific and organic through reducing the cost with appropriate land use and increase the yield by
promoting IPNM, IPM and bio-fertilizers. HETONA supported the project with its expertise in 20 Gram Panchayats and formed 43 self help groups mostly of women to implement the project, as women are vehicle of new technologies to take into the agricultural fields.
Soil testing was also an integral part of this project and below the women members of SHG taking field training hot to collect soil samples?
A number of demonstrations on diversification were undertaken some of which can be seen below:
(b) Livelihood improvements project for Himalayas (LIPH): The primary objective of the project is to improve the livelihoods of vulnerable groups sustainably by promoting greater livelihood opportunities and strengthening the local institutions concerned with livelihood developments.
Specific objectives are to promote a more sensitive approach to the design and implementation of development interventions, enhance the capabilities of local people to select appropriate livelihood opportunities, access required financial resources and to manage new technologies and institutions at the village level. Increase incomes through more sustainable income generating cultivation system and establishment of non-farm enterprises and the micro and small scale level and establish effective and appropriate delivery system for inputs and for the maintenance of assets and resources with emphasis on micro finance, savings and thrift, and micro insurance products along with access to business development services that will link households-based livelihood activities with the larger economy.
An IFAD sponsored project, we have reached in agreement with DMU for 25 villages in two clusters; Geonla and Pipli of Dunda block. And followings were the project components:
- Empowerment and capacity building of communities i.e. to build community based organization capable of making informed choices and planning and managing livelihood activities in a micro-enterprise mode.
- Livelihood enhancement and development i.e. to include the choice of various livelihood interventions viz agriculture, horticulture, forestry, eco-tourism and marketing of products based on the needs of the beneficiary group.
- Livelihood support system; nearly two thirds of the project’s investment are in livelihood support system that will leverage substantial amounts of financing from domestic financial institutions. Within the above frameworks the project will offer the rural finance services mainly by mobilizing the SHGs. The project through a social venture capital company with broad based capability of promoting business development will also provide equity/near equity funding to the companies, mutually aided cooperative societies and individual interested in establishing enterprises related to backward and forward linkages.
74 SHGs were formed in 25 villages, which did a total savings over 10 lakhs and of them two cooperatives were formed with a capital of around 16 lakhs. Both cooperatives undertook the business of backward-forward linkages
like supply of seeds and sale of agricultural and horticultural produce to the markets. They also established inlet-outlet centres, where local produce like pulses, coarse grains, plastic materials and agricultural implements.
SHGs have undertaken a lot of demonstrations of vegetables, produced organic manure mostly vermin-compost and five villages were developed as organic one. Following pictures shows the livelihood activities: Below villagers discussing their livelihood opportunity in group meetings:
(c) Swayamsidha: A project on women empowerment, drudgery reduction, skill development and income generation was started with financial support from GOI and GOU. The project name envisages as swayamsidha which means to prove them socially, economically and politically. We as a support organisation worked in Purola block of district Uttarkashi. 100 women SHGs of 1064 members have been formed. A number of empowerment measures including capacity building trainings not only on skill and income generation but also on self-confidence, self esteem, decision making and resistance of violence including domestic one, and exposures were undertaken. They also started celebrating women’s day and asserted their identity as a self-reliance woman as the following photographs show: