Training on Watershed management and Organic agriculture in IIRD (30th June to 2nd July)

Keeping in mind the scarcity of rain for this year and need of awareness, IIRD had facilitated three days training program on watershed management for the District Sustainable Livelihood Facilitator (DSLFs), village water volunteers (Panisevaks/sevikas) from IIRD and partner organizations from other five districts. The training was scheduled on 30th June to 2nd July.

Through participatory learning and with the help of live practices, the participants enjoyed the training and learned various techniques of watershed management.

First Day, after the Inauguration function, workshop on people’s participation and their role in water management and water budget was held.

On the Second Day, the topics covered include the definition of watershed, its concept and need, practical demonstration of Dumpy level, responsibility of village water volunteers (Panisevak/sevika), types of soil erosion and control measures, net planning was discussed with equal participation.

On the Third Day, the discussions were on organic agriculture, principles and aims of organic agriculture, and Local Standards on Organic Agriculture.

Training ended with the feedback session followed by valedictory function.

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Phad Irrigation – a joint effort by the people of Jamwadi village, IIRD, and Dilasa (18th June 2014)

The PaaniSevikas of Jalna – Sharda, Aruna, and Kavita – spotted the possibility of Phad irrigation in Jamwadi village. The Phad system was introduced to PaaniSevikas and some farmer representatives from the exposure trips to Yavatmal where they had seen the structures done by the villages there with the support of Dilasa. Along with the farmers in the selected area, the land survey was conducted and the Phad irrigation system was completed by mid-June. Now, they eagerly wait for the rains that would fill the check dam and then irrigate their farms without the use of any external energy but only through gravity.

Due to this Phad system, nearly 150 acres of land will be under irrigation. About 20 farmers will benefit through this initiative facilitated by IIRD and technical advice of Dilasa. Now, they are also planning for another a “Doh system” alongside the Phad for recharge of underground water.

Jalna-Phud

 

Joy Daniel, the Executive Director of IIRD,on a monitoring visit to the location of Phad on 18th June 2014.

 

World Environment Day Celebration by IIRD in villages in the month of June 2014

On 5th June 2014, IIRD celebrated the world environment day along with the small farmers of Aurangabad district. Farmers meetings were organized by the field workers in different villages. At least, two to three staff from IIRD participated in each of the village programmes. They initially discussed regarding the environment day, its importance and need for the celebration. Then they asked the farmers to form an environment committee in their respective villages, which will help their own village to grow towards environment protection.

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Visit to Abhivyakti Media for Development on 16th April 2014.

Joy Daniel and Dattatraya Deshpande visited Abhivyakti Media for Development organization in Nasik media for one day training. The training was about effective management of accounts in accordance with the norms of European donor organizations and the recent regulatory requirement of the country. Besides, the good governance standards were also reinforced during this training and capacity building initiative.

Founders Day and the events that unfolded during the last two months.

Our focus remains on water after the recent drought that has led to steep decline in the incomes of the farmers thereby affecting the livelihoods of the old and marginalized persons in particular. During the last 3 months, we conducted three exposure visits for our staff and farmers to learn about traditional water conservation/ management methods. The trips were to Jalna and Yavatmal districts of the north eastern part of Maharashtra. We hope that with these visits and the contacts made, we will be able to introduce traditional and appropriate water conservation/ management methods that would increase the water availability for the farmers in the region.

Also during this month, we re-started the course on beauty care. A new lady staff has joined the organization to conduct this course. This will be a 3 month course that will specifically build skills of rural women on bridal make-up. The trained young women will be able to gain some additional incomes during the wedding “season” generally from October to February.

In February-March, we also trained 30 women on fashion design and dress making. This was an intensive 5-week course to impart fashion design skills to those who have basic tailoring skills.

Last week, we distributed groceries to 205 elderly destitute women. As usual, the community members donated grains from their harvest. With the support of a volunteer doctor, we were also able to conduct a health camp and distribute free medicines to those who required. This was of great benefit to many as the nearest doctor is sometimes 15 kms away and very difficult to access with the lack of public transportation.

On the 12th and 13th of April , we had a prominent guest in our organization – Dr. Rajendra Singh ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rajendra_Singh ). He is known as the waterman of India who has turned the deserts of Rajasthan to forests. He held discussions with our farmers, staff and volunteers on water conservation/ management techniques. Below are few pictures of his visit and our exposure visits.

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A section of the crowd listening to Dr. Rajendra Singh

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The maps of the villages selected for water conservation/ management is presented to Dr. Rajendra Singh

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Dr. Rajendra Singh admires the diverse seeds conserved by the local communities and exhibited at the IIRD campus in Bidkin

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Dr. Rajendra Singh, known as the waterman of India and the recipient of Magsaysay award interacting with staff and some guests on the water conservation/ management plans in the villages of Aurangabad.

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A farmer member of the Water Management Group in Dhangarwadi village of Yavatmal district (in Maharashtra state) explaining to the staff and Paani sevaks/ Sevikas of IIRD on the management of water that is conserved using the traditional phad and doh methods.

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Paani Sevaks / Sevikas (water volunteers) at an exposure visit in Jalna district to learn about the benefits of countour trenches in water conservation/ management.

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Dr. Rajendra Singh, known as the waterman of India and the recipient of the Ramon Magasaysay award, interacts with staff and field level volunteers of IIRD on water conservation/ management methods.

Water Management Classroom training for Panisevikas and DSLFs

Water Management Classroom training for Panisevikas and DSLFs

As part of the Water Management Project, IIRD facilitated a two day training on February 6th and 7th, 2014 for the DSLFs and Panisevaks/sevikas from IIRD and partner organizations of the other districts. This training is part of the many trainings to come in the future intended to build a team in the organization that has the knowledge and expertise to implement water management projects in the Villages.
The training started with a welcome speech by the program Manager, Bhaskar Padul and a welcome song by our field workers. The participants took the organic pledge after which the President, Evelyn Daniel, spoke about the importance of water conservation. SAO(Subdivisional Agriculture Office) was invited for the inauguration of the program but he could not make it because of other official commitments. Technical sessions followed participant introductions. Following topics were covered in the technical sessions : Participatory Rural Appraisal(PRA), Watershed Concept, Role and Responsibility of Pani Sevika and Pani samiti in water management, Reporting requirements of the Project, Methods of surveying watershed, Role of SHG’s,UGs in watershed Project, Orientation on Format for DPR, Watershed structures and Action plan at the village and District levels. The technical sessions on the Water management were facilitated by Arvind Yellam, Reporting requirements by Veena Pai, Participatory Rural Appraisal by Navnath Dhakane and SHGs by Bhaskar Padul. On day 1, the participants were divided into groups districtwise to come up with an action plan for the project for the next two months. The class room sessions ended in the morning on day 2 and the groups worked on the action plan during the afternoon session. The action plan was presented by the respective teams and suggestions provided by the core team. A test on the topics covered on day 1 was held for all the participants and the participation was evaluated.

Women-led Producer Company for Fairer Rural Incomes

Alexander Mahagreen Producer Company (called “Mahagreen” in short), a farmer-owned company led by women-farmers, was established on 11th March 2011. This company spearheaded by small and marginal  organic farmers works to ensure a sustainable environment and social justice among the small and marginal farmers of Marathwada region in Maharashtra through promotion of organic farm produce. The Mahagreen Producer Co. Is facilitated by Institute for Integrated Rural Development (IIRD) and together we work for the promotion of sustainable livelihoods through organic farming, so far ten thousands of small farmers in the region have been enabled to transform to organic farming practices.

The company is led by its Managing Director, Ms. Chandrakalabai Bobade, seemingly a typical woman of a rural village in Aurangabad district of Marathwada region. However, she is not typical when she gets down to her business of being the Managing Director of the Company. So are the other seven directors of the Company. Mahagreen has also recruited a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) to take care of the business and compliance matters. The business has been on the rise and so is the confidence among the directors and members.

The company is owned by the farmers and the products offered by Mahagreen are what the farmer shareholders or members produce. Produce of many small and marginal farmers, even value added food products using simple technologies, are many times combined, packaged, and sold under the label of Mahagreen. Currently, Mahagreen has about 1000 members representing farmers clubs in 50 villages. These farmers are actively engaged in the production of organic foods, organic farm inputs, and value added food produce mostly from small and marginal farms. Their products – particularly organic farm inputs – are sold to rural markets within their own and surrounding villages. The rural demands are mostly for farm inputs like vermi-compost, Cow Pat Peat (CPP), and biodynamic composts while there is also some demand for value added food produce. The food grains and some basic value added food produce has found markets in Aurangabad, Mumbai, Pune, Secunderabad, Chennai, Bangalore, Coimbatore, and Nilgiris. There has been regular demand from Pune for vegetables and food grains. Mahagreen believes in the principles of “small is beautiful” – small farms and small appropriate technologies for the empowerment of organic farmers.

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