The goal of the project is to reduce notably the poverty of the communities living in the project area which is beaten by drought and depending on the monsoon.

Narrative

The goal of the project is to reduce notably the poverty of the communities living in the project area which is beaten by drought and depending on the monsoon. To this end it is planned to improve the food security, to increase the income and the quality of life.

Essential sub goals are:
 The enhancement of the capacities and self-help potential of the villagers to enable them to manage successfully the implementation and the continuation of the watershed project.
 To create income possibilities for adivasi families mainly through restoration, conservation and improvement of their livelihood basis (water and soil).

1. Enhancement of capacities and self help potential of villagers.

1.1 Strengthening of village development committees.
Wealth ranking (revision) and VDC selection (reselection)
Wealth ranking and VDC selection was almost completed in year 2007 in seven villages except Parasiya. In Parasiya, wealth ranking of 98 families in four hamlets is done successfully. All the Nine groups/wards (3-V.Poor, 3-Poor, 2-average and 1-betteroff) have selected their representatives with consensus but representation of women in the VDC is less than expected. Though, the women are active and having good qualities to lead, resistance to reservation for women in VDC was observed in selection process. Due to resistance, women are getting more energy to unite and work together. Almost all SMS members are more active than male members in VDC. Revision of wealth ranking is also done in Jungaliya and Khamha. This revision exercise helps in correcting the wrong decisions taken in initial wealth ranking as well as understanding the impact of project activities on individual families. In Umerjher, Khamha, Mohpani and Kareli the VDC members who were not performing, were called back by the groups and new members who are already involved actively in the project activities and can represent the group effectively are selected with consensus.

VDC & Ward Meetings
VDC members in each village are expected to meet regularly once in a month to plan and follow up the action plan they have prepared. Most of the members are either farmers or labors, and are not used to such formalities. They even find it difficult to spare time from their busy schedule. Initially team members struggled to organize such formal meetings. When the hamlets are far away from each other it is difficult to organise all of them at one place, one time, especially if there is working or marriage season in the village. But there are at least 2-3 members in each village, who are really committed and are willingly contributing their time, energy for the village. With the support of these volunteers meetings were conducted. Scheduled dates, timings, rules regulations were decided. Issues of interest like quality of work, labor payments, livelihood opportunities, etc were discussed initially.

Now the members are used to participate in the meetings and are more regular. Committee members slowly understand the real objective of these meetings. Now the meetings are more focused on problems and developmental issues of the village. The most commonly discussed issues are like quality of development works in the village, people’s participation, Transparency- labour payments, distribution of resources, social fencing, infrastructure development, education, health and livelihood options, etc. In last year, total 97 such VDC meetings were conducted in 8 villages. In Chhitapal and Jungaliya, VDC members meet more frequently (even twice in a month, if required). In Mukhas and Kareli, members meet regularly once in a month where as in Umerjher, Khamha and Parasiya, meeting regularity was not satisfactory in between which improved after reselection of the members. Important decisions regarding social fencing, work planning, measurement and payment systems, shramdan methodology, selection of partners for demonstrations, implementation strategy, etc are frequently taken in these meetings.

VDC members are also expected to discuss all these issues in their ward meetings regularly to involve more and more families in the process. Surprisingly representatives of poor, very poor families and women are conducting these meetings more regularly and actively than average and better off category members.
In Kareli, Chhitapal and Jungaliya VDC members have prepared their own bylaws. All the VDCs except Mukhas and Chhitapal are registered as sub committees of Grampanchayat. VDC members are empowered as a group and have started raising their voice on certain issues in gramsabha and panchayat meetings. But still the role of VDC is limited to project designed activities and there is scope for broadening the vision, perspective.

VDC Trainings
Workshops on village development envisioning based on objective oriented project planning were conducted for all 8 villages in the month of Nov and Dec. VDC, SAC, SMS members and wasundhara sevaks participated in these 3 days workshop. Stakeholder wise Problem analysis exercise was conducted at village level. Participants were facilitated to draw out Long term goal, objectives, results and activities using simple but effective method. Action plan for the year 2009 including activities, No. of units, time frame, Budget, contribution, and responsibility was also prepared in a participatory way. Follow-up VDC trainings for members who did not participated in the first year’s training program and refresher training for interested members was organised in Umerjher and Kareli in the first quarter of the year.
VDC account opening.

In all 8 villages except Parasiya, VDCs have opened their joint saving accounts in Banks and short term advances are deposited in their accounts. VDCs of all the 8 villages are trained and closely involved in the Labour-Muster payment. Initially they found it difficult to take financial burden but now they are capacitated to distribute the payments to labours, cross verification and records. VDCs have also started collecting the village development fund from eligible families on their own. The ways and means of collection and utilisation of the fund are also discussed in OOPP workshops, regular meetings.

Gramsabha
In the year 2008, 47 Gramsabhas were conducted in 8 villages. The impact of community organisation work can be seen in the Gramsabha. Gramsabhas are expected to be conducted once in a three months as per the Gram panchayat rule. Earlier it was just a formality. It was only responsibility of Panchayat and others hardly bothered about it. But now, the participation of villagers (especially women) in village meetings (Gramabhas) is definitely increased. In big villages like Jungaliya and Mohpani, villagers have decided to conduct separate meetings as per the hamlet locations. In Kareli, Parasiya, Chhitapal & Mukhas even more no of meetings were conducted as per the requirement. In gramsabhas of Jungaliya and Umerjher it is observed that people having wasted interests make misuse of such open meetings. They try to dominate newly selected representatives of marginalised sections and break the harmony of the village. In the capacity building process, these members are slowly becoming competent enough to tackle and facilitate such conflict situation. In many cases members of weaker sections are nominated as chief functionaries of the VDC which will definitely help them to realise and explore their capacities in near future.

Training for Panchayat members
Formal trainings for Panchayat members were planned in Jungaliya, Mohpani, Mukhas and Chhitapal. Objective of these training programs was to orient the panchayat members with Wasundhara project and synergise the works done by Panchayat and VDC altogether. Participation of the members representing project villages was good but very few of the members from other villages and chief functionaries attended the program. NGO team members also generated awareness regarding NREGA program in the village and tried to link Wasundhara project with Panchayat activities. Informal inputs were given to VDC as well as panchayat members and wasundhara sevaks gave their services in NREGA work. People’s participation and transparency in NREGA work was observed more in project villages as compared to nearby villages. In Jabalpur and Katni districts, it was the first year of NREGA and first experience of Panchayat as well as villagers.

Details of works done through Panchayat and other Govt. departments are presented in Anexure-2.

1.2. Formation and strengthening of women groups and their saving and credit activities.
Self help group activities

By the end of year 2008, 45 women’s self help groups are formed in 8 villages. Out of 45, 12 SHGs are formed in the year 2008. The initial problems of misunderstandings, miss trust are now solved through continuous meetings, training and exposures, SHGs slowly started functioning well and a trust is built among the members. In 35 SHGs internal lending is done for different reasons like health, education, children cloths, IG activities, grains and grocery, farming, marriage, house construction, midday meal, Death occasions, etc. Due to increase income through project activities, SHG members are motivated to increase their per month savings. Initially it was only 10 Rs. per month which is now increased up to 20, 25, 50 and even 100 in some cases. Women who were not yet joined the SHGs but were watching the activities of existing SHGs get motivated and decided to start their new SHGs.

Orientation training program for members of SHGs newly formed in Parasiya, Jungaliya, Mohpani, Umerjher and Khamha was conducted. SHG members are very much interested and are willing to participate in the village development process even if there is objection and resistance from men. Struggle for account opening, attending meetings, participating in trainings, exposures, reading, writing, signing, organising health camps, planning and implementation of activities, etc has raised the confidence level of the women. From these experiences, they learnt that if they are united they can face any situation whether it is internal or external.

SHG members are supposed to meet once in a month. All the SHGs have fixed date, timings, rules and regulations of their meetings. But still irregularities in attendance, savings, record keeping was observed in some SHGs in Jungaliya, Mohpani, Mukhas and Chhitapal. The basic reason found was the absence/migration of active members or organisers from the village and dependency of SHG members on them. Wasundhara sevikas help them in writing proceedings and SHG accounts. NGO/WOTR team members verify these accounts once in three months. Slowly, women are becoming punctual and strict about the norms they decide but external dependency for record keeping is required to be reduced strategically.

Up to date 475 women are involved in 45 SHGs in 8 villages. Survey of wealth ranking wise participation of women in SHGs is done. From the analysis it is observed that SHGs are having representation of mixed categories. Participation of very poor and poor category women is encouraging but still there is scope to involve more poor women in SHGs.
Details of SHGs, members, savings, internal lending, etc are presented in annexure-3.

SMS Trainings-Meetings
Samyukta Mahila Samiti (Apex body of SHGs) is formed and trained in all 8 villages. In the SMS training programs, members were oriented with Concept of Watershed and Wasundhara program. Importance of women participation in this project and Roles and Responsibilities of SMS was also discussed. Audio visuals on Social fencing, Shramdan, Ridge to valley were also shown in the evening. Exercise of women’s problems analysis, planning an activity to solve the selected problem, etc was conducted to help SMS members in preparing the proposal for women’s drudgery reduction activity in their village. Issues of leadership and communication were also touched through entertaining games. Importance of Child growth monitoring and different record keeping was also discussed and finally an action plan was prepared for next six months after drawing a dream village picture. SMS members also participated actively in the OOPP workshops held at Jabalpur in the last months of year 2008. Details of these trainings are presented in annexure-4.

Outcome of these training programs can be seen in SMS meetings. SMS members are now regularly meeting once in a month and are capable to plan and implement the activities beneficial to the women in village. All the SMS have opened their joint accounts in banks. In some cases it is observed that very few representative members are involved in planning and all women are not involved or taken into confidence while taking decisions, which can affect the participation in future. There fore SMS members are encouraged to decide and follow some rules and regulations to involve more women in decision making process and to avoid conflict.

Village wise Prioritisation of drudgery issues of village women done by the SMS members is presented in annexure-5.
Other Women development activities

It is observed that the need and scope for awareness generation, planning and implementation of activities related to health, sanitation, drudgery, livelihood, etc is tremendous and SHGs need to think beyond regular saving and credit operations. In regular SHG-SMS meetings, NGO team members tries to generate awareness regarding health issues of women, adolescence girls and children, balanced diet, education, early child marriage, safe delivery precautions, women rights, life insurance, etc.

Due to continuous training and follow up some SHG members are slowly becoming sensitive about health issues. Wasundhara sevikas of all the project villages have collected the women health data through which common and serious diseases, health problems are identified. This data was useful for planning health camps in the villages. In 8 villages, data collection and analysis is completed. Analysis of this data is presented in Annexure6
Based on the analysis health camp was successfully organised in Mohpani, Parasiya, Jungaliya, and Chhitapal by respective Samyukta Mahila Samitees. Outcomes of these health camps are that some serious cases which needed immediate attention were noticed and referred and treated in the Govt. hospital in Jabalpur. Some common diseases in women which are neither talked openly nor treated are explored and treated without hesitation. Further more, linkages of SMS with PHC as well as Govt. Hospitals in Jabalpur are established.

1.3 Development of Self Help Capacities of VDCs and Women

Home Visits
The objective of home visits is to get in personal touch with each individual family and to have better understanding of each individual’s perspective regarding project. In last year NGO team members and wasundhara sevaks conducted 1105 informal home visits. Through regular home visits NGO team members and Wasundhara sevaks generate awareness regarding different social issues like Nashamukti, sanitation, women rights, forest management, Shramdan, migration, Women-child and adolescence girl’s health related issues, HIV-Aids, Disputes between and within the families. For community awareness generation different tools like songs, videos, posters, Rallies, sharing of other stories, booklets, Information centres, etc are used effectively.

In some villages it is observed that, NGO team members are used to meet specific personalities and unconsciously ignore others, which creates miss understandings and effects participation. On an average, still 30-35 % families are not in touch or not participating in project activities actively. Intensive Home visits to these families and better understanding of their non participation reasons is required to be done.

In village Parasiya, where social dynamics was quite complicated and extra ordinary efforts were required for organising people and completing the backlog of processes and activities. NGO team members and wasundhara sevaks did excellent work to bring all three parties together, and creating healthy atmosphere to complete the backlog of activities like Shramdan, Net planning, SWC work, SHG formation, SHG trainings, wealth ranking, SMS formation, Different PRAs and base line data collection, Display board, etc within 5 months period.

Base line data collection and Analysis
Base line data forms containing general information of each individual family (901 families in 8 villages) is completed and analysis of this data using software is also done and ready for presenting to the villagers which will be helpful for further planning. The detailed base line data collection having information regarding income and expenditure of 30% families from each category is also done in all 8 villages.

Wasundhara sevaks are responsible for maintaining minimum six types of monthly data registers (Rainfall, Ground water, Meeting proceedings, SHG accounts, Observation and suggestion, & Plantation). With few exceptions, most of these records are maintained and updated. Rain gauges are installed in all 8 villages and Village wise data regarding Rainfall in this year 2008 is presented in annexure7, Data shows that rainfall is blow average in Niwas, Kundam and Bargi cluster where as it is slightly above average in Dheemarkheda cluster and rainy days varies between 38 to 52 days. Data regarding ground water table is presented in annexure8 which gives comparative data of selected sample wells for the month of Dec.

As villagers are getting wages within village, migration is notably reduced but not stopped. Still a good no. of families prefers to migrate temporarily for 15 to 30 days in winter season for harvesting of wheat crops which secures their food requirement.

Two students from XIIDAS management institute, Jabalpur conducted one month study on Livelihood and Migration in Mukhas and Chhitapal villages under their organizational learning experience. The results of their study are useful for in project planning and assessment. A family wise comparative study on migration was conducted in the month of June in all 8 villages. Analysis of the same is presented in Annexure9. Analysis shows that migration of 296 families from 8 villages is completely stopped where as 320 families are still migrating not for wages but for grains which they get after harvesting of the crops in command area of Jabalpur and Haweli. This migration is temporary migration for 15 to 30 days in winter and mainly for the security of food (Wheat). This is an old traditional partnership between landlords in command areas and tribal in these villages. 18 families from Umerjher, Jungaliya, Mohpani and Parasiya migrated for more than 3 months as a labour for construction work and rixa pulling in cities. The person days of migration are reduced by 73%. Reduction in migration directly increased the school attendance and farmers could spare more time for their livelihood sources.

Labour -POP group meetings
Labour meetings are conducted on site for sharing the project knowledge, maintaining the quality, transparency and for solving the onsite issues. Generally these meetings are conducted onsite, before or after muster payments. 90 such meetings are conducted in the year 2008 in 8 villages. In Umerjher and Khamha Labours are regularly saving their incomes from wages and have opened their saving accounts in post office. Some labours are also motivated to create livelihood options from their savings.

86 Meetings of groups of very poor families are also conducted in which existing livelihood options and opportunities, strengths and skills of individuals, planning and implementation of livelihood activities, Alternate options for livelihood, and success stories of others were discussed.

Wasundhara Sevaks Meetings-Trainings
Monthly meetings of Wasundhara sevaks/sevikas for planning and review are also conducted at NGO field offices. 81 such meetings are conducted by 4 NGOs. These meetings help in refreshing the knowledge of Wasundhara sevaks as well as better coordination between NGO and villagers. In some cases wasundhara sevaks were replaces due to inefficiency or irregularities observed by SAC/VDC members.

Linkage building Workshop
On the occasion of international women’s day (8th march), women from two villages in each cluster participated in a cluster level workshop in which they shared activities and experiences of their SHGs with other SHG members as well as Guests. For SHG and SMS members this was the first occasion when they spoke on mike and shared their achievements in front of a mob. This was also an opportunity for women to share and discuss their common problems and concerns. Four such workshops were organised in four clusters.

For linkage building with the influential people in the area like MLAs, District, Block and Gram panchayat members, concerned officers of Health, Agri, Livestock, and education departments were invited in these workshops. VDC-SMS members and NGOs gave a presentation of progress of the project activities since last one year in the village and the possible contribution visitors could make in creating a model village.

Different competitions on cultural programs, General knowledge, Wasundhara songs, sports, health, education etc, were organised in all 8 villages. These competitions were for SHG members and School children. Objective of these competitions was giving a platform and encouragement to the women and children to express themselves. These competitions brought an effective change in people’s participation in all project villages.

Majority of these works were carried out in the first half of the year. In the second half of the year, the planned workshops were cancelled due to assembly elections in the state. As the project is about to complete its second year, the time has come to expose the villagers and CBOs to formal development network and build required linkages with concerned Govt authorities.

Awareness Generation Programs
23 Awareness generation workshops on different issues like NREGA, livestock management, new forest law, adolescence girl’s health issues and village cleanliness, violence against women, Nashamukti and aids awareness were also organised in year 2008 in which villagers/key leaders were oriented with these concepts by out side resource persons. These workshops were arranged based on the need of that particular village and were very useful for awareness generation.

Objective of these programs is to impart knowledge and skills to villagers, their key leaders and Wasundhara sevaks, so that they can transfer it to other villagers. Members of Gram panchayat are also oriented informally by NGO staff regarding the Wasundhara project and their role in it.

Participatory Monitoring, SAC Formation, Meetings and Trainings
Social Audit committees are formed in all 8 villages. These committees are having 5 to 9 members. These members are those who were involved since beginning of the project but are not representing in VDC or SMS. The role of SAC members is different than VDC-SMS members. Their role is to monitor the project activities done by VDC and SMS, and are expected to have capacity and interest to see the things very critically.

In the first initial meeting of SAC members, they were oriented with the Wasundhara project and their role in it. They accompanied with the WOTR’s monitoring team during our visit in respective villages. During the visit, they learned to monitor the quality of work as well as to check the measurements in the field. As this activity is related to labour payments and money, they felt more responsible and participated actively.

A two days formal training of SAC members for two villages from each cluster was conducted at Jabalpur. In these trainings the members were oriented with the watershed and wasundhara concept, principles of watershed, role and responsibilities of different committees in the village, wasundhara sevaks and project staff. Audio visual shows on social fencing, shramdan, Watershed treatments were also shown in the evening. Participants were introduced with different monitoring tools and techniques. Exercise of Qualitative assessment matrix was also conducted, which helped them in exercising it in detail in their village. Details of these four trainings are presented in annexur4. SAC members are regularly accompanying the NGO/WOTR team during monitoring visits and are performing their role perfectly in almost all 8 villages.

Site Monitoring, QAM
SAC members are supposed to visit the site frequently as and when required, especially during or after measurements. In all the villages SAC members are voluntarily involved in numbering, measurement, and labour payment distribution. 90 such site monitoring visits were conducted by SAC members in 8 villages. They are also supposed to meet informally once in a month and can join any other meetings like VDC, SMS or Panchayat meetings as per requirement. 45 such meetings are conducted in 8 villages. SAC members did the QAM of each village once in a quarter. The results of QAM exercise conducted in eight villages in Dec08 are presented in Annexure10. From this chart one can easily understand the progress of the project in each individual village and in 16 different sectors. The Initial ratings given by SAC members were very critical and eye opening for us especially in Jungaliya, Umerjher and Khamha where lot of improvement was required in sectors like Afforestation, social fencing, Equity related activities, horticulture and functioning of VDCs. This exercise helped a lot in monitoring the sector wise progress. From the last one year’s experience it is observed that, the overall performance is satisfactory but lot more hard work is needed to be done in coming year for good and very good performance as per the indicators and sub indicators used in qualitative assessment matrix.

Maintenance and updating of Display boards on which expenditure and contribution details are written fortnightly was regular initially, but in the rainy season the boars which were in open were damaged and are not maintained properly. VDCs are encouraged to repair these boards on their own or either to change the place and use it for displaying different information and maintaining transparency. Wasundhara sevaks are also motivated to maintain the observation and suggestion register in which remarks from out side visitors, WOTR and NGO staff, VDC, SMS and SAC members, etc are recorded and are followed up. 81 monitoring visits to these 8 villages were conducted by WOTR staff in last year. On an average each project village was visited once in a month except rainy season.

Quarterly reports, Documentation
In last year, monthly and quarterly planning is done first at village level in VDC and SMS meetings, and then it is forwarded to WOTR-Jabalpur office. Quarterly reports of each individual village are written and compiled by concerned NGO staff with the help of Wasundhara sevaks and sevikas. Planned activities, progress, achievements, problems faced and challenges, future strategy, Govt. works in the village, case studies, and success stories are mentioned in details in these reports. Training on documentation and report writing was planned in sept’08 but could not be conducted due to unavailability of resource persons. This training is now planned in next year.

Digital cameras are now available with all four NGOs which will be very useful for NGO staff for Photo & video documentation of the activities implemented at village level. Informal training on functioning of these cameras is given individually. This raw material (photos & videos) collected by the NGO staff will then be useful for WOTR’s AV & documentation department who is planning to prepare a film on MP-project. AV-documentation team visited all 8 villages in the month of Nov08, conducted interviews with the different stakeholder representatives, as well as live shooting of different interventions, impacts, problems, etc. We have decided to collect the pre project and post project satellite images together in the last year of the project. According to the agency, it will be more economical as well as feasible.

Designing and application of PIM tool at village level
Participatory impact monitoring is the major activity which was planned in the last quarter of this year and could not be conducted due to time constraint. In the year 2009, Participatory impact monitoring will be conducted in all 8 villages.

1.4 Utilisation of existing expertise- Learning from others
Farmer’s exposure
In last year Exposure of farmer’s were conducted in Jungaliya, Mohpani, Parasiya and Kareli. 18 farmers from Jungaliya and Mohpani visited 2 progressive successful organic farmers in village Kudari which is 70 Kms away from Niwas. This exposure was mainly focused on preparation and maintenance of NADEP compost pit and efficient use of organic manure in the field for better crop production. After exposure all these farmers have decided and started to construct the NADEP pit.

38 farmers from Kareli and Parasiya participated in the Farmer’s mela organised by Agri. Department at Agri. University, Jabalpur. In this mela farmers got an opportunity to see different agriculture related new techniques in exhibition as well as to learn about Importance of soil testing, weed control, improved varieties of paddy & Soya bin, compost pits, horticulture and vegetable cultivation, different schemes of Agri. Department for new cultivation methods, etc After exposure, Farmers decided to purchase and grow improved variety of paddy and Soya bin in their field this year, and also to take maximum benefit of schemes implemented by Agri. Dept.

20 Farmers from Parasiya also visited villages Serjhar and Chapra in Didori district which is about 250 Kms from Parasiya and where Baiga adivasi families have successfully grown dry land mango plantations and are growing and marketing vegetables with very less available resources.

Exposures planned in the second half of the year could not be conducted due to improper planning and low interest shown by farmers due to time constraint.

POP Exposure
In Mukhas and Chhitapal some members of youth group are doing honey collection traditionally and are interested to expand their business. An exposure of 8 youth from Mukhas and Chhitapal was conducted to Bharatpur Honey Bee keeping training centre, where participants learnt about improved techniques of honey bee keeping with minimum investment and risk. After exposure youth group has decided to start honey bee keeping as a livelihood activity and they have already started planning for it. Other planned exposures could not be conducted due to improper planning and low interest shown by the participants.
Women’s exposure

9 women exposures were conducted in the last year from 7 villages. 21 women SHG members from Jungaliya and Mohpani visited Sagatola village in Dindori district where SHG are doing well in income generation activities like Mahua collection, Grocery and stationary shop, floor-mill, etc. Systems and record keeping procedures followed by these SHGs is learning for participants and are now motivated to start different income generation activities through their SHGs.15 SHG members from Jungaliya and Mohpani villages visited Umerjher and Khamha villages where as 20 SHG members from Umerjher and Khamha visited Mohpani and Jungaliya project villages.

Inter Village Exposure
For mutual learning’s (to learn from each others), 2 Inter village exposures were conducted in this year. First exposure was to Parasiya and Kareli in the month of April and second was to Jungaliya and Mohpani in the month of June. These exposures were planned on the basis of experience of last two exposures to Kundam and Dheemarkheda projects. It was an enriching experience for villagers as well as participants. Participants were more interested to see village Parasiya as since long time they were aware about the initial problematic situation, interventions by NGO, wasundhara sevaks and its impact.

The working experience of how 250 labours are managed at a time without affecting the quality and maintaining the transparency of work was also shared by wasundhara sevaks of Parasiya which gave some practical tips to the participants. Forest land issue in Parasiya was discussed in detail which gave additional information to participants regarding new forest law. Women SHGs presented their experiences in Mahila sammelan. At the same time they were also very much impressed with functioning and systems set by Kareli VDC. Organisation of food, in Kareli by VDC and SMS members was also very good. 4 VDC members from Mukhas and Chhitapal and 4 SAC members from Umerjher, Mohpani also participated in these exposures. They also shared their achievements and experiences regarding ban on tree felling, monitoring. They felt proud to be participated and are very much interested to arrange a special Inter VDC and SMS exposure.

Wasundhara sevaks, Sevikas, selected VDC members and NGO staff participated in these exposures. In the month of June’08 first exposure was conducted to Umerjher and Khamha. In on year’s period all the Wasundhara sevaks, sevikas and NGO team members visited all 8 villages. Overall, these inter village exposures were helpful in sharing the knowledge, work-experiences, achievements and problems, finding the solutions commonly.

Two inter village women exposures from Kundam to Niwas and Niwas to Kundam were also conducted in the month of Sept’08.

The details of all these exposures are presented in Annexure11.

2. Restoring, Conserving and improving the sources of livelihood.

Participatory Net-Planning
Participatory net planning is done simultaneously as the work progresses. In total, net planning of 898 ha. Area is done with more than 356 farmer families in 8 villages in last year. In most of the cases, work could not proceed in the planned area as planned area was under crops and not available for treatments. In such cases net plan is done in pieces at different places as per the land availability, farmer’s will and readiness. In addition to Wasundhara sevaks and farmer’s family, it is interesting to know that VDC members are also participating in the PNP process. Importance of Net palnning is realised by VDC members as it helps to avoid conflicts during implementation. During net planning farmers are also planning to change the land use from single crop to double crop, change in cropping pattern and vegetable cultivation. But it is observed that farmers do have limited options, expectations in their mind and more exposure, practical inputs are required to increase the capacity to plan and practice alternative options which may have greater impact.

Land treatments, Agri, Fodder, Fuel development
In last year, under the land use crop cultivation and afforestation 851 ha. Area has been treated with farm bunding, contour bunding, Water absorption trenching, Stone bunding, Gully plugging work. The expenses incurred for these activities are Rs.4375486. Till date total cumulative project contribution for soil and water conservation work is Rs.5948494 (including labor, material and supervision) where as villagers have done shramdan of Rs. 916583 (excluding first four days shramdan). The activities undertaken by the villagers under Shramdan mainly are stone bunding, lantana clearing, farm bunding, water absorption trenches, Road repairing, Plantation, De-siltation of tanks. Now shramdan is done regularly once in a week. VDC members are encouraged to involve maximum no. of families in shramdan. In Jungaliya, Mohpani, Chhitapal, Umerjher, and Kareli, shramdan is as per the expectation but back log of shramdan is still not recovered completely in Prasiya, Mukhas, and Khamha. In some cases farmers are doing the paid work as well as shramdan on their own and in their field only.

Labour Payment is done fortnightly. VDC and SAC members are involved in the measurement, monitoring and payment distribution closely. VDC members are closely involved in distribution of the labour payments. Members of social audit committee are also monitoring the systems critically. In Mohpani, SAC members found some irregularities in measurement system. Cross verification was conducted; mistakes repaired and guilty wasundhara sevak was removed. Labours are quite happy with the systems followed in wasundhara project and most of them prefer to work in this project only. They have started comparing these systems with other Govt and Panchayat systems. Migration of the labours from these villages is reduced and school attendance is drastically increased. Village wise details regarding the Soil and water conservation work are presented in Annexure12.

To utilise the sanctioned fund under NREGA before March, VDCs of Jungaliya, Khamha, Mukhas and Chhitapal decided to stop the Wasundhar work for few days and mobilised the labours for preparing Job cards and work under NREGA. Initially labours were hesitant to go on NREGA work because of their past experiences with panchayat. This work is also monitored by VDCs for maintaining the quality and transparency. In Khamha, Mukhas, Chhitapal and Umerjher, Wasundhara sevaks are also involved in the NREGA work. Usually NREGA fund is used by panchayat for infrastructure development (Roads, wells, halls, etc). But this year, many panchayat near to project villages in Niwas block gave priority to land and water management works, and came forward for exposure and learning the systems followed in Wasundhara project villages. Details of village wise NREGA activities are presented in Annexure2.
It is observed that quality of work in some villages is not up to standard mark and refresher on field technical training is needed for wasundhara sevaks, and VDC-SAC members.

Target for soil and water conservation works in last year under Wasundhara project was about 1150ha. Out of which 844 ha area was treated. Major reasons for less achievement in Jungaliya, Mohpani, Mukhas and Kareli are mentioned below.

Water harvesting structures
In total 16 water-harvesting structures were planned in all 8 villages. In Khamha, Jungaliya and Chhitapal, Panchayat constructed the percolation tanks in the same catchments, where as in Mohpani work of minor irrigation tank is started. Before construction of water harvesting structures, area treatments in the upper catchments should be completed principally. As it was not completed, this activity is postponed for next year in Umerjher, Kareli and Parasiya. In Mukhas where entire catchments area is treated, a check dam of 1.5 M height is constructed near drinking water well. As the entire village will get benefited directly from this structure, VDC and SMS members and all the villagers were actively involved in planning, execution and monitoring process. Due to people’s participation, this structure could be completed in Rs.80000 only (within 70% of the estimated cost.) Site selection for water harvesting structures is also a difficult task, and very few feasible sites could be identified in the project villages. One of the learning for next year is that construction work should be completed before April, to avoid water scarcity during construction work.

3. Creation of new and better income possibilities

3.1 Increase of Agricultural production
Nursery Raising- Training
For horticulture and other plantations, family wise survey of plant requirement was done by NGO staff with VDC members in Ward meetings on the basis of last year’s experience. It was decided that required plants of two villages in each cluster will be prepared at a central place where required resources like land, water are easily available. Women SHG members in Khamha, Mohpani and Kareli, and POP youth group in Chhitapal are encouraged to raise their own Nursery.

On field 4-5 days training on technical aspects of nursery raising was conducted in each village. All three NGO staff and wasundhara sevaks, sevikas also participated in this program. Seed, polybags and other required material is provided from the project. It was a total practical training in which participants did all the labour work. This learning by doing process was facilitated by an outside expert who continued his support as and when required. Total 50 participants from 6 villages participated in 3 training programs. Details of these three training programs are presented in Annexure4. Nursery raising activity was then continued by women’s group in Khamha, POP group in Chhitapal where as by an individual landless family in Mohpani, where the nursery has grown very well as compared to others. In Khamha and Chhitapal, survival reduced due to some technical reasons and is not much profitable, but it was a good experience and learning for group members. Plants available in the nurseries are distributed to the 49 farmers with minimum contribution immediately after rains. Farmers have planted saplings of Neem, Papaya, Guava, Mango, Kathal etc in their backyards and near to the source of water. Survival rate of the saplings which are planted nearby is approximately 80%.

NADEP-Vermi compost
Considering the quality of soil in the project villages, external input is required for better production and food security. To promote the organic farming and to protect the lands in project villages from chemical fertilisers, organic manure preparation techniques like NADEP, Vermi composting are planned and awareness generation through exposures, meetings is initiated and 32 partners from 6 villages are selected for demonstration purpose. Construction of 32 compost pits in six villages is completed and organic manure preparation process is in progress. Farmers will use this manure in next year.

Community Irrigation Wells
16 Community irrigation wells in 8 villages were planned in last year. While planning this activity in ward meetings and with VDCs it is observed that, farmers prefer to dig individual wells instead of common wells and available fund is very less as compared to demands. VDC members tried to motivate the farmers to dig wells on their own or tried link this activity with NREGA. More people can get benefited from Govt. funds and with our limited funds we will be able to help to those who are really not capable and are reedy to come together for digging a well.

In Kareli, 16 farmers started digging shallow wells in summer through their own resources and got a good amount of water as an impact of last year’s trenching work in upper catchments. In Jungaliya, Umerjher, Khamha and Kareli, already 16 wells are sanctioned under NREGA. 4 Community wells are also constructed by farmers in groups in Chhitapal and Kareli, in which blasting and material cost support is given through project.

In project villages, commonly it is observed that farmer’s belief regarding ground water and it’s harvesting are slowly changing positively and they are now interested in digging wells. But in case the strata are loose then construction cost and if the strata are rocky then Blasting cost is a big deal for a small farmer. One good thing out of all this is that farmers are now thinking of irrigation and better production and some of them have already started irrigating and taking better production from their field.

Agri Demonstrations- Winter, Monsoon
Demonstrations of improved verities of paddy, gram, pea, Soya bin, groundnut, wheat, turmeric, potato, were conducted in monsoon and Rabi season this year with more than 163 farmers in 8 villages. Most of these demonstrations were very successful and farmers got immediate benefit out of it, except two demonstrations i.e. demonstration of improved variety of paddy in Khamha and demonstration of Soya bin plot in Kareli was not successful. More than 100 farmers in project villages changed their sowing method of paddy from broadcasting to nursery raising and seedling. Many farmers shifted from Kodo kutki to improved variety of paddy, Pea, gram, etc and fallow lands were brought under cultivation. Village wise details of Agri demonstrations and Kitchen gardens are presented in Annexure13.

Vegetables like chilly, tomato, Palak, Muli, Karela, Brinjal, lady finger, semi, pumpkin are usefully grown by more than 600 families in monsoon season. Vegetable seed was provided by Agri Dept in Khamha, Umerjher, Mukhas and Chhitapal. In Jungaliya and Mohpani SHG members preserved their last year seed where as in Parasiya and Kareli, Seed was provided through project to SHG members. Fresh Vegetables cultivated in the kitchen gardens were used for self consumption as well as for selling purpose. Economic returns of kitchen garden activity in Kareli and Parasiya are extra extraordinary. SHG members earned from Rs.4000 to Rs.15000 in three months period.
Seeing these results many of the farmers are interested in vegetable cultivation through out the year. In last winter and summer, some demonstrations were conducted with farmers in Khamha, Umerjher and Chhitapal. Overall, it was not a very profit making activity but farmers get first hand experience of growing different vegetables in their field. As Vegetable growing in kitchen gardens (small scale) is more successful in all 8 villages, this activity can be continued through out the year with the support of some micro irrigation system.

Low cost irrigation techniques
This activity is proposed to support those farmers who are having water available for irrigation and are willing to contribute for irrigating their fields. In last year, some VDCs decided to give support for purchasing of diesel pumps, PVC pipes to farmer’s groups. But due to improper planning and delay in contribution collection from the group members, activity could not be implemented in almost all villages.

3.2 Income possibilities for women and landless
Livelihood survey - Income possibilities for landless families
Village wise survey of agriculture and forest production, processing and marketing systems and other non farm activities, no. of persons engaged in these non farm activities was conducted for identifying the possible income generation activities within the village. From survey it is found that there are no. of services for which villagers are dependent on outsiders and some families within village can generate their sources of income if starts giving these services to villagers.

Since last one year, in all 8 villages, the poorest families are getting good wages and earning a good amount within their village either from Wasundhar project or through NREGA. In Umerjher, Khamha, and Mohpani some of them have already started saving their earnings into post office account.

In all 8 villages, families who are not able to secure their livelihood from available resources and are dependent on labour are encouraged to think for alternative options and start the activities may be on small scale initially but on their own.

POP groups submitted their proposal to VDC and SMS for small income generation activities like grocery shop, goat rearing, poultry, Stationary shop, vegetable shop, blacksmith, tokari making, fishery, cycle mart, spray pump, grains shop, tea stall, tailoring shop, lantana furniture, etc. After continuous meetings, discussions and Negotiations on grant, loan and contribution component, finally it is decided that, SMS will provide 75-80% loan support through SHGs and individual partner will contribute 20-25% of total activity budget. This support fund will be given through project and will be used as revolving fund by SMS to support max no. of families. In last year, in total 29 IG activities were supported in 8 villages. The details of these activities are presented in annexure14

Women development- Drudgery reduction program
In SMS trainings SMS members are oriented with the Wasundhra programme and women’s role in it. Members were facilitated to analyse and prioritise the women’s problems in their village and to prepare an action plan. Village wise Prioritisation of drudgery issues of village women done by the SMS members is presented in Annexure-5
Majority of SMS decided to work on Drinking water, Fire wood, grain grinding to reduce the drudgery of women in their village. They prepared detailed action plans and proposals for small drudgery reduction activities. While preparing proposals they came across new problems which are also a part of their training and capacity building.
In Umerjher, Khamha, Jungaliya, Mukhas, Chhitapal and Kareli, SMS decided to implement an activity which will be helpful for the women in reducing their drudgery for fetching the drinking water. Initially, big projects like construction of wells, lifting of water, Water tank, pipe line and tap system for entire village, etc were planned, but after continuous discussions on strategy, aftercare, budget, contributions, available resources, panchayat linkage, etc SMS members decided to start the activity at micro level for gaining experience and to solve the immediate problem of drinking water scarcity of selected hamlets/groups.

In participatory planning process, SMS members, as well as NGO staff faced difficulties in taking a unanimous decision. Domination of traditional men leaders in the village was also a challenge. The activities planned by SMS were hijacked by Panchayat, other business minded personalities in Umerjher, Mukhas, and Jungaliya. Due to these problems, it took long time to revise the proposals again and again and implementation of these activities could start only in the mid of May. Blasting and construction cost increased suddenly due to increase in material cost in the markets. In Chhitapal, and Kareli construction could not be completed before rains as rains came earlier than estimated time. Payments for unskilled labour work for well digging are done through SMS in most of the villages.
Different activities like village cleanliness, violence against women, mid day meal preparation, Child growth monitoring are taken up very well by SMS in all villages. Growth monitoring Card distribution and awareness generation is done by SMS members. Monthly weighing of children, display of growth status on chart is done by wasundhara & Anganwadi sevikas.

SMS members also participated actively in the OOPP workshop. They added the problems related to women in the village, possible solutions, objectives and their concerns during group discussions. They also included their plan of action into total village development plan.

  • Impact Assessment (M&E) Phase Project completed on 31 Dec, 2010 Implementation Phase
  • Implementation Phase Project started on 1 May, 2007 Preparation Phase

The goal of the project is to reduce notably the poverty of the communities living in the project area which is beaten by drought and depending on the monsoon.

Narrative

The goal of the project is to reduce notably the poverty of the communities living in the project area which is beaten by drought and depending on the monsoon. To this end it is planned to improve the food security, to increase the income and the quality of life.

Essential sub goals are:
 The enhancement of the capacities and self-help potential of the villagers to enable them to manage successfully the implementation and the continuation of the watershed project.
 To create income possibilities for adivasi families mainly through restoration, conservation and improvement of their livelihood basis (water and soil).

1. Enhancement of capacities and self help potential of villagers.

1.1 Strengthening of village development committees.
Wealth ranking (revision) and VDC selection (reselection)
Wealth ranking and VDC selection was almost completed in year 2007 in seven villages except Parasiya. In Parasiya, wealth ranking of 98 families in four hamlets is done successfully. All the Nine groups/wards (3-V.Poor, 3-Poor, 2-average and 1-betteroff) have selected their representatives with consensus but representation of women in the VDC is less than expected. Though, the women are active and having good qualities to lead, resistance to reservation for women in VDC was observed in selection process. Due to resistance, women are getting more energy to unite and work together. Almost all SMS members are more active than male members in VDC. Revision of wealth ranking is also done in Jungaliya and Khamha. This revision exercise helps in correcting the wrong decisions taken in initial wealth ranking as well as understanding the impact of project activities on individual families. In Umerjher, Khamha, Mohpani and Kareli the VDC members who were not performing, were called back by the groups and new members who are already involved actively in the project activities and can represent the group effectively are selected with consensus.

VDC & Ward Meetings
VDC members in each village are expected to meet regularly once in a month to plan and follow up the action plan they have prepared. Most of the members are either farmers or labors, and are not used to such formalities. They even find it difficult to spare time from their busy schedule. Initially team members struggled to organize such formal meetings. When the hamlets are far away from each other it is difficult to organise all of them at one place, one time, especially if there is working or marriage season in the village. But there are at least 2-3 members in each village, who are really committed and are willingly contributing their time, energy for the village. With the support of these volunteers meetings were conducted. Scheduled dates, timings, rules regulations were decided. Issues of interest like quality of work, labor payments, livelihood opportunities, etc were discussed initially.

Now the members are used to participate in the meetings and are more regular. Committee members slowly understand the real objective of these meetings. Now the meetings are more focused on problems and developmental issues of the village. The most commonly discussed issues are like quality of development works in the village, people’s participation, Transparency- labour payments, distribution of resources, social fencing, infrastructure development, education, health and livelihood options, etc. In last year, total 97 such VDC meetings were conducted in 8 villages. In Chhitapal and Jungaliya, VDC members meet more frequently (even twice in a month, if required). In Mukhas and Kareli, members meet regularly once in a month where as in Umerjher, Khamha and Parasiya, meeting regularity was not satisfactory in between which improved after reselection of the members. Important decisions regarding social fencing, work planning, measurement and payment systems, shramdan methodology, selection of partners for demonstrations, implementation strategy, etc are frequently taken in these meetings.

VDC members are also expected to discuss all these issues in their ward meetings regularly to involve more and more families in the process. Surprisingly representatives of poor, very poor families and women are conducting these meetings more regularly and actively than average and better off category members.
In Kareli, Chhitapal and Jungaliya VDC members have prepared their own bylaws. All the VDCs except Mukhas and Chhitapal are registered as sub committees of Grampanchayat. VDC members are empowered as a group and have started raising their voice on certain issues in gramsabha and panchayat meetings. But still the role of VDC is limited to project designed activities and there is scope for broadening the vision, perspective.

VDC Trainings
Workshops on village development envisioning based on objective oriented project planning were conducted for all 8 villages in the month of Nov and Dec. VDC, SAC, SMS members and wasundhara sevaks participated in these 3 days workshop. Stakeholder wise Problem analysis exercise was conducted at village level. Participants were facilitated to draw out Long term goal, objectives, results and activities using simple but effective method. Action plan for the year 2009 including activities, No. of units, time frame, Budget, contribution, and responsibility was also prepared in a participatory way. Follow-up VDC trainings for members who did not participated in the first year’s training program and refresher training for interested members was organised in Umerjher and Kareli in the first quarter of the year.
VDC account opening.

In all 8 villages except Parasiya, VDCs have opened their joint saving accounts in Banks and short term advances are deposited in their accounts. VDCs of all the 8 villages are trained and closely involved in the Labour-Muster payment. Initially they found it difficult to take financial burden but now they are capacitated to distribute the payments to labours, cross verification and records. VDCs have also started collecting the village development fund from eligible families on their own. The ways and means of collection and utilisation of the fund are also discussed in OOPP workshops, regular meetings.

Gramsabha
In the year 2008, 47 Gramsabhas were conducted in 8 villages. The impact of community organisation work can be seen in the Gramsabha. Gramsabhas are expected to be conducted once in a three months as per the Gram panchayat rule. Earlier it was just a formality. It was only responsibility of Panchayat and others hardly bothered about it. But now, the participation of villagers (especially women) in village meetings (Gramabhas) is definitely increased. In big villages like Jungaliya and Mohpani, villagers have decided to conduct separate meetings as per the hamlet locations. In Kareli, Parasiya, Chhitapal & Mukhas even more no of meetings were conducted as per the requirement. In gramsabhas of Jungaliya and Umerjher it is observed that people having wasted interests make misuse of such open meetings. They try to dominate newly selected representatives of marginalised sections and break the harmony of the village. In the capacity building process, these members are slowly becoming competent enough to tackle and facilitate such conflict situation. In many cases members of weaker sections are nominated as chief functionaries of the VDC which will definitely help them to realise and explore their capacities in near future.

Training for Panchayat members
Formal trainings for Panchayat members were planned in Jungaliya, Mohpani, Mukhas and Chhitapal. Objective of these training programs was to orient the panchayat members with Wasundhara project and synergise the works done by Panchayat and VDC altogether. Participation of the members representing project villages was good but very few of the members from other villages and chief functionaries attended the program. NGO team members also generated awareness regarding NREGA program in the village and tried to link Wasundhara project with Panchayat activities. Informal inputs were given to VDC as well as panchayat members and wasundhara sevaks gave their services in NREGA work. People’s participation and transparency in NREGA work was observed more in project villages as compared to nearby villages. In Jabalpur and Katni districts, it was the first year of NREGA and first experience of Panchayat as well as villagers.

Details of works done through Panchayat and other Govt. departments are presented in Anexure-2.

1.2. Formation and strengthening of women groups and their saving and credit activities.
Self help group activities

By the end of year 2008, 45 women’s self help groups are formed in 8 villages. Out of 45, 12 SHGs are formed in the year 2008. The initial problems of misunderstandings, miss trust are now solved through continuous meetings, training and exposures, SHGs slowly started functioning well and a trust is built among the members. In 35 SHGs internal lending is done for different reasons like health, education, children cloths, IG activities, grains and grocery, farming, marriage, house construction, midday meal, Death occasions, etc. Due to increase income through project activities, SHG members are motivated to increase their per month savings. Initially it was only 10 Rs. per month which is now increased up to 20, 25, 50 and even 100 in some cases. Women who were not yet joined the SHGs but were watching the activities of existing SHGs get motivated and decided to start their new SHGs.

Orientation training program for members of SHGs newly formed in Parasiya, Jungaliya, Mohpani, Umerjher and Khamha was conducted. SHG members are very much interested and are willing to participate in the village development process even if there is objection and resistance from men. Struggle for account opening, attending meetings, participating in trainings, exposures, reading, writing, signing, organising health camps, planning and implementation of activities, etc has raised the confidence level of the women. From these experiences, they learnt that if they are united they can face any situation whether it is internal or external.

SHG members are supposed to meet once in a month. All the SHGs have fixed date, timings, rules and regulations of their meetings. But still irregularities in attendance, savings, record keeping was observed in some SHGs in Jungaliya, Mohpani, Mukhas and Chhitapal. The basic reason found was the absence/migration of active members or organisers from the village and dependency of SHG members on them. Wasundhara sevikas help them in writing proceedings and SHG accounts. NGO/WOTR team members verify these accounts once in three months. Slowly, women are becoming punctual and strict about the norms they decide but external dependency for record keeping is required to be reduced strategically.

Up to date 475 women are involved in 45 SHGs in 8 villages. Survey of wealth ranking wise participation of women in SHGs is done. From the analysis it is observed that SHGs are having representation of mixed categories. Participation of very poor and poor category women is encouraging but still there is scope to involve more poor women in SHGs.
Details of SHGs, members, savings, internal lending, etc are presented in annexure-3.

SMS Trainings-Meetings
Samyukta Mahila Samiti (Apex body of SHGs) is formed and trained in all 8 villages. In the SMS training programs, members were oriented with Concept of Watershed and Wasundhara program. Importance of women participation in this project and Roles and Responsibilities of SMS was also discussed. Audio visuals on Social fencing, Shramdan, Ridge to valley were also shown in the evening. Exercise of women’s problems analysis, planning an activity to solve the selected problem, etc was conducted to help SMS members in preparing the proposal for women’s drudgery reduction activity in their village. Issues of leadership and communication were also touched through entertaining games. Importance of Child growth monitoring and different record keeping was also discussed and finally an action plan was prepared for next six months after drawing a dream village picture. SMS members also participated actively in the OOPP workshops held at Jabalpur in the last months of year 2008. Details of these trainings are presented in annexure-4.

Outcome of these training programs can be seen in SMS meetings. SMS members are now regularly meeting once in a month and are capable to plan and implement the activities beneficial to the women in village. All the SMS have opened their joint accounts in banks. In some cases it is observed that very few representative members are involved in planning and all women are not involved or taken into confidence while taking decisions, which can affect the participation in future. There fore SMS members are encouraged to decide and follow some rules and regulations to involve more women in decision making process and to avoid conflict.

Village wise Prioritisation of drudgery issues of village women done by the SMS members is presented in annexure-5.
Other Women development activities

It is observed that the need and scope for awareness generation, planning and implementation of activities related to health, sanitation, drudgery, livelihood, etc is tremendous and SHGs need to think beyond regular saving and credit operations. In regular SHG-SMS meetings, NGO team members tries to generate awareness regarding health issues of women, adolescence girls and children, balanced diet, education, early child marriage, safe delivery precautions, women rights, life insurance, etc.

Due to continuous training and follow up some SHG members are slowly becoming sensitive about health issues. Wasundhara sevikas of all the project villages have collected the women health data through which common and serious diseases, health problems are identified. This data was useful for planning health camps in the villages. In 8 villages, data collection and analysis is completed. Analysis of this data is presented in Annexure6
Based on the analysis health camp was successfully organised in Mohpani, Parasiya, Jungaliya, and Chhitapal by respective Samyukta Mahila Samitees. Outcomes of these health camps are that some serious cases which needed immediate attention were noticed and referred and treated in the Govt. hospital in Jabalpur. Some common diseases in women which are neither talked openly nor treated are explored and treated without hesitation. Further more, linkages of SMS with PHC as well as Govt. Hospitals in Jabalpur are established.

1.3 Development of Self Help Capacities of VDCs and Women

Home Visits
The objective of home visits is to get in personal touch with each individual family and to have better understanding of each individual’s perspective regarding project. In last year NGO team members and wasundhara sevaks conducted 1105 informal home visits. Through regular home visits NGO team members and Wasundhara sevaks generate awareness regarding different social issues like Nashamukti, sanitation, women rights, forest management, Shramdan, migration, Women-child and adolescence girl’s health related issues, HIV-Aids, Disputes between and within the families. For community awareness generation different tools like songs, videos, posters, Rallies, sharing of other stories, booklets, Information centres, etc are used effectively.

In some villages it is observed that, NGO team members are used to meet specific personalities and unconsciously ignore others, which creates miss understandings and effects participation. On an average, still 30-35 % families are not in touch or not participating in project activities actively. Intensive Home visits to these families and better understanding of their non participation reasons is required to be done.

In village Parasiya, where social dynamics was quite complicated and extra ordinary efforts were required for organising people and completing the backlog of processes and activities. NGO team members and wasundhara sevaks did excellent work to bring all three parties together, and creating healthy atmosphere to complete the backlog of activities like Shramdan, Net planning, SWC work, SHG formation, SHG trainings, wealth ranking, SMS formation, Different PRAs and base line data collection, Display board, etc within 5 months period.

Base line data collection and Analysis
Base line data forms containing general information of each individual family (901 families in 8 villages) is completed and analysis of this data using software is also done and ready for presenting to the villagers which will be helpful for further planning. The detailed base line data collection having information regarding income and expenditure of 30% families from each category is also done in all 8 villages.

Wasundhara sevaks are responsible for maintaining minimum six types of monthly data registers (Rainfall, Ground water, Meeting proceedings, SHG accounts, Observation and suggestion, & Plantation). With few exceptions, most of these records are maintained and updated. Rain gauges are installed in all 8 villages and Village wise data regarding Rainfall in this year 2008 is presented in annexure7, Data shows that rainfall is blow average in Niwas, Kundam and Bargi cluster where as it is slightly above average in Dheemarkheda cluster and rainy days varies between 38 to 52 days. Data regarding ground water table is presented in annexure8 which gives comparative data of selected sample wells for the month of Dec.

As villagers are getting wages within village, migration is notably reduced but not stopped. Still a good no. of families prefers to migrate temporarily for 15 to 30 days in winter season for harvesting of wheat crops which secures their food requirement.

Two students from XIIDAS management institute, Jabalpur conducted one month study on Livelihood and Migration in Mukhas and Chhitapal villages under their organizational learning experience. The results of their study are useful for in project planning and assessment. A family wise comparative study on migration was conducted in the month of June in all 8 villages. Analysis of the same is presented in Annexure9. Analysis shows that migration of 296 families from 8 villages is completely stopped where as 320 families are still migrating not for wages but for grains which they get after harvesting of the crops in command area of Jabalpur and Haweli. This migration is temporary migration for 15 to 30 days in winter and mainly for the security of food (Wheat). This is an old traditional partnership between landlords in command areas and tribal in these villages. 18 families from Umerjher, Jungaliya, Mohpani and Parasiya migrated for more than 3 months as a labour for construction work and rixa pulling in cities. The person days of migration are reduced by 73%. Reduction in migration directly increased the school attendance and farmers could spare more time for their livelihood sources.

Labour -POP group meetings
Labour meetings are conducted on site for sharing the project knowledge, maintaining the quality, transparency and for solving the onsite issues. Generally these meetings are conducted onsite, before or after muster payments. 90 such meetings are conducted in the year 2008 in 8 villages. In Umerjher and Khamha Labours are regularly saving their incomes from wages and have opened their saving accounts in post office. Some labours are also motivated to create livelihood options from their savings.

86 Meetings of groups of very poor families are also conducted in which existing livelihood options and opportunities, strengths and skills of individuals, planning and implementation of livelihood activities, Alternate options for livelihood, and success stories of others were discussed.

Wasundhara Sevaks Meetings-Trainings
Monthly meetings of Wasundhara sevaks/sevikas for planning and review are also conducted at NGO field offices. 81 such meetings are conducted by 4 NGOs. These meetings help in refreshing the knowledge of Wasundhara sevaks as well as better coordination between NGO and villagers. In some cases wasundhara sevaks were replaces due to inefficiency or irregularities observed by SAC/VDC members.

Linkage building Workshop
On the occasion of international women’s day (8th march), women from two villages in each cluster participated in a cluster level workshop in which they shared activities and experiences of their SHGs with other SHG members as well as Guests. For SHG and SMS members this was the first occasion when they spoke on mike and shared their achievements in front of a mob. This was also an opportunity for women to share and discuss their common problems and concerns. Four such workshops were organised in four clusters.

For linkage building with the influential people in the area like MLAs, District, Block and Gram panchayat members, concerned officers of Health, Agri, Livestock, and education departments were invited in these workshops. VDC-SMS members and NGOs gave a presentation of progress of the project activities since last one year in the village and the possible contribution visitors could make in creating a model village.

Different competitions on cultural programs, General knowledge, Wasundhara songs, sports, health, education etc, were organised in all 8 villages. These competitions were for SHG members and School children. Objective of these competitions was giving a platform and encouragement to the women and children to express themselves. These competitions brought an effective change in people’s participation in all project villages.

Majority of these works were carried out in the first half of the year. In the second half of the year, the planned workshops were cancelled due to assembly elections in the state. As the project is about to complete its second year, the time has come to expose the villagers and CBOs to formal development network and build required linkages with concerned Govt authorities.

Awareness Generation Programs
23 Awareness generation workshops on different issues like NREGA, livestock management, new forest law, adolescence girl’s health issues and village cleanliness, violence against women, Nashamukti and aids awareness were also organised in year 2008 in which villagers/key leaders were oriented with these concepts by out side resource persons. These workshops were arranged based on the need of that particular village and were very useful for awareness generation.

Objective of these programs is to impart knowledge and skills to villagers, their key leaders and Wasundhara sevaks, so that they can transfer it to other villagers. Members of Gram panchayat are also oriented informally by NGO staff regarding the Wasundhara project and their role in it.

Participatory Monitoring, SAC Formation, Meetings and Trainings
Social Audit committees are formed in all 8 villages. These committees are having 5 to 9 members. These members are those who were involved since beginning of the project but are not representing in VDC or SMS. The role of SAC members is different than VDC-SMS members. Their role is to monitor the project activities done by VDC and SMS, and are expected to have capacity and interest to see the things very critically.

In the first initial meeting of SAC members, they were oriented with the Wasundhara project and their role in it. They accompanied with the WOTR’s monitoring team during our visit in respective villages. During the visit, they learned to monitor the quality of work as well as to check the measurements in the field. As this activity is related to labour payments and money, they felt more responsible and participated actively.

A two days formal training of SAC members for two villages from each cluster was conducted at Jabalpur. In these trainings the members were oriented with the watershed and wasundhara concept, principles of watershed, role and responsibilities of different committees in the village, wasundhara sevaks and project staff. Audio visual shows on social fencing, shramdan, Watershed treatments were also shown in the evening. Participants were introduced with different monitoring tools and techniques. Exercise of Qualitative assessment matrix was also conducted, which helped them in exercising it in detail in their village. Details of these four trainings are presented in annexur4. SAC members are regularly accompanying the NGO/WOTR team during monitoring visits and are performing their role perfectly in almost all 8 villages.

Site Monitoring, QAM
SAC members are supposed to visit the site frequently as and when required, especially during or after measurements. In all the villages SAC members are voluntarily involved in numbering, measurement, and labour payment distribution. 90 such site monitoring visits were conducted by SAC members in 8 villages. They are also supposed to meet informally once in a month and can join any other meetings like VDC, SMS or Panchayat meetings as per requirement. 45 such meetings are conducted in 8 villages. SAC members did the QAM of each village once in a quarter. The results of QAM exercise conducted in eight villages in Dec08 are presented in Annexure10. From this chart one can easily understand the progress of the project in each individual village and in 16 different sectors. The Initial ratings given by SAC members were very critical and eye opening for us especially in Jungaliya, Umerjher and Khamha where lot of improvement was required in sectors like Afforestation, social fencing, Equity related activities, horticulture and functioning of VDCs. This exercise helped a lot in monitoring the sector wise progress. From the last one year’s experience it is observed that, the overall performance is satisfactory but lot more hard work is needed to be done in coming year for good and very good performance as per the indicators and sub indicators used in qualitative assessment matrix.

Maintenance and updating of Display boards on which expenditure and contribution details are written fortnightly was regular initially, but in the rainy season the boars which were in open were damaged and are not maintained properly. VDCs are encouraged to repair these boards on their own or either to change the place and use it for displaying different information and maintaining transparency. Wasundhara sevaks are also motivated to maintain the observation and suggestion register in which remarks from out side visitors, WOTR and NGO staff, VDC, SMS and SAC members, etc are recorded and are followed up. 81 monitoring visits to these 8 villages were conducted by WOTR staff in last year. On an average each project village was visited once in a month except rainy season.

Quarterly reports, Documentation
In last year, monthly and quarterly planning is done first at village level in VDC and SMS meetings, and then it is forwarded to WOTR-Jabalpur office. Quarterly reports of each individual village are written and compiled by concerned NGO staff with the help of Wasundhara sevaks and sevikas. Planned activities, progress, achievements, problems faced and challenges, future strategy, Govt. works in the village, case studies, and success stories are mentioned in details in these reports. Training on documentation and report writing was planned in sept’08 but could not be conducted due to unavailability of resource persons. This training is now planned in next year.

Digital cameras are now available with all four NGOs which will be very useful for NGO staff for Photo & video documentation of the activities implemented at village level. Informal training on functioning of these cameras is given individually. This raw material (photos & videos) collected by the NGO staff will then be useful for WOTR’s AV & documentation department who is planning to prepare a film on MP-project. AV-documentation team visited all 8 villages in the month of Nov08, conducted interviews with the different stakeholder representatives, as well as live shooting of different interventions, impacts, problems, etc. We have decided to collect the pre project and post project satellite images together in the last year of the project. According to the agency, it will be more economical as well as feasible.

Designing and application of PIM tool at village level
Participatory impact monitoring is the major activity which was planned in the last quarter of this year and could not be conducted due to time constraint. In the year 2009, Participatory impact monitoring will be conducted in all 8 villages.

1.4 Utilisation of existing expertise- Learning from others
Farmer’s exposure
In last year Exposure of farmer’s were conducted in Jungaliya, Mohpani, Parasiya and Kareli. 18 farmers from Jungaliya and Mohpani visited 2 progressive successful organic farmers in village Kudari which is 70 Kms away from Niwas. This exposure was mainly focused on preparation and maintenance of NADEP compost pit and efficient use of organic manure in the field for better crop production. After exposure all these farmers have decided and started to construct the NADEP pit.

38 farmers from Kareli and Parasiya participated in the Farmer’s mela organised by Agri. Department at Agri. University, Jabalpur. In this mela farmers got an opportunity to see different agriculture related new techniques in exhibition as well as to learn about Importance of soil testing, weed control, improved varieties of paddy & Soya bin, compost pits, horticulture and vegetable cultivation, different schemes of Agri. Department for new cultivation methods, etc After exposure, Farmers decided to purchase and grow improved variety of paddy and Soya bin in their field this year, and also to take maximum benefit of schemes implemented by Agri. Dept.

20 Farmers from Parasiya also visited villages Serjhar and Chapra in Didori district which is about 250 Kms from Parasiya and where Baiga adivasi families have successfully grown dry land mango plantations and are growing and marketing vegetables with very less available resources.

Exposures planned in the second half of the year could not be conducted due to improper planning and low interest shown by farmers due to time constraint.

POP Exposure
In Mukhas and Chhitapal some members of youth group are doing honey collection traditionally and are interested to expand their business. An exposure of 8 youth from Mukhas and Chhitapal was conducted to Bharatpur Honey Bee keeping training centre, where participants learnt about improved techniques of honey bee keeping with minimum investment and risk. After exposure youth group has decided to start honey bee keeping as a livelihood activity and they have already started planning for it. Other planned exposures could not be conducted due to improper planning and low interest shown by the participants.
Women’s exposure

9 women exposures were conducted in the last year from 7 villages. 21 women SHG members from Jungaliya and Mohpani visited Sagatola village in Dindori district where SHG are doing well in income generation activities like Mahua collection, Grocery and stationary shop, floor-mill, etc. Systems and record keeping procedures followed by these SHGs is learning for participants and are now motivated to start different income generation activities through their SHGs.15 SHG members from Jungaliya and Mohpani villages visited Umerjher and Khamha villages where as 20 SHG members from Umerjher and Khamha visited Mohpani and Jungaliya project villages.

Inter Village Exposure
For mutual learning’s (to learn from each others), 2 Inter village exposures were conducted in this year. First exposure was to Parasiya and Kareli in the month of April and second was to Jungaliya and Mohpani in the month of June. These exposures were planned on the basis of experience of last two exposures to Kundam and Dheemarkheda projects. It was an enriching experience for villagers as well as participants. Participants were more interested to see village Parasiya as since long time they were aware about the initial problematic situation, interventions by NGO, wasundhara sevaks and its impact.

The working experience of how 250 labours are managed at a time without affecting the quality and maintaining the transparency of work was also shared by wasundhara sevaks of Parasiya which gave some practical tips to the participants. Forest land issue in Parasiya was discussed in detail which gave additional information to participants regarding new forest law. Women SHGs presented their experiences in Mahila sammelan. At the same time they were also very much impressed with functioning and systems set by Kareli VDC. Organisation of food, in Kareli by VDC and SMS members was also very good. 4 VDC members from Mukhas and Chhitapal and 4 SAC members from Umerjher, Mohpani also participated in these exposures. They also shared their achievements and experiences regarding ban on tree felling, monitoring. They felt proud to be participated and are very much interested to arrange a special Inter VDC and SMS exposure.

Wasundhara sevaks, Sevikas, selected VDC members and NGO staff participated in these exposures. In the month of June’08 first exposure was conducted to Umerjher and Khamha. In on year’s period all the Wasundhara sevaks, sevikas and NGO team members visited all 8 villages. Overall, these inter village exposures were helpful in sharing the knowledge, work-experiences, achievements and problems, finding the solutions commonly.

Two inter village women exposures from Kundam to Niwas and Niwas to Kundam were also conducted in the month of Sept’08.

The details of all these exposures are presented in Annexure11.

2. Restoring, Conserving and improving the sources of livelihood.

Participatory Net-Planning
Participatory net planning is done simultaneously as the work progresses. In total, net planning of 898 ha. Area is done with more than 356 farmer families in 8 villages in last year. In most of the cases, work could not proceed in the planned area as planned area was under crops and not available for treatments. In such cases net plan is done in pieces at different places as per the land availability, farmer’s will and readiness. In addition to Wasundhara sevaks and farmer’s family, it is interesting to know that VDC members are also participating in the PNP process. Importance of Net palnning is realised by VDC members as it helps to avoid conflicts during implementation. During net planning farmers are also planning to change the land use from single crop to double crop, change in cropping pattern and vegetable cultivation. But it is observed that farmers do have limited options, expectations in their mind and more exposure, practical inputs are required to increase the capacity to plan and practice alternative options which may have greater impact.

Land treatments, Agri, Fodder, Fuel development
In last year, under the land use crop cultivation and afforestation 851 ha. Area has been treated with farm bunding, contour bunding, Water absorption trenching, Stone bunding, Gully plugging work. The expenses incurred for these activities are Rs.4375486. Till date total cumulative project contribution for soil and water conservation work is Rs.5948494 (including labor, material and supervision) where as villagers have done shramdan of Rs. 916583 (excluding first four days shramdan). The activities undertaken by the villagers under Shramdan mainly are stone bunding, lantana clearing, farm bunding, water absorption trenches, Road repairing, Plantation, De-siltation of tanks. Now shramdan is done regularly once in a week. VDC members are encouraged to involve maximum no. of families in shramdan. In Jungaliya, Mohpani, Chhitapal, Umerjher, and Kareli, shramdan is as per the expectation but back log of shramdan is still not recovered completely in Prasiya, Mukhas, and Khamha. In some cases farmers are doing the paid work as well as shramdan on their own and in their field only.

Labour Payment is done fortnightly. VDC and SAC members are involved in the measurement, monitoring and payment distribution closely. VDC members are closely involved in distribution of the labour payments. Members of social audit committee are also monitoring the systems critically. In Mohpani, SAC members found some irregularities in measurement system. Cross verification was conducted; mistakes repaired and guilty wasundhara sevak was removed. Labours are quite happy with the systems followed in wasundhara project and most of them prefer to work in this project only. They have started comparing these systems with other Govt and Panchayat systems. Migration of the labours from these villages is reduced and school attendance is drastically increased. Village wise details regarding the Soil and water conservation work are presented in Annexure12.

To utilise the sanctioned fund under NREGA before March, VDCs of Jungaliya, Khamha, Mukhas and Chhitapal decided to stop the Wasundhar work for few days and mobilised the labours for preparing Job cards and work under NREGA. Initially labours were hesitant to go on NREGA work because of their past experiences with panchayat. This work is also monitored by VDCs for maintaining the quality and transparency. In Khamha, Mukhas, Chhitapal and Umerjher, Wasundhara sevaks are also involved in the NREGA work. Usually NREGA fund is used by panchayat for infrastructure development (Roads, wells, halls, etc). But this year, many panchayat near to project villages in Niwas block gave priority to land and water management works, and came forward for exposure and learning the systems followed in Wasundhara project villages. Details of village wise NREGA activities are presented in Annexure2.
It is observed that quality of work in some villages is not up to standard mark and refresher on field technical training is needed for wasundhara sevaks, and VDC-SAC members.

Target for soil and water conservation works in last year under Wasundhara project was about 1150ha. Out of which 844 ha area was treated. Major reasons for less achievement in Jungaliya, Mohpani, Mukhas and Kareli are mentioned below.

Water harvesting structures
In total 16 water-harvesting structures were planned in all 8 villages. In Khamha, Jungaliya and Chhitapal, Panchayat constructed the percolation tanks in the same catchments, where as in Mohpani work of minor irrigation tank is started. Before construction of water harvesting structures, area treatments in the upper catchments should be completed principally. As it was not completed, this activity is postponed for next year in Umerjher, Kareli and Parasiya. In Mukhas where entire catchments area is treated, a check dam of 1.5 M height is constructed near drinking water well. As the entire village will get benefited directly from this structure, VDC and SMS members and all the villagers were actively involved in planning, execution and monitoring process. Due to people’s participation, this structure could be completed in Rs.80000 only (within 70% of the estimated cost.) Site selection for water harvesting structures is also a difficult task, and very few feasible sites could be identified in the project villages. One of the learning for next year is that construction work should be completed before April, to avoid water scarcity during construction work.

3. Creation of new and better income possibilities

3.1 Increase of Agricultural production
Nursery Raising- Training
For horticulture and other plantations, family wise survey of plant requirement was done by NGO staff with VDC members in Ward meetings on the basis of last year’s experience. It was decided that required plants of two villages in each cluster will be prepared at a central place where required resources like land, water are easily available. Women SHG members in Khamha, Mohpani and Kareli, and POP youth group in Chhitapal are encouraged to raise their own Nursery.

On field 4-5 days training on technical aspects of nursery raising was conducted in each village. All three NGO staff and wasundhara sevaks, sevikas also participated in this program. Seed, polybags and other required material is provided from the project. It was a total practical training in which participants did all the labour work. This learning by doing process was facilitated by an outside expert who continued his support as and when required. Total 50 participants from 6 villages participated in 3 training programs. Details of these three training programs are presented in Annexure4. Nursery raising activity was then continued by women’s group in Khamha, POP group in Chhitapal where as by an individual landless family in Mohpani, where the nursery has grown very well as compared to others. In Khamha and Chhitapal, survival reduced due to some technical reasons and is not much profitable, but it was a good experience and learning for group members. Plants available in the nurseries are distributed to the 49 farmers with minimum contribution immediately after rains. Farmers have planted saplings of Neem, Papaya, Guava, Mango, Kathal etc in their backyards and near to the source of water. Survival rate of the saplings which are planted nearby is approximately 80%.

NADEP-Vermi compost
Considering the quality of soil in the project villages, external input is required for better production and food security. To promote the organic farming and to protect the lands in project villages from chemical fertilisers, organic manure preparation techniques like NADEP, Vermi composting are planned and awareness generation through exposures, meetings is initiated and 32 partners from 6 villages are selected for demonstration purpose. Construction of 32 compost pits in six villages is completed and organic manure preparation process is in progress. Farmers will use this manure in next year.

Community Irrigation Wells
16 Community irrigation wells in 8 villages were planned in last year. While planning this activity in ward meetings and with VDCs it is observed that, farmers prefer to dig individual wells instead of common wells and available fund is very less as compared to demands. VDC members tried to motivate the farmers to dig wells on their own or tried link this activity with NREGA. More people can get benefited from Govt. funds and with our limited funds we will be able to help to those who are really not capable and are reedy to come together for digging a well.

In Kareli, 16 farmers started digging shallow wells in summer through their own resources and got a good amount of water as an impact of last year’s trenching work in upper catchments. In Jungaliya, Umerjher, Khamha and Kareli, already 16 wells are sanctioned under NREGA. 4 Community wells are also constructed by farmers in groups in Chhitapal and Kareli, in which blasting and material cost support is given through project.

In project villages, commonly it is observed that farmer’s belief regarding ground water and it’s harvesting are slowly changing positively and they are now interested in digging wells. But in case the strata are loose then construction cost and if the strata are rocky then Blasting cost is a big deal for a small farmer. One good thing out of all this is that farmers are now thinking of irrigation and better production and some of them have already started irrigating and taking better production from their field.

Agri Demonstrations- Winter, Monsoon
Demonstrations of improved verities of paddy, gram, pea, Soya bin, groundnut, wheat, turmeric, potato, were conducted in monsoon and Rabi season this year with more than 163 farmers in 8 villages. Most of these demonstrations were very successful and farmers got immediate benefit out of it, except two demonstrations i.e. demonstration of improved variety of paddy in Khamha and demonstration of Soya bin plot in Kareli was not successful. More than 100 farmers in project villages changed their sowing method of paddy from broadcasting to nursery raising and seedling. Many farmers shifted from Kodo kutki to improved variety of paddy, Pea, gram, etc and fallow lands were brought under cultivation. Village wise details of Agri demonstrations and Kitchen gardens are presented in Annexure13.

Vegetables like chilly, tomato, Palak, Muli, Karela, Brinjal, lady finger, semi, pumpkin are usefully grown by more than 600 families in monsoon season. Vegetable seed was provided by Agri Dept in Khamha, Umerjher, Mukhas and Chhitapal. In Jungaliya and Mohpani SHG members preserved their last year seed where as in Parasiya and Kareli, Seed was provided through project to SHG members. Fresh Vegetables cultivated in the kitchen gardens were used for self consumption as well as for selling purpose. Economic returns of kitchen garden activity in Kareli and Parasiya are extra extraordinary. SHG members earned from Rs.4000 to Rs.15000 in three months period.
Seeing these results many of the farmers are interested in vegetable cultivation through out the year. In last winter and summer, some demonstrations were conducted with farmers in Khamha, Umerjher and Chhitapal. Overall, it was not a very profit making activity but farmers get first hand experience of growing different vegetables in their field. As Vegetable growing in kitchen gardens (small scale) is more successful in all 8 villages, this activity can be continued through out the year with the support of some micro irrigation system.

Low cost irrigation techniques
This activity is proposed to support those farmers who are having water available for irrigation and are willing to contribute for irrigating their fields. In last year, some VDCs decided to give support for purchasing of diesel pumps, PVC pipes to farmer’s groups. But due to improper planning and delay in contribution collection from the group members, activity could not be implemented in almost all villages.

3.2 Income possibilities for women and landless
Livelihood survey - Income possibilities for landless families
Village wise survey of agriculture and forest production, processing and marketing systems and other non farm activities, no. of persons engaged in these non farm activities was conducted for identifying the possible income generation activities within the village. From survey it is found that there are no. of services for which villagers are dependent on outsiders and some families within village can generate their sources of income if starts giving these services to villagers.

Since last one year, in all 8 villages, the poorest families are getting good wages and earning a good amount within their village either from Wasundhar project or through NREGA. In Umerjher, Khamha, and Mohpani some of them have already started saving their earnings into post office account.

In all 8 villages, families who are not able to secure their livelihood from available resources and are dependent on labour are encouraged to think for alternative options and start the activities may be on small scale initially but on their own.

POP groups submitted their proposal to VDC and SMS for small income generation activities like grocery shop, goat rearing, poultry, Stationary shop, vegetable shop, blacksmith, tokari making, fishery, cycle mart, spray pump, grains shop, tea stall, tailoring shop, lantana furniture, etc. After continuous meetings, discussions and Negotiations on grant, loan and contribution component, finally it is decided that, SMS will provide 75-80% loan support through SHGs and individual partner will contribute 20-25% of total activity budget. This support fund will be given through project and will be used as revolving fund by SMS to support max no. of families. In last year, in total 29 IG activities were supported in 8 villages. The details of these activities are presented in annexure14

Women development- Drudgery reduction program
In SMS trainings SMS members are oriented with the Wasundhra programme and women’s role in it. Members were facilitated to analyse and prioritise the women’s problems in their village and to prepare an action plan. Village wise Prioritisation of drudgery issues of village women done by the SMS members is presented in Annexure-5
Majority of SMS decided to work on Drinking water, Fire wood, grain grinding to reduce the drudgery of women in their village. They prepared detailed action plans and proposals for small drudgery reduction activities. While preparing proposals they came across new problems which are also a part of their training and capacity building.
In Umerjher, Khamha, Jungaliya, Mukhas, Chhitapal and Kareli, SMS decided to implement an activity which will be helpful for the women in reducing their drudgery for fetching the drinking water. Initially, big projects like construction of wells, lifting of water, Water tank, pipe line and tap system for entire village, etc were planned, but after continuous discussions on strategy, aftercare, budget, contributions, available resources, panchayat linkage, etc SMS members decided to start the activity at micro level for gaining experience and to solve the immediate problem of drinking water scarcity of selected hamlets/groups.

In participatory planning process, SMS members, as well as NGO staff faced difficulties in taking a unanimous decision. Domination of traditional men leaders in the village was also a challenge. The activities planned by SMS were hijacked by Panchayat, other business minded personalities in Umerjher, Mukhas, and Jungaliya. Due to these problems, it took long time to revise the proposals again and again and implementation of these activities could start only in the mid of May. Blasting and construction cost increased suddenly due to increase in material cost in the markets. In Chhitapal, and Kareli construction could not be completed before rains as rains came earlier than estimated time. Payments for unskilled labour work for well digging are done through SMS in most of the villages.
Different activities like village cleanliness, violence against women, mid day meal preparation, Child growth monitoring are taken up very well by SMS in all villages. Growth monitoring Card distribution and awareness generation is done by SMS members. Monthly weighing of children, display of growth status on chart is done by wasundhara & Anganwadi sevikas.

SMS members also participated actively in the OOPP workshop. They added the problems related to women in the village, possible solutions, objectives and their concerns during group discussions. They also included their plan of action into total village development plan.

Sustainability

Creating and measuring long-term impact

SMS and VDC Sammelan
Regional level SMS workshop was organised at Jabalpur on 17th_18th march 2008. SMS members, Wasundhara sevikas from all 8 villages (79 women) participated in the 2 days women fair. Regional level VDC workshop was also organised at Jabalpur on 9th_10th June 2008. VDC and SAC members, Wasundhara sevaks from all 8 villages (88 men and women) participated in the 2 days VDC fair.

Objective of these fairs is to provide a bigger platform to SMS and VDC members from project villages to share their experiences, achievements, and future plans in front of other village women and men who are also having the same background, problems and concerns. Another objective is to build relationships with practitioners and policy makers that support project implementation process.
In these two days, SMS and VDC members were encouraged to speak out and share their ideas in public without hesitation. Success stories of different villages were also proudly shared by the members. Different Competitions and entertaining games like Wasundhara songs, Wasundhara Quiz, Tili game, balloon game, unity game, experience sharing, etc kept all the participants active through out the program. As these competitions were between groups, it also created spirit among the groups regarding their village and their group. Winner groups were rewarded with cash prizes. Most of the SMS and VDCs used this money for opening their account in banks, purchasing of rubber stamps, stationary, etc.

In SMS fair, Input sessions on women health, women rights, insurance, and bank linkage were also scheduled on the second day. Resource persons from SAMPADA Trust for insurance, Dr Mrs. Bhattnagar for women health, Adv. Beenaji for women rights, and Mr. Thvrani(Lead bank manager) and Mr. Desmukh, NABARD for Bank linkages were invited to conduct the sessions. Very fruitful discussions were held during these sessions and some concrete action plans were also prepared.

In VDC fair brain storming on different issues like Forest protection and social fencing, People’s participation- shramdan, Agri development - Change in land use, Alternative IG activities for POPs, Role of Panchayat in village development, and Women’s empowerment - Gender was done in six groups representing all villages. Healthy discussions were facilitated by six resource persons and action points were presented to all commonly. Input sessions on Organic farming, Panchayat Raj, Forest rights, People’s participation were also scheduled on the second day. Different resource persons like Mr. B.B. Singh-CCF from Forest Department, Mr. Nema-Extension Officer from Agri University, Mr. Jayant Verma- Expert in Panchayat Raj, Mr. Subhash Ithape- VWC President from Mhaswandi, Maharashtra participated in these sessions. These fairs were an enriching experience for all the practitioners as well as resource persons.

Other Issues

Unusual and unexpected issues faced during project execution

Further Development Activities:

 The capacity building process and various interventions demonstrated since last 20 months in project villages has brought the attention of nearby villagers towards these villages. Visitors from nearby villages have started interacting with the VDC, SMS members to know the project implementation process and impacts. These exposures and interactions also help in confidence building of local CBOs.

 Due to in situ moisture conservation in upper catchments, impact on runoff, time of concentration and ground water can be seen in treated micro watersheds. Water is now available for longer period even in shallow wells. With the increased hopes, farmers have now started deepening the existing wells as well as digging new wells. For a dry land small farmer, digging and construction of a well is a big deal but they are inspired to do so for better use of their lands and their livelihood.

 Primary schools up to 5th standard are there in all 8 villages. Attendance in schools was very less due to negligence of parents and teachers towards education. Migration of children with their parents was also a major reason. As migration of majority of families is considerably reduced and mothers are sensitised towards education, school attendance as well as teacher’s interest is gradually increasing. Willingness in parents, towards giving further education to their children (both boys and girls) is also increasing.

 Generally, Panchayat prefers to use their fund for infrastructure development activities like road, hall, wells, bridge, etc. In project as well as nearby villages, where villagers were involved in planning, NREGA fund was used for Natural resource management and they also tried to follow the systems and techniques they are using in Wasundhara project. Social Audit committee members are alert and play their role in all type of development projects at village level.

 For demonstration of improved variety seeds, and new cropping pattern, Agri demonstrations are done in the project villages. VDCs took this activity further and created seed bank by recollecting the seed in double quantity from demo partners as well as collecting the local varieties of seeds which are not available in the market.

 Small scale vegetable cultivation was initiated through SHG members in their kitchen gardens. It was only for consumption and balanced diet. Farmer families took this activity further and started cultivating and marketing vegetables from their fields. More and more farmers are now getting in vegetable cultivation business.

 Livelihood survey was conducted to find out the income possibilities within village. List of services which are required were discussed in groups. Most of them were either not available or provided by outsiders. Some intelligent people within village who are also working as labours took the idea and started the activity on their own through their savings and SHG loan.

 Wealth ranking was done initially for poverty assessment and formation of VDC. Now after six months, it is observed that villagers are more concerned about the four categories which they have decided, VDC uses this term in planning any activity or taking any decision very seriously. This indicates the sensitisation of villagers towards equity within village.

 In SMS Trainings, importance of Child growth monitoring was explained and charts were demonstrated. SMS members took this activity further ahead and distributed these charts to all mothers. They started monthly weighing of their children with the help of wasundhara and Anganwadi sevika. SMS forwarded the data to health department through Anganwadi sevika, Malnutrition cases were highlighted and attended by health department in Umerjher and Khamha. Healthy child competitions were conducted to motivate parents to take care of their children’s health. Women also started cooking mid day meal in schools for the children through SHGs.

Learnings

Knowledge of project and process for sharing

1 – To enhance the capacities and the self-help potential of the villagers to enable them to manage successfully the implementation and the continuation of the watershed project.

People living in the project villages and their participation have direct impact on the health of the project and it is a prerequisite for success. VDCs representing different socio-economic groups are formed in all the project villages. VDC members are actively involved in planning, implementation and monitoring of the project activities. They are also assessing the performance of each individual member and reselection is done if required. 45 women Self Help Groups and their village level apex bodies are also formed and functioning. SHGs formed are practising internal lending. In addition to saving and credit activities women are also empowered to participate in different village level meetings, discuss their problems and concerns, plan and implement the activities beneficial for them.
The Village level institutions formed use this as a platform to share the problems and explore the solutions of the problem. The village institutions are capacitated to identify the need and problems of individual and community as whole in participatory manner.

The emergence of leadership from the weaker sections affects the monopoly of few powerful leaders. Earlier all the decisions were taken by few people, the situation is changing and debate is held and constructive decisions are taken through active participation of all the members. Some time it negatively affects the interrelationship between various stakeholders in the village, which creates disputes, miss understandings and conflict situations in the village.
Communities organised in to groups, plan and implement developmental activities in a technically correct, socially inclusive and equitable manner. In this way a common sense of ownership, responsibility and harmony is built up within community and the development efforts become sustainable.

2. To create income possibilities for adivasi families mainly through restoration, conservation and improvement of their livelihood basis (water and soil).

During the year, project works have generated more than 52000 workdays for people living in these 8 villages. The average wage earning is minimum Rs85 per day. Besides this in treated micro catchments, water levels have increased. There is an increase in area brought under cultivation; wastelands too have become some what productive. Project activities have generated employment opportunities owing to extension and intensification of agriculture. Besides this livelihood opportunities have increased due to agriculture and allied activities.

Soil and water conservation measures planned and implemented by individual farmers in their fields have stopped successfully the erosion of soil and increased the soil moisture. This resulted in better use of land i.e. for increased production or for changing the cropping pattern. Vegetable plots of chilly, tomato and bringer, potato, turmeric, methi, etc are usefully grown in Chhitapal, Jungaliya, Mohpani, Khamha, Kareli and Umerjher by group of 3-4 small farmers each. Fallow lands were brought under cultivation after field bunding and improved varieties are sown by farmers for cultivation.

Comparison data of water levels in wells is also available, and is presented in annexure8. Increase in agriculture production, promotion of kitchen gardens and increase in income have a direct impact on food availability and thus reduces hunger. Besides food availability, awareness created through health related activities resulted in better care for health especially of women and children. Cultivation and consumption of green vegetables in kitchen gardens as well as in the farms is started.
Families who are not able to secure their livelihood from available resources and are dependent on labour have started thinking of alternative income options within village. Some of them have started the off farm/non farm income generation activities.

As work is available within village through Wasundhara project as well as through Panchayat, distress migration is reduced by 73% this year. On an average Husband and wife from one family regularly working on watershed work was able to earn Rs. 2800 per month. Some poor families, who were continuously involved in the project work, were able to save the money from their wages and invest for better living conditions or alternative income generation activities. It is also observed that in the schools in the project villages, there is an increase in enrolment of children in primary schools, especially that of the girl child. This is because of the reduced migration, increased awareness, motivation and peer influence of women SHGs.

Impact

People Impacted: 4281

People Getting Safe Drinking Water: 4281

The project villages are selected in backward and remote areas. The direct target group consists of the 919 tribal families in eight villages with a total population of 4281 people.

People Getting Other Benefits: 4281

Funding

Funded:
$265,634
Final Cost:
$266,469
$265,634:
Andheri Hilfe

Plan/Proposal