Field Facilitation Initiatives
The Centre for Advanced Research & Development believes in Community-based Natural Resource Management approach to reduce rural poverty. The sustainability of this approach largely depends on the empowerment of the communities for sharing the costs and benefits at all levels. The strengthening mechanisms have thus been conceived as to revolve particularly around the income generating activities of the community, with judicious and systematic development of field-based portfolio of action steps and empowerment programme for the community generally and specifically for the women and the marginalized communities.
We initially started our grassroots experiments in three distinct locations across Madhya Pradesh:
Poverty initiatives were started in areas where there is high incidence of poverty among scheduled castes and backward classes in feudal Malwa region (Ujjain, Shajapur, Agar, Dewas). The CARD team started facilitating the process of empowerment of Common Interest Groups (CIGs/SHGs) village institutions (Cooperatives and VDCs) of marginalized communities in entrepreneurship development / livelihood promotion through self-help and farm sector development. The Centre has in the past worked in partnership with World Bank (DPIP), Department of Science & Technology, Government of India, ICRISAT, Department of Agriculture and Solidaridad for sustainable agriculture. Promotes FPOs with NABARD support. CARD has also initiated PPCP (CSR) based development model with GAIL, IOCL, ITC and Suzlon. It also run skill centres with support from NSDC, NULM and HSBC Skills.
Drought Mitigation experiment on Watershed Management guidelines is intervened in Bhil tribe dominated Jhabua and Dhar districts of Western MP region, which is continuously facing the onslaught of desertification. For the purpose programme is being facilitated under Rajiv Gandhi Watershed Development and Management Mission (MP). Another initiative in this region is CCF, India supported Child Development project, which focuses on child centred community development. Water and sanitation are now a new focus area.
The eastern region of Madhya Pradesh (Mandla and Dindori), which is rich in natural resources and inhabited largely by Gond tribe. Here CARD has been actively involved in value addition to the local non-timber forest produce, through the self-help groups. Some of the Technology Management Packages (Honey, Natural Fibre, medicinal plants conservation and food processing) have drawn regional/national recognition. CARD has also facilitated a network of SHGs with Tejaswani, SGSY, TRIFED, etc. CARD is promoting woman farmer based sustainable agriculture with MKSP (MoRD), SDTT and Ekgaon Technology. FPO formation and skill based livelihood training is a new initiative.
These were our fields of early experimentation for future strategy formulation and learning lessons for designing improved strategies and policies. Later CARD spread to several locations across India with support from government, CSR and international donors. As of now we are active in around 30 locations across the States of MP, CG, Delhi, Punjab, Haryana and Maharashtra. Participation being its core value, CARD is acting as a facilitator rather than an implementer of development process.