Micro Watershed Management with Local Initiatives (MWS Project)
What is MWS Project?
The project titled Watershed Management with Local Initiatives (MWS Project, for short) was implemented in three micro watersheds in Srikakulam, Andhra Pradesh, India by Mura no Mirai (formerly as SOMNEED) and SOMNEED India from 2007 to 2010 under JICA Partnership Program. The project aims to enable Community Based Organization (CBO) to mobilize, utilize and manage resources (both human and natural) through the capacity buildings of CBO in management and planning for community development. To achieve the purpose the project targeted 1) establishment and capacity building of Community Based Organizations (CBOs) and 2) improvement of water source and top soil condition.
What is Micro-Watershed?
When it rains, the rainwater flows from ridge (drainage divide) and is gathered on the slope of the mountain (catchment area). The flowing rainwater drains or seeps into streams, ponds, and lakes, and then flows out into a larger river.
An area from ridge (drainage divide) to edge (outlet ;e.g. a river’s flowing out) which one community can manage is called a micro-watershed.
Who We Serve?
The MWS Project locates in Srikakulam District, Andhra Pradesh, India, and covers 183 families from two Tribes finally: Malay Savara and Kapu Savara. Those families mainly live in six hamlets that locate in three micro watershed areas:
– Kerashingi watershed (hamlet name; Pogadavalli)
– Maha Lakshmi watershed (hamlet name; Mamidijola, Godiyapadu, Poolakonda, Tallapadu)
– Gottupalli watershed (hamlet name; Butalaguda)
The Situation Before Mura no Mirai Came
In Srikakulam area, local residents who live in tribes account for 6% of the total population of Andhra Pradesh (before bifurcation of Telangana in 2014). About four or five decades ago, the population of hamlets in mountainous villages was small, and the local residents living on shifting cultivation (slush and burned cultivation). However, since many situations had changed around the 1970s, including the government’s scheme to forbid shifting cultivation, the rapid increase in population, expansion of the farming land to meet the population growth, etc., the destruction of forest became much faster than its regeneration. The lack of appropriate management of forest also degraded the natural resources, leading to the scarcity of water and surface soil.
Though facing such severe environmental situation, the local people still wished to continue to live in their villages with financial and technical support from both government and NGOs. However villagers had less idea or concept in the aspect of Watershed, instead of individual treatment work, for instance control of soil erosion, plantation, etc. Therefore, in order to sustain their settlement in the homeland, it was necessary for the local villagers to gain the capacity to develop and manage natural resources by themselves.
Process (Key Activity)
|August 2007||The launch of MWS Project|
|Mura no Mirai (formerly as SOMNEED) and its local counterpart NGO, SOMNEED India (hereafter SOMNEED meaning the combining of the two organizations) had transact walk from mountains to paddy fields with villagers while asking about plant resources to villagers of from elder to younger generations. Without mentioning the project title or key words, Project team offered to villagers if they wish to work together with us to fulfill their hope (to make and keep “good” village environment to next generations).|
|September 2007||Establishment of the Pogadavalli Village’s Plant Dictionary|
|Villagers decided to make their own plant book after watching SOMNEED staff’s presentation of plant resources in the village based on transact walk. During the discussion, the villagers selected and recorded 99 types of plants and modified the format roughly designed by staffs into the most useful pattern for themselves.
When the Plant Book was completed, the Pogadavalli Villagers shared the idea and experience to Mamidijola Village and Gottupalli Village (several hamlets) through trainings conducted by Pogadavalli trainers for several months afterwards.
The Plant Book of each hamlet was made up.
|February 2008||Re-recognition of Natural Resources|
|Along with Plant Book making activity, the villagers realized “what they had” and the importance of recording and managing plant resources. Besides, they researched other resources, water and soil and realized that those resources as well decreased along with changes in vegetation.|
|April 2008||Trainings about necessary activities and structures for managing natural resources|
|During the following months, SOMNEED conducted several series of trainings that facilitated villagers to think about significant activities and installations of structures and its maintenance and management for sustainable utilization, as well as the reasons they are needed. For that, villagers visited several villages where management was successfully done and not done.|
|July 2008||Introducing the Concept of Micro Watershed|
|After understanding of present situation of natural resources and how changes happened since decades ago, villagers decided to tackle with regeneration and conservation of natural resources. And then, finally, the concept of watershed was introduced by SOMNEED through several trainings.|
|August 2008||Trainings about prior survey on socio-economic situation for making the Action Plan|
|The trainings was designed to make villagers enable to conduct research by themselves. Contents include research questions, format, and review progress.|
|October 2008||Inauguration ceremony of Training Centre|
|November 2008||Trainings on making the Action Plan (short term)|
|SOMNEED facilitated villagers to make their own Action Plan for 4 to 6 months especially renovation of irrigation ponds. The Action Plan includes detail activities, duration of each activity, location, responsibilities, necessary equipment / infrastructure, expected outcome and cost estimation.|
|January 2009||Execution of Work based on Action Plan|
|For the first time villagers started the work based on the Action Plan made by villagers. It continued till April or May 2009 and the villagers in charge maintained and coordinated every work process. SOMNEED monitored the work progress and records.|
|April 2009||Trainings on making Action Plan (1-year term)|
|Based on the experience of first Action Plan villagers started to make Action Plan for the fiscal year of 2009. This Action Plan contained all activities for soil and water conservation such as pond reinforcement work, plantation, control of soil erosion, improvement of soil moisture, checking velocity to control gully, etc.|
|July 2009||Plantation for forest regeneration in water catchment area|
|September 2009||Training on community’s fund management and policy making|
|During work villagers noticed that they need to maintain the structures after completion of project and it requires some fund. To make fund villagers started collection of some portion of labour charges and saved it in the common bank account. SOMNEED started the training on how to manage the common fund based on villagers’ request.|
|October 2009||Execution of Work for soil and water conservation|
|Based on the Action Plan of FY 2009 villagers were busy with execution of many works for soil and water conservation. All work did not require heavy machines but local skills. For example to measure the contour line for contour bunds set-up, villagers made portable “A” shaped frame by wood.|
|February 2010||Action Plan for FY2010|
|April 2010||Training on by-laws making and management of Community Based Organization – Watershed Management Committee|
|Each hamlet organized the community based committee to manage its micro watershed and SOMNEED carried out series of trainings about bylaw making and executive management for months since they had started common fund.Each CBO (watershed management committee) held the first general body meeting to get consensus on their bylaws and representatives. Leader as well as executive members consisted of youths who digested watershed concept and showed strong initiatives through activities.|
|June 2010||Execution of Work|
|Villagers made the detail design for Plantation, and Executive members coordinated villagers to collect seeds from their own forest, and they also marked the plots in water source area and catchment area to monitor the germination rate, survival rate, growth condition, etc. regularly.|
Activities and Achievements
- Mura no Mirai (formerly as SOMNEED) and SOMNEED India (hereafter SOMNEED meaning the combining of the two organizations) enabled six tribal hamlets under three micro watershed to make Action Plan for treatment works in their watershed, including budget calculation, leading to local people’s collective activities for natural resource management.
- Each of the five hamlets established a Community-Based-Organization named Watershed Management Committee and made its own by-laws in their tribal language by themselves for further activities and maintenance of installations.
- The community-based monitoring system was implemented, and CBOs are able to monitor and maintain infrastructures that were constructed during the project.
- SOMNEED published “Plant Book” according to the baseline research. The Plant Book lists 100 kinds of plants in the local area, with their botanical name, local names, as well as their photos and local usages, etc. The book not only reminds people of the extinct species and species in danger but also documented plant knowledge disappearing among young generation.
- Local community conducted forest regeneration activities with 239,432 seedlings and saplings, focusing primarily on water catchment area.
- Project supported several treatment programs in the three Micro watershed areas, including contour bunds (Total 12,470 running meters), Gully Plugging (or Check-Wall) (Total 1,396.75 cubic meters), Catch Pits (Total 13,706 pits), De-silting of Pond (3,668.21 cubic meters), etc. , to prevent soil erosion, as well as to improve the volume and quality of soil and ground water.
- The Training Center was constructed in Pathapatnam, Srikakulam District.
- Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Partnership Program
SOMNEED applied JPP schemes for the second time following PCUR-LINK Project
After the project is over, the community-based organization—Watershed Management Committee continued implementing the Action Plan. In order to further facilitate local people to manage and make effective use of the natural resources, Mura no Mirai started an enhancement project, as shown in MWS project phase 2.