Natural Resource Management (NRM) and Food Security
Land, water and forests are the three most important resources for the people living in rural areas, especially the Tribals. Intensive work is carried out by Shakti in enhancing food security and improving environmental resistance to drought through effective land, water and forest management practices. Communities recognize the fact that sustainability of natural resources will also determine food security and sustainable livelihoods for themselves.
Shakti facilitates village communities in undertaking sustainable management of natural resources through a variety of interventions in promoting community forestry and horticulture, Agriculture land and water conservation and development. Shakti’s work in this sector is concentrated in the tribal dominated villages of Ramanaguda, Kashipur and K.Singpur Blocks of Rayagada district.
To reduce vulnerability of rural communities, Shakti encourages villagers to enhance their income sources through alternative livelihoods such as fish farming, horticulture and livestock development.
Forest is one of the major sources of livelihood of tribal people. So, in order to protect and promote the forest resource, Shakti raises the issue of forest management with the Forest Department of Government and the community. Shakti facilitated in motivation and formation of Vanya Sanrakhyan Samiti (VSS) – Village Forest Management Committee in its operational area. Under this programme, user (village communities) and the owner, Forest Dept. (Government), manage the resource and share the cost equally. We succeeded in promoting 112 VSSs in Kasipur, K.Singpur and Ramanaguda Block and all of them are successfully functioning and 18,900 Hectare Forest areas is under their protection.
Community Social Forestry
Social Forestry is an environmentally friendly method of forest management that involves the local community and recognizes an individual’s right to forest resources. Shakti has been actively involved in promoting social forestry by motivating for the regeneration of common and private wastelands by growing trees for fuel, fruit, fodder and timber and also by developing horticulture patches. These community forests and horticultural patches help people with their household requirements and enhance the income of the forest dwellers. Links have been established with appropriate government departments for procurement of seeds and saplings.
Integrated Watershed Development
The aim of watershed intervention is to raise the water table in specific regions, protect land from soil erosion, improve the soil’s ability to absorb rainwater, and improve vegetative growth and agricultural productivity. Several land development mechanisms are adopted by Shakti to transform barren land to land capable of sustaining certain crops and trees. Ponds have been excavated to harvest rainwater allowing the land to regenerate, thus further enhancing livelihood potential.
Shakti is implementing Orissa Tribal Empowerment and Livelihood Programme OTELP in Kasipur Block of Rayagada District, covering 10 watersheds and 14 habitations with a population of 1,350.
Shakti facilitated formation of 10 village development committees, 109 SHGs, 4 Farmers’ clubs, 7 Village Solar Energy committees as community based organizations, who are managing their affairs under the guidance of Shakti’s technical team.
Horticulture and Agricultural Development
Shakti assists tribal communities in the development of agricultural land, reducing their dependence on slash and burn agriculture. Plants that suit specific soil conditions are chosen for cultivation. The cultivation of cashew, pineapple, mango, jackfruit and vegetables are promoted and supported through field training, credit support and seed distribution. Horticulture has enabled families to have a steady source of income as compared to the unreliable income that comes from shifting cultivation on degraded lands. SRI paddy cultivation, Cassava, Sweet Potatoes have been successfully introduced in the field. 40 nos. small orchard (Mango & Lichi) of one acre each have been started in Kasipur Block. 987 Hectors of Cashew Plantations planted in Ramanaguda Block.
Shakti enables villagers to access improved varieties of livestock. Villagers are trained in improved methods of constructing livestock shelters and stall feedings. Additionally, Shakti provides practical training in animal husbandry practices and appropriate vaccination procedures. Shakti facilitates the regular vaccinations by conducting Vaccination Camps round the year. Shakti has promoted a cadre of Para Veterinary Volunteers in 14 villages, developed their skills and supported them with vaccination instruments. Another key intervention has been to motivate people to insure their animals, which Shakti facilitates by acting as a liaison with insurance companies. Two Mother Chick units and 15 backyard poultry farms have been established in Kasipur Block and a further 163 backyard poultry units in Digapahandi Block. In Ramanaguda Block 19 Goatery units are established.
Skill Development and Training
Shakti provides skill building training to the SHG women and unemployed village youths on various livelihood options, including Poultry, Goatray, Nursery raising, Leaf Plate sewing, Mushroom cultivation. We very often, focus on the non-vulnerable or less-vulnerable poor, who possess a small degree of entrepreneurial and/or risk-taking ability. Our skill building packages covers skill on the subject, market analysis, linkage with market for raw materials and sale of finished product. Shakti’s effort in this regard helped 412 households to achieve a more sustainable and secure livelihood.