WHAT WE DO

  • APPROACH
  • LOCATION
  • THEMES
  • RESEARCH
  • SYNERGIES
  • POLICY ADVOCACY

APPROACH

Women Managed SHGs in the villages are the building blocks to execute all the programmes. The SHGs with the women are formed or evaluated to take up the existing SHGs keeping socio-economic backwardness and the homogeneity in mind. APPROACH The SHGs are provided with rigorous handholding supports in the initial months and gradually they are built to manage their regular activities. The prime focus is to deal with the SHGs to build in the mutual help relationship among members and facilitating them to work as financial intermediaries. Each individual undergoes the series of visioning exercises before they are brought into the livelihoods intervention arena. Facilitation of these visioning exercises with very advanced tools by the Professionals is non-negotiable. The exercises end up with some oath taking by the women members for the improvement of their ‘status’.

The annual livelihoods plan with the individual SHG household is facilitated to make and execute as per the schedule of the activities. While planning both SHG member and her husband do represent their family. On-farm and off-farm activities are planned depending on the family’s resources towards attaining a set annual income target for the family. APPROACHThe annual income target is set by the family as an outcome of a visioning exercise. The convergences and leverages from the Govt. programme is an output of the consolidated sub-sector of the SHGs annual plans. The plans are consolidated at the village and the GP level by the local teams to pursue the agenda with the Govt. together with the SHG members. For other interventions like child nutrition, executing the Swachh Bharat Mission Programme or building the common irrigation infrastructures are facilitated to be put in through SHGs. Finally , strengthening and building the Women Institutions are seen as the key towards sustainability of the initiative and attitudes. Once the primary groups are set to be in a ‘regular loop’, the major emphasis is given in strengthening sub-clusters and then clusters. The sub-clusters are the General Body for the clusters. In case of the older areas plan consolidation and regular monitoring takes place in the sub-cluster level, in presence of the respective/responsible Cluster Executive Committee Members-who are nominated from the sub-clusters. Following, is the operational diagram for building the institutions.

APPROACH

The clusters are envisaged to be federated into Block level collectives, depending on the activities. The collective model is in an experimentation phase and expected to be standardized ( doing collective business) by the end of 2016 in at least one operational district.

LOCATION

PRASARI prefers to work in a saturation mode instead of thinly spread across the villages. The Organization has been increasing its area of operation and till early 2016; the intensive working area is lying at a wide stretch of Gosaba Block of South 24 Parganas District, Sandeshkhali-II Block of the North 24 Parganas District and Mal, Matiali, Nagrakata and Dhupguri Blocks of Jalpaiguri District of West Bengal, a State in the eastern India.

Locations

DAZZLING DOOARS (JALPAIGURI DISTRICT)

Dooars - The place where nature has kept its doors open. Derived from the word 'doors' (doors to Bhutan), this region, located in the district of Jalpaiguri, forms a gateway to the hill stations of North Bengal, Sikkim, Bhutan & North-Eastern states of the country. The Dooars is famous for the tea gardens which were planted by the British. For working in the gardens, they imported labour from Nepal and the Chota Nagpur plateau and Santhal Parganas of central India. Most of the people found here are from ‘Adiwasi” and Nepali community. People here, depend on the primary sector of economy, viz. agriculture, animal husbandry etc. for livelihoods. Paddy, Jute, Maize, Wheat and vegetables are the major crops grown here with the availability of water whereas, rice productivity comes lowest after Darjeeling district in state. With 5 major rivers and an average annual rainfall of 3160 mm per year, the district Jalpaiguri struggles for the agriculture usable water for its major portion of year as the retention of water is very poor and the terrain contains a very steep slope with scanty soil depth. People in the tea garden lead their lives on ‘tea’ only and if the garden is declared as ‘distressed’ their lives are horrible. There are several such cases taking place in the region showing an increasing trend of the ‘incidents’ since 2000.

Coastal Sundarbans (South & North 24 Parganas Districts)

Sundarban’ is the largest coastal delta located in two 24 parganas of West Bengal. Name in Bengali has the meaning of sundar (beautiful) and ban (forest) but both the ‘beauty’ and the ‘forest’ are at stake, now. The area is densely populated as there is scarcity of the land which does get submerged in the monsoon and/or the adjacent lands are non cultivable due to high salinity and non availability of sweet water. The residents here are divided into three local classes: the oldest lot who set up the villages (includes localites and the tribals from Chotanagpur plataeue), some migrated from Bangladesh and the rest are originally from the Midnapores and settled down, later. Agriculture and allied activities are the main source of livelihoods but are in terrible threat due to intrusion of saline river water in the village , breaking the denuded embankments, in a massive scale in every 10 years. Chilli and water melon were the brand from sundarbans till 2009 but now is a history since aila took place on 25th May in that year. Average landholding in the area is less than equal to of an acre, but ‘holding’ does not make much difference as the area is mono-cropped (kharif rice; vulnerable due to water logging in the vegetative phase and at stress due to salinity in re-productive phase). A portion of 10% has opted to have their second home in the mainland around Kolkata and the rest has chosen male distressed migration , mostly to south India,as the principal source of household’s income. Among the all stated three categories above, A population which is defined as population living in ultra poverty, generally missed out from the main stream development program. This population is harder to access considering their presence in mainly geographical remote and harder to reach areas like the river beds (some are very near to the river and some are created due to the diversion of the flow path) not having any ownership record even of their ‘home’. Inclusion of them in any program is a big challenge. As per our rough estimation 10-15% of such population resides along with 35% - 40% other poor households. These ultra poor households mostly the women live their lives on catching and selling the shrimps from the saline rivers; where the earning per day varies from Rs.30 to as high as Rs.100,depending on the seasons.

The working area of South 24 Parganas is actually concentrated into the Gosaba CD Block and Sandeshkhali-II Block of the North 24 Parganas.

The Gangetic plane: Howrah District

PRASARI conducted a three years on-farm research programme at the Kalinagar GP of the Uluberia Block of the Howrah District. The research was in partnership with the Ambuja Cement foundation and Bidhan Chandra Krishi Viswavidyalay (BCKV-the state Agriculture University). The findings are detailed in the research chapter. (see research)

THEMES

PRASARI’s direct intervention adopts three different ‘securities’ as the thematic areas for intervention, namely:

The agenda, PRASARI started to work with was the ‘food security’ but over time as the reach and the scale of the interventions increased across the locations and the districts the PRASARIans found it easier to track their intervention around the stated three ‘securities’. Indeed, the first two has the direct linkage with the food security and ‘plus’ while incorporation of the third one completes the cycle of ‘well being’ for the households.

Water security

Intervention in water security mainly deals with the Agriculture-Water, may it be the management of surface water or the harvesting the rain water. Overtime PRASARI has developed expertise and detail knowledge on the ground water of West Bengal (see policy advocacy; working with FAO of UN and International Water Management Institute (IWMI) on amendment of Ground Water Act-2005 West Bengal). PRASARI has partnered with the ACWADAM in profiling the Ground Water in Sandeshkhali-II Block of North 24 Parganas and Matiali Block of the Jalpaiguri District, West Bengal. Participatory management of ground water is the agenda under perusal in the stated area.

Water Security

Dooars in Jalpaiguri receives plenty of rainfall (av. Annual 300 cm) but erratic. The steep undulating terrain and impermeable sub-soil creates plenty of irrigation scarcities though the area is criss-crossed with several natural rivers. Diverting the river water to the agriculture fields (that too using gravity only) is one of the best solutions for agriculture water in the area.

The Diversion based project is being implemented at Angrabhasha-1 GP of Nagrakata Block in Jalpaiguri District. The intervention is tapping the abundant surface water flow from river Diana and the command area is covering almost 80% of the agriculture land of the GP under irrigation water through a combination of regulating structures, buried pipe lines (315 mm dia, parallel main lines and 160 mm brunching) and open channel flows.

Water Security

Ex-situ Water harvesting structure to address salinity and water-logging in coastal delta

Low, land productivity, cropping intensity and agri-fisheries return from land and water in coastal Sundarbans due to periodical water logging in rain, acute salinity and non availability of sweet water supply in winter and summer and under utilization of land - water resources putting livelihoods and faith of small and marginal farmers at stake and forcing distressed out migration.

At the core there are two critical issues in the Sundarbans, namely water logging and soil salinity essentially to be dealt with towards ensuring first crop, sweet irrigation water for second crop and additional other incomes to retain the farming families in their villages and avoiding distressed migration. So the intervention has dealt with creating sweet rain water harvesting structures, shaping/raising the land bed and strengthening field bunds with the excavated soil thus ensuring easy drainage to counter waterlogged situation, reducing the salinity, integration of kharif rice (through SRI-system of rice Intensification) and residual mainland moisture use through mustard as second crop (using SRI principles), strengthened field bunds with two vegetables in a year (parhchaas-a common practice in other parts of the Sundarbans) and an ensured additional income from improved carp and prawn culture in the water harvesting tank. While treating a patch this intervention is creating an ‘artificial gradient’ towards generating surface runoff.

What does the treatment do?

  • It provides a gentle slope to facilitate runoff: avoiding water logging
  • Raised land bed facilitates leaching and surface wash of salinity-thus reducing it to a great extent
  • High field bunds protect the plots from flooding
  • Harvested rain water ensure staple and cash crops from beds and bunds
  • Fish is an assured source of income from Water harvesting structure
  • Almost a bigha of land has the potential to generate annual income of Rs. 50000,sufficient to prevent migration

Income Security

The income security theme starts from ensuring staple food through intervention in the food grain crop whereas the cash income for the households are taken care of the income from other activities mutually decided for intervention based on the family’s available resources and assets. Mostly, the households having/created the land for second crop are facilitated for vegetable cash crops on main lands. Those who do not have even the Homestead land is provided with the option of sack cultivation, we call it as landless garden. The livestock intervention has been proven to be a significant activity secures family’s income. PRASARI is the biggest SRI (System of Rice/Root Intensification) promoting Organization in West Bengal. Through the direct and indirect mode PRASARI has a reach of more than 19000 SRI households.

Following are some quick reflections on SRI analysis of the year-2015:

SRI-Intervention:

Yield pattern-South-24 Parganas:

In the Sundarbans the yield data from 1356 fields have been collected from arbitrary selected 5 mX5 m area from the plots and then converted into tons/ha. The kharif results from different delta are plotted as following:

Jalpaiguri

In Jalpaiguri the sample yield data have been collected from 343 fields across 2 blocks: Mal and Nagrakata. The incremental yield is the parameter under consideration.

Vegetable Intervention:

For the intervention in vegetables seasonal Cash Crops are selected depending upon Risk s and Grains. The risks and gains are sub-categorised into three different types as bulleted below. The gain parameters are assessed depending upon the trend of locally available vegetables; the data is collected from wholesalers. The risk component is assessed through-Market trend, Crop vulnerability and Less environment sensitivity of the crop.

The example is as below:

  • High Risk (HR) and Heavy Grain (HG) : Pointed Gourd, Tomato
  • Medium Risk (MR) and Medium Grain (MG) : Cucumber
  • Low Risk (LR) and Low Grain (LG): Pumpkin, Bottle Gourd

The intervention on landless gardens includes some more parameters and economics, unlike the traditional cash crops.
(See the landless garden power point presentation in the download section)

Livestock:

Scheduled Tribes; one amongst our target communities in Dooars and the Sundarbans are being looked after for breed upgradation in pigs while the SCs and the minorities are intervened with promoting goats (Black Bengal breed) and Country Chicks (Controlled and calculated risks and at per income with poultry if proper hatching cycle is maintained as against the bare minimum investments) as primary livelihoods activity for landless communities.

APPROACH

PRASARI intervened in livestock as an alternative principal option for livelihoods for the schedule caste, schedule tribe & minority families – mostly inhabitants of river banks who don’t have any scopes for agriculture either for absence of lands or due to saline water inundation Ayla in 2009 has devastated the major villages in the Sundarbans. Due to failure of the river banks sea water intruded into the villages and the agricultural fields experienced regular high and low tides almost for a month.

Temporary repairing of the embankments restricted further entry of the saline sea water but the agricultural fields left with very high degree of salinity leaving no scope for immediate agriculture. While exploring with the effected community and the PRIs, PRASARI identified intensive livestock management as an alternative of agriculture. Pig rearing as an activity was targeted to the tribal families (who have the experience of rearing country breeds over the years but left with a few due to devastating ayla) and the other activities like Chick Rearing, Goat or Sheep rearing etc targeted as an activity focusing the Scheduled caste and Minority families. Under the partnership with various Funding Agencies like SDTT, TrickleUP, FADV-Italy;PRASARI has successfully established these activities for the respective categories of the community.

Pig Rearing

As to address the Schedule Tribe families – Pig Rearing was installed with upgraded breed of Piglets. With due discussion with the PRIs and communities - a flock size of one doe and three sows maintaining a country-breed: cross breed ratio of 1:1 has been started. Each of the selected disadvantaged families are advised a flock size of four adult Pigs (1 male and 3 female).

Goat & Sheep Rearing

This has been considered as an activity for alternative and principal livelihoods generation for the families belonging to the scheduled caste category and Minority families. Each of the selected disadvantaged families are advised a flock size of four adult Black Bengal Goats (1 male and 3 female). In case of Sheep Rearing, massive importance was given to purchase local breed of animals in the same male female ratio. Sequential trainings started from the making of sheds, selection criteria of a good animal, food and vet-care along with marketization on right time etc all aspects was delivered as to diminish the mortality as well as contribute to incremental income to respective families.

Chick Rearing

This has been proven the most familiar activity of all categories of social classes. This activity was developed into two sub-categories -

  • (i) Country Chicken Rearing : a flock size of 10 birds(1 male and 9 female), suitable for both egg and meat and
  • (ii) Business of Curoiller Chicken : This regarded as a business with a folk of 40 birds (all female) suitable for quick return within 72 days through selling of flesh.

Promoting Bare Foot Technicians

As one of the Major innovation, for sustainable Livestock Management, that PRASARI has been developed is formation and nurturing a cadre base of the barefoot technicians towards providing local vet-care support to the cattle and bird rearing families. By withdrawing the expenditure on Prani Bandhu (local Government affiliated Vet-Care Service Person) this has been innovated to add a little more taste towards the contribution of incremental family income, by reducing the expenditure ‘arrow’. Now, in each hamlet - there are two BFT members are continuing more or less same activities like the Prani Bandhu’s but with much lesser amount of money. They were also tagged with the BDLO-of the respective Blocks as to procure necessary medicines and vaccines in the minimum Government rate.

Fishery

Fishery is one of the key livelihoods activities in the coastal Sundarban villages PRASARI has been working in. In Sundarbans almost all the households having a small homestead pond created due to the excavation of soil to build the family’s mud houses. There are varying pond sizes from as small as 700 sq. ft to 3000 sq. ft. Fish is an activity with which the people from the Sundarbans are ‘emotionally’ attached with. The intervention in fish actually targets to maximize the income from the water resources along with the ensured consumptions of fish by the family members.

In depth analysis of the popular practices in fishery revealed: carp culture (with dense fry population) is done generally for home consumption and sometimes people also grow prawns. The cost of fries that too purchased from anonemous sources is considered as the only input for the culture. Demonstration of standard package of practice, planning as per the resources and water quality and selection of different cultures and their introduction has been taken as the intervention points under the fishery thematic activity.

The intervention starts with treatment of the tanks (beds and bunds), green manuring, regular checking of the pH status and application of lime or FYM to balance the pH and checking the salinity status (using portable de-fractometers) over time. The fish rearing families belong to the SHGs which are used as the activity introduction and monitoring platforms. Gradually rearing families have been equipped in assessing the water quality using the pH strips and salinometers. Three modules have been designed based on the farmer’s inputs and salinity status of the tanks. Stocking size and density has been designed along three increasing degree of tank salinity categories are carp, carp prawn and carp, prawn and mullet. The prescribed feed component and schedule was different, indeed for three different modules. The feed application is essentially based on the body-weight and density calculations of the stocking over time, are monitored closely in every fortnight.

Module-I

The tanks under module-1 has harvested rain water and tending to lesser salinity even in the summer, indicated salinity reading of <3 ppt. Carp is the only stock being used under this module. The stocking size and density of average 5 inch and 40 kg./acre respectively.

Module-II

The tanks with the salinity ranging from 4 to 6 ppt are brought under module-II. The carp and prawn has been the mixed stock designed for this module. Under this module with the carp stocking density of 30 kgs/acre mixed with prawn density of 1200 pcs/acre of 4 inch size.

Module-III

Carp,prawn and mullet are mixed stocks for this module. The tanks having salinity range of more than 6 ppt are brought under this module. The stocking density for the tanks under module-III are : carp 24 kg/acre, prawn 1200 pcs./acre and mullet @9 kg/acre of 2 inch size.

Organico

One of the basic idea on which sustainable agriculture can be dreamed of; we have been promoting organic agriculture using Vermi-compost and EM (Effective Micro-organism Technology). These two activities are supporting the agriculture inputs for the farmers. PRASARI has been working with thousands of SHG households on organic agriculture inputs. Promotion of Azolla as livestock feed has been a very popular activity in Dooars and the Sundarbans getting self replicated in a rapid scale. This is increasing the weight of the eggs to satisfy the wholesale limit and laying of hens is increasing to the extent of 50% of the baseline, very easily.

NUTRITION AND HYGIENE SECURITY

CHILD NUTRITION

In PRASARI’s operational districts in West Bengal the health of ‘human resources’ is poor in general. Impact of it is critically visible with the most vulnerable part of the society: children. Families lack knowledge on the differences between the ‘stomach full meals’ and ‘nutrition full meals’. The common belief on nutrition is, they are available in the market and sold in shops in packets. The idea of growing nutrition in a systematic manner in their scanty resources have never been shared or demonstrated to them to establish the belief. Nutrition deficiency has never been raised here as a ‘concern’ in priority.

APPROACH

The ICDS programme run in the Schools but lack the participation and supervision of the primary villagers. The ICDS programme speaks of growing nutrient to ensure ‘nutrition sufficiency’ in very limited words as well as limited efforts have been provided. The govt. ‘kitchen garden’ programme initiated and withdrawn as this never came across with the ‘arithmetic’ of required nutrition value vis-à-vis the produced nutrition value for a child in the family. Non-establishment of the nutrition logic has led to de-popularization of the ‘scheme’ and needed a re-strengthening to prove its feasibility and self-sustainability of the nutrition idea.

To address this issue PRASARI carried out a study to measure the nutrient deficiency of the children in one delta of Gosaba Block of South 24 Parganas. Here the supply of nutrition from the common menu/food of the children has been calculated, seasonally as against the standard ‘daily value’ requirement .With this calculated deficits PRASARI designed a home based nutrition growing model depending on the resource availability with the families and crops are feasible in the area as shown below:

This is not a simple ‘kitchen garden’ model but the sources of nutrients to be grown and distribution of their area(within the available resources of the family) on which they will be grown has been calculated. The production of nutrient then calculated and tallied whether they suffice the nutrient requirements of the child. The ‘source’ of nutrients chosen is different for different seasons.

The daily nutrition consumption by the respective children have been tracked by their mothers on the ‘nutrition calendar’ (shown in the picture below) using tally marks in the specified boxes for the nutrient indicated by the picture. A bowl weighing 100 gms. Have been provided to the mothers of the intervening children to get an idea of the nutrition source fed to her child every day and put a tally in the nutrition calendar. The mothers need to attend regular weekly meeting in their hamlets to share the nutrition consumption of the child in the last week. The tally data thereafter converted into the numerical data by PRASARI volunteers to track the nutrition supply and at the end of the season analysis.

PRASARI has experimented with this idea with 200 selected malnourished children’s family for two years and successfully nutrition was grown. The tracked data by the mother then converted using nutrition calculator. PRASARI has been outscaling this model with over 500 children’s family in three different delta with the financial supports from TDH-Germany, Trickle-UP-USA and FADV-Italy and planning to outscale this model with 1500 children across three of its locations in the coming three years from 2013.

Hygiene: ODF

India is a country where millions of people go for open defecation every morning. Government of India has started many programmes over time to stimulate environmental sanitation and hygienic practices through reducing open air defecation. Now this effort has been reintroduced in a new shape as Swatch Bharat Mission but as like the other times it is facing a same kind of problem with demand creation despite of the major subsidised design. The Jalpaiguri area is not an exception. According to the Base Line Survey, 2012 (by the state Govt.) around 30,000 HHs in Nagrakat and Matiali Blocks are practicing open defecation.

On the request of the Block Development Officer, Matiali Block PRASARI is working voluntarily in two of the most remote and backward tribal dominated patches of the Block to motivate the people to create demand for IHHL through awareness camps and hamlet based planning through participatory mapping (showed in the pictures). While doing this work PRASARI has experienced few reasons which are hindering the smooth implementation of SBM in this region:

  • Lack of participation in planning process of the primary stake holders for whom this project is intended to
  • Lack of area specific planning for awareness generation
  • Not enough orientation of the village level service provider (motivators), indeed they are working as a ‘money collector’ not a ‘motivator’
  • Lack of faith of people the on efficiency of the implementer, generally private contractor or sanitary Mart
  • There is a special rate in MGNREGS and even in works conducted by the PWD and Forest Department for digging rocky soil but in case of SBM there is no extra money for the labour who is ‘biting rocks’. This is an exploitation and highly demotivating for the labour
  • Lack of sustainable system for solid waste management

With these identified issues PRASARI has just initiated the intervention through peoples’ collectives in this area, in 2016.

SRI-RESEARCH

The Three years research project till 2014 on System of Rice Intensification has been carried out jointly by PRASARI, Bidhan Chandra Krishi Viswavidyalay (BCKV) and Ambuja Cement Foundation (ACF). There are three different aspects for research: Weed, nutrition and Water Management.The Research lay-outs and designs are prepared at the BCKV and thereafter the field orientation programme is taken-up to detail the design to the Farmers. The implementing Organization categorically follow-up the activities with every farmers, standing on their fields. Any innovation planned to be introduced is followed by a farmers’ meeting and close handholding with the farmers. The aspect wise data is collected by using a jointly developed format by BCKV and Livolink Foundation (SRI-Secretariat). Apart from the observations the samples are also collected for analysis in the BCKV laboratories. The collected data put in the specific formats and the observations are shared back to the Research Farmers and cross-checked with their gut-feeling of best Treatment in all three aspects of weed, Water and Nutrient Management.
(For detail pl. refer to Final Research Report.pdf)

Research to counter salinity and water-logging in coastal saline delta

Key Problem

Agricultural lands in the coastal sundarbans located in between the homesteads and rivers. This agriculture land covers almost 90% of the village area-suffers from severe water logging in rainy season and soil salinity in the winter and summer. In the summer no crop can be grown as there are no sources of sweet water supply for irrigation. There are less or no provisions for surface water storage and the ground water from unconfined and semi-confined aquifers is salty, indeed.

The water logging and submergence of agriculture land is due to lower altitude of land beds and defunct sluice gates. The high flood level of the tidal rivers reaches much higher than the agricultural plots as described in the figure. The submergence thus spoils the only rice crops from most of the fields leading to staple food insecurity, as well.

The second reason of the more complication of the agricultural land is the salinity. Apart from the fields located adjacent to the river, salinity is not a very big problem for the kharif season but salts become active in the winter and salinity reaches maximum values in the summer. The reasons for this salinity are as follows:

  1. High rainfall and poor surface drainage
  2. High rainfall with poor internal drainage
  3. Soil is saline which is tight and impermeable in nature creates clay pans and hard pans .
  4. Ground water in the shallow aquifers is saline in naturet

The Solution

At the core of the entire discussion there are two critical issues namely water logging and soil salinity essentially to be dealt with towards ensuring first crop, sweet irrigation water for second crop and additional other incomes to retain the farming families in their villages and avoiding distressed migration. So the concept would deal with creating sweet rain water harvesting structures, shaping/raising the land bed and strengthening field bunds with the excavated soil thus ensuring easy drainage to counter waterlogged situation, reducing the salinity, integration of kharif rice (through SRI-system of rice Intensification) and residual mainland moisture use through mustard as second crop (using SRI principles), strengthened field bunds with two vegetables in a year (parhchaas-a common practice in other parts of the Sundarbans) and an ensured additional income from improved carp and prawn culture in the water harvesting tank.

What does the treatment do?

  • It provides a gentle slope to facilitate runoff: avoiding water logging
  • Raised land bed facilitates leaching and surface wash of salinity-thus reducing it to a great extent
  • High field bunds protect the plots from flooding
  • Harvested rain water ensure staple and cash crops from beds and bunds
  • Fish is an assured source of income from Water harvesting structure
  • Almost a bigha of land has the potential to generate annual income of Rs. 50000,sufficient to prevent migration

The water harvesting structure (WHS) is named as “five-square” model designed for a bigha (1/3 rd of an acre of land) and would provide good water supply for the treated plots, detail given in the table-1; calculated as per the water availabilities and crop water requirements. The dimension of the structure (55 ft X 55ft; five square depicts 55 ft.) for one third of an acre of the land may vary with the plot dimension. If calculated; structure requires 20% of the plot size(i.e. one fifth of the plot). For any plot with length-L and width-B, the structure’s length-L1=L/2.5 and width B1=B/2. So the WHS area will be L1XB1=(L/2.5)X(B/2)=(LXB)/(2.5X2)=Plot area/5. The size of the structure has been decided based on the discussion with the farmers and the size they intend to. There are three different layers each of 3 ft. depth.

Impact (A case history of Phani Mondal of Kochukhali)

The five square models have been put in across three Gram Panchayets of Gosaba block with 58 farmers to treat the total area of 61 bigha (20.33 bigha) under the MGNREGA IBS scheme. Though the contiguity of the treatment could not be properly ensured (yet needs understanding of PRI about the watershed approach) but each of the five square model is itself treat the respective plot. Following are the sample data on different impact from a farming household. Phanindranath Mondal is a marginal farmer of Kochukhali Village of Kochukhali Gram Panchayet in Gosaba block.

He lives with his wife and three daughters. Indurani (wife of Phani) is a member of Radharani SHG and thus the family came in touch with the volunteer Organization PRASARI. The Kochukhali GP constructed ‘five square model’ of 4 kotta for his 1 bigha (.33 acre=20 kotta) of land from the MGNREGA-IBS scheme.The impacts in the field is captures with this family’s data. The GP has invested an amount of Rs. 41000 to construct this structure.

Environmental Impact

The data have been recorded across a couple of parameters namely water logging and salinity to track the impact of the treatment for the plot.

Water logging observation :

Water Depth, (15 Days interval) 2012 and 2013

Date

Pond

Field

Outside

30th, July – 2012

3ft.

*

*

15th, August – 2012

4.5 ft.

*

*

31st, August – 2012

7ft 2 inch

*

4 inch

15th, September – 2012

11ft. 4 inch

8 inch

2 ft.

30th, September – 2012

10.5 ft.

6 inch

1 ft 2 inch

15th, October – 2012

9ft.8 inch

4 inch

8 inch

30th, October – 2012

9 ft 2 inch

3 inch

7 inch

16th, November – 2012

8 ft.8 inch

1 inch

2 inch

30th, November-2012

8ft 2 inch

*

*

17th, December – 2012

8 ft

*

*

31st, December – 2012

7 ft 11 inch

*

*

15th, January – 2013

7 ft 1 inch

*

*

29 th, January – 2013

7 ft 6 inch

*

*

14 th, February – 2013

7 ft 2 inch

*

*

22 nd, February – 2013

6ft 8 inch

*

*

12 th, March – 2013

6 ft 2 inch

*

*

28 th, March – 2013

5 ft 8 inch

*

*

15 th, April – 2013

5 ft 2 inch

*

*

30th, April – 2013

4 ft 8 inch

*

*

13th, May – 2013

0#

*

*

30th, June – 2013

8ft

3 inch

11 inch

30th, July – 2013

9 ft

3 inch

1 ft 2 inch

# Pond water pumped out for fresh harvesting
* No Stagnation

The aforesaid table clearly indicates that the treatments have significantly works against water-logging and submergence of the fields in the monsoon.

Field Salinity

Water Security

Salinity data* of the treated vis-à-vis untreated field

Date

Treated Field salinity (%)

Outside the field the salinity (%)

Decrease in salinity( %)

30.11.12

4

3

-33.33

17.12.12

5

4

-25.00

31.12.12

5

5

0.00

15.02.13

4

5

20.00

29.10.13

5

6

16.67

14.02.13

5

6

16.67

22.02.13

6

5

-20.00

12.03.13

7

7

0.00

28.03.13

8

8

0.00

15.04.13

9

8

-12.50

30.04.13

10

8

-25.00

13.05.13

10

9

-11.11

30.06.13

5

6

16.67

03.07.13

3

4

25.00

26.07.13

3

3

0.00

14.08.13

2

3

33.33

26.08.13

2

3

33.33

10.09.13

0

3

100.00

30.09.13

0

3

100.00

17.10.13

1

2

50.00

*Data collected using portable de-fractometer

As in the year one the excavated soil deposited on the field bunds and the field bed the salinity percentage is higher than the untreated fields but after the rain wash it has ‘magically’ started reducing with respect to the adjacent untreated fields.

Socio-financial impact

Impacts in families work opportunity/engagement in the year livelihoods and quality of life, role of women, income of the family sub sector wise

Water Security
Water Security

Institutional Impact

  1. The entire funding from MGNREGA was put in common infrastructures (mostly on roads) or rarely to the common tanks as the Grampanchayet was not having the options known for IBS. The five square models have come up as a widely accepted solution in Coastal delta to be implemented in MGNREGS. PRI is replicating it at its own as has been widely preferred by the farmers.
  2. The design of ‘step cutting’ with 1:1 (V:H) has been adopted in MGNREGS (South 24 Parganas dist) once this has been demonstrated in the field.
  3. The GoWB has issued an order (Memo No : 3779R D-P/NREGA/18B-01/14 ) to adopt the solution in the coastal delta of West Bengal under MGNREGA.
  4. Landless families given the land in patta along with the excavated five square model to set an example by the govt. in Gosaba Block of South 24 Parganas District.

Integration and Inclusiveness

NRM based livelihoods are always vulnerable in the coastal delta. The Five Square model has option wise integrated rice with the bund vegetables in Kharif, fish (carp and prawn) side the tank, and again field bund and bed vegetable with the harvested water. This integration again has reduced the risk for the activities as they are wide-spread.

Role of women and SHGs in putting in five square model and the use of it

Lessons learnt

  • Salinity and water logging can be treated in-situ
  • PRI needs demonstration of activities and demo should generate the demand. The science should be lucid enough to make PRI leaders easily understand the technology.
  • Evidence based perusal ensures acceptance of technology to the stakeholders in all levels
  • For land water husbandury one should follow the contiguous treatment approach to get best results
  • Land water husbandury yet generates competition against distressed migration
  • Govt. needs to issue the successful activities in the form of the order for the outscaling
  • Assets do not demonstrate full potential of its use in the very first year of construction, rather it evolves with time and more value addition is done

The Way Forward

  • Under BRLF five square model has been set as target for out-scaling.
  • The GoWB has issued the order for incorporation of five square model in MGNREGA IBS
  • The meetings have been finalized with DNOs of the coastal district to prepare the action plans, where the Other Block and PRI functionaries will be exposed to the demonstration and will incorporate five square models in their plans.
  • Expecting a huge replication in the coastal delta following the entire ‘catchment treatment’ approach

SYNERGIES AND COLLABORATION

Mainstream collaboration: PRASARI always work for the betterment of the rural poor in collaboration with the PRI (all three tires), Line departments such as Dept. of Agriculture, Dept. of Animal Husbandry, Dept, of Fisheries, Block Development Office, Water Resource Investigation and Development Department, Department of Irrigation and Waterways, Mission Management Unit of NRLM (Block as well as district) and other government departments. PRASARI aims to help the women SHGs to converge from various programmes like MGNREGA, BGREI, ATMA, NFSM, BRGF and SBM etc. more ...

Sprinkler sets from Agri Mechanical wing (WRDD,GoWB) to SHGs with PRASARI

The main leverage source has been the MGNREGA programme from the Govt. for Construction of Irrigation Infrastructures. The Annual leverage for the purpose from MGNREGA is to the extent of 35.36 lacs for the purpose of either harvesting rain water or diverting river water for agriculture use.

The largest collaboration with line Dept and PRI has taken place with Agri-Mechanical Wing of Water Resources Investigation and Development Department of GoWB and ensured an annual leverage of micro-irrigation equipments worth Rs. 70 lacs.

The most regular leverages are the cattle and bird protection medicines and vaccines from the Livestock Development Department of GoWB. The SHGs looked after by PRASARI have been the biggest outlet of almost all the livestock facilities in PRASARI’s operating Blocks.

[Apart from convergences PRASARI has made a positive collaboration with the Gram Panchayat and Block Development Office in two Gram Panchayats, i.e. Bidhan Nagar and Matiali Hat, of Matiali Block regarding the fruitful implementation of Swatch Bharat Mission (SBM). This is the very first step in such programme for PRASARI where the organization is acting voluntarily to aware the people about negative impact of Open Defecation (OD) and motivating them to ensure the family contribution for smooth implementation of the Individual Household Latrine (IHHL) as per programme design in two remote tribal villages of these two Gram Panchayats where the Government and PRI extensions are finding it ‘Too hard to bite’.]

POLICY ADVOCACY

Some of the Policies being changed and PRASARI has the contribution in changing :

1. Amendment of Ground water Act-2005 and othe Agriculture Water policies and efforts(2009-12) :

2. Environmental solutions for the Coastal delta (2014-16) :

Agriculture Water Management Solutions

(Please refer to the detail report-IndiaWB dialogue compiled report- in the download section)

Bill and Milinda Gates Foundation funded a research project on finding Agriculture Water Management Solutions in six countries. PRASARI in collaboration with Food and Agriculture Organization of United Nations (FAO of UN) and International Water Management Institute (IWMI) has been working on dialogue process with key stakeholders at State and regional level in order to define AWM solutions for smallholders in West Bengal.

The events are briefed as following:

Hosted by PRASARI and is a state level S.R.I. learning forum of S.R.I. promoting and facilitating agencies, academicians and scientists towards out-scaling S.R.I. in West Bengal. The vision of Banglar SRI is to forge a broad alliance of organizations and collective action, from the village level up to the whole state, and across all sectors – public, private, academic, and grassroots, with civil society providing ‘glue’ for their cooperation – to banish food insecurity and create economic opportunities on a widespread basis as all citizens in West Bengal can benefit from increased productivity of our land, labor, water and capital resources."Banglar SRI" members sit in a regular interval to be updated on the various experiences from different corners of Bengal and new developments around SRI as shared by the members. Banglar SRI also envisages inclusion of SRI as a special thrust programme by the State Govt. of West Bengal like may other States in India towards addresing the food insecurity issues of small and marginal farmers in the State. With this objective Banglar SRI is in continual dialogue with State Agriculture Ministry and relevant Govt. Line Departments. Under the dialogue process members have hold a series of dialogues with concerned Agriculture Minister of the earlier Govt. and his departmental beurocrats. Banglar SRI organized a huge SRI-Symposium in the State Head-quarter in collaboration with Bidhan Chandra Krishi Viswavidyalay (SAU) and the Directorate of Rice Development-Patna, under the support from SDTT towards bringing all the SRI-actors from different corners of the State and the district and the state Officials of the GoWB from the relevant Dept. Banglar SRI has adopted strategies to resume the dialogue process with the New Govt. in the State towards outscaling SRI in the State under the Govt. programmes.

Banglar SRI has influenced the state and the Centre’s policy towards out scaling SRI in a great extent and By design,would be losing its relevance as the Govt. picks up SRI as a mainstream programme.