The eco-village concept which draws major ideas and inspiration from Mahatma Gandhi’s idea of Gram Swaraj is being up-scaled to more villages with support from Karl Kubel Stiftung, Germany. It aims at Creating self-reliant, ecologically balanced, economically self-sufficient, harmonious villages, in 3 Panchayats of two districts in Odisha. and covers 1356 households in 3 Panchayats of two districts in Odisha. The project aims to help people develop successful practices for conservation and preservation of the natural resource base of the village,
The project seeks to help the community move towards food and livelihood security through conservation and regeneration of the eco-system, combined with improved land use for sustainable and ecologically sound cultivation.
The effort begins in the villages through the eight-point charter of agreement within the village community. This is as follows:
- No alcohol,
- No thumb impressions and All children in school
- Controlled grazing of Cattle
- Unity and harmony in the village.
- All effort for establishing and maintaining a community grain bank.
- Mahila Mandal to take care of the project funds.
- The premises of the village must be kept clean and hygiene levels maintained.
- Conservation and preservation of forests and local species of trees and plants
The project titled, ”Addressing Land Degradation and Food Insecurity : Eco-village Development with Small Farmers in Tribal Areas : Cost Effective Approaches with Small Farmer Communities, seeks to help tribal communities restore their eco-systems, while helping them have sustainable livelihoods. It is thus an integrated landscape approach that helps villages improve their governance of resources, develop denuded commons, learn and take up sustainable and organic agriculture as the first step to ecologically sound land use, and develop various livelihood options as per the needs and capabilities of different families.
An extensive study, involvement with people, for a long time and assessment of the needs of the area covering 15 tribal villages in Kashipur and Thuamulrampur blocks have facilitated the project design which is tuned to meeting the challenges of poverty alleviation, among the marginalized and landless families. During the village meetings, the people especially the women expressed their difficulties due to crop failures and as well as the hardships faced due to extensive loss of forests which lead to drying up water sources near their homes and forced them to trudge long hours for firewood. Therefore they expressed to improve their life condition of the villages through Family Farming and optimum utilization of village commons.
The project, funded by Karl Kubel Stiftung (KKS), Germany supports Agragamee’s objective of developing a cluster of eco-villages in one of the most neglected tribal region of the country. It would aim at securing sustainable livelihoods and improved standard of living of the people in the target area. This will have direct impact on health, social life and poverty reduction. Natural resources like land, water and forest will be managed to sustain the main livelihood resources of the target population. Establishment of farm families, development of commons, training and capacity for the tribals, Diversified agriculture production, promotion and protection of the environment through agro-ecological practices and supply of solar energy, portable drinking water, and provision of income generation sources to sustain the livelihood to alienate poverty.
Development Objective : To ensure the livelihoods enhancement, quality organic horticulture production and poverty reduction of tribal communities through Family Farming of 400 tribals in 400 acres.
Key Activities of the Project :
- Eco Village Development
- Community Infrastructure Development
- Training and Capacity Building
Under this project, various capacity building activities in terms of organising orchard development, training to tribal stakeholders , land levelling, soil and water conservation and management, application of appropriate technologies in organic farming, food processing, integrated pest management in orchards, improving health care measures facilitating the process of fusion of modern and traditional approaches to marketing etc are the major activities. This will expedite and strengthen the ongoing empowerment process of and by CBOs, Mahila Mandals, SHGs, producers groups, farmers organisations, Joint Forest Management Committees and Panchayat bodies. Convergence of different development schemes and approaches of Govt. will be taken up simultaneously to strengthen the effort of project.