|Gujarat - Activities
ACF’s journey in Kodinar began 17 years ago. Large scale water management projects were undertaken during 2009-10. The first phase of the Bhekheshwar dam is expected to be completed soon. The dam, constructed across the Singoda River, is the largest project undertaken by ACF in partnership with the Irrigation Department, Government of Gujarat. On completion, it will have a capacity of 35.31 million cubic feet (MCFT) and will benefit about 1067 hectares of farm land in the coastal villages of Kodinar block. The construction of a large check dam on the Hiren River was taken up this year in partnership with the Irrigation Department. Besides these projects, ACF also undertook the construction and renovation of 10 check dams during the year and these benefited several farmers.
The construction of the Ogee spillway with a capacity of 57.64 MCFT at the Muldwarka tidal regulator was completed in 2009-10 as was the interlinking of Saraswati River with Vadodara Zala tidal regulator through a 4.5 km long spreading channel was completed in Sutrapada taluka of Junagadh district. A similar project interlinking the Devka and Khari rivers in Veraval taluka with a 5.5 km-long spreading channel is nearing completion.
Percolation wells have been constructed and these have been useful in recharging ground water. The construction of Roof Rain Water Harvesting Structures (RRWHSs) is a long term solution to drinking water problems. RRWHSs are a boon to home-makers who are saved the labour of carrying and storing water for their families. hundreds RRWHSs have been constructed in the region so far.
Under the Kharash Vistarotthan Yojana (KVY) project being implemented in partnership with Sir Ratan Tata Trust, various water resource management programmes like construction of percolation wells, construction of check dams, renovation and deepening of ponds and runoff diversion systems to recharge existing farmers’ wells were carried out. A salinity ingress prevention and mitigation initiative has been undertaken as part of the KVY project in 22 coastal villages of Kodinar, Sutrapada and Jafrabad talukas.
The Coastal Area Development Programme’s objective is to develop comprehensive water and sanitation facilities in 30 coastal villages of 3 talukas i.e. Kodinar, Una and Sutrapada. This project is partnered by Water and Sanitation Management Organization (WASMO) and Coastal Salinity and Prevention Cell (CSPC). Village-wise action plans were developed for 30 villages for the distribution of drinking water and sanitation.
The establishment of the Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK) at Kodinar has strengthened our agro-based livelihood programme. The objective of the KVK is to make new developments in technology readily available to farmers so as to build their capacity. The KVK team engages with the community through on and off campus training programmes, live demonstrations and on-farm research. Gaps in the technology available were identified through a participatory rural appraisal programme and baseline survey.
During the year 2009-10, 961 farmers participated in 34 on-campus training programmes. Additionally, 2315 farmers benefited from 96 sessions conducted on-field, where they were able to view live demonstrations, gain first hand know-how about the latest farming techniques and witness the results for themselves. Over the year, 573 live demonstrations were organised to create awareness about integrated nutrient management and integrated disease management in groundnut, wheat and sugarcane. The benefits of modern farming methods were also demonstrated on green gram, castor and sesame. The KVK organised demonstrations for the farmers on various crops, horticulture and renewable energy sources, covering an area of over 239 Ha and involving 276 farmers.
The KVK regularly conducts on-farm testing for the farmers. Observations are carried out scientifically and assessed and remedies suggested. Last year, testing was carried out on the groundnut crop to improve the management of stem rot disease. The team of scientists regularly undertakes visits to farmers’ fields. Over 120 visits were carried out by the scientists, benefiting 243 farmers in 2009-10.
Krishi Vigyan Kendra has used 20 Ha of land at Ambujanagar to set up a commercial-cum-demonstration farm. Various technologies, crop varieties, cultivation techniques and integrated pest, disease and nutrient management methods were showcased at the demonstration farm in small pockets called “crop cafeteria”. Besides this, some demonstrations like vermin composting and integrated bio-nutrient management (IBNM) are carried out at the KVK farm.
ACF made several other interventions in agro-based livelihoods. Horticulture (including mango, coconut and sapodilla)was promoted in the villages as a source of sustainable income. Besides horticulture, kitchen gardens were also promoted. During 2009-10, 1,100 kits containing seeds of various vegetables such as okra, beans, gourds and chillies were distributed.
In micro irrigation, an important accomplishment was the introduction of drip irrigation in the water intensive sugarcane crop in 2009-10. Drip irrigation will reduce the consumption of water by 50%, simultaneously increasing the yield by 20% - 30%. It will also bring in other benefits like energy saving and lower cultivation costs. Sprinkler irrigation is also being promoted and these systems have shown positive results.
The mobile dispensary makes its rounds to the villages providing healthcare to 24 villages. Professionally qualified doctors accompany the van and the Village Health Functionary (VHF) is also in attendance. Complex cases are referred to hospitals for further diagnosis and treatment. The 21 Village Health Functionaries(VHFs) working in the villages provide healthcare services at the doorsteps of the villagers at unscheduled hours. They conduct khelwadi sessions with the school children for health and hygiene education through storytelling, games and songs. They also contribute to government supported immunization and vaccination programmes. The VHFs are closely monitored by ACF and are provided with regular training and capacity building. The VHFs have formed Water, Health, Education and Sanitation Committees in all the 12 project villages to strengthen the Panchayat and mobilise the community to demand better services. In 2009-10, several health camps like eye camp, general health camp etc were organised to provide simultaneous health care to clusters of villages.
ACF has a robust HIV/AIDS prevention programme that is targeted at high risk groups like truckers, drivers, labourers as well as students, youth and the general community. One on one discussions and group sessions were held in addition to message-bearing sign boards displayed in the area. Condom demonstrations were held for truckers and drivers to arm them with the right means to avoid sexually transmitted and HIV/AIDS infections.
Creation of women’s Self Help Groups(SHGs) is a continuous activity at Kodinar. The SHGs were mobilised to inculcate the habit of saving. They were trained in micro credit needs, bank linkages, grading, availing of loan facilities and developing a credit rotation plan. A meeting was facilitated between bankers and SHGs to identify the schemes available and the groups’ requirements. Some groups are also linked with banks and are receiving loans. Other training programmes for women included agriculture, animal husbandry, low water-intensive cropping patterns, horticulture farming and micro-irrigation. Potential SHGs were screened by banks for grading and linkages.
ACF has extended its reach to 13 villages in Surat.For the benefit of the villagers, Health camps were organised at regular intervals in collaboration with Surat Municipal Corporation and METAS Mission Hospital, Surat. Further, speciality health camps such as ophthalmic, diabetes and HIV camps which are also organised. Health education is an important component of our health programme. Our intervention centred on women and girls who were trained on issues like balanced diets, ante- and post-natal care (ANC/PNC) and prevention of anaemia. Fifteen such sessions were conducted for over 1450 adolescent girls and women.
In a recent development, ACF has partnered with Apollo Tyres Foundation to start a new initiative on HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention. Surrounding areas like Magdalla port, with a floating population of about 1200 truckers will also be covered by the project. The project will mainly focus on high risk populations like truckers and drivers. One-to-one and group sessions, poster competitions, video shows, screening of HIV/STI patients and distribution of condoms will be some of the methods employed to address the problem.
More than 200 patients, including employees, truckers, drivers, labourers and community members were screened, treated and counselled for sexually transmitted illnesses (STIs).
Twenty-two peer educators were trained as volunteers to impart information on HIV and AIDS. Mass awareness was generated on World AIDS Day through street plays, road shows, rallies and an indoor cultural programme organised in collaboration with Lok Vikas Sanstha and Prashanti Charitable Trust.
The Non-Formal Education (NFE) centre at Dumas village continued providing education to 20 children. The children were provided with a conducive learning environment and were taught in a child-friendly manner. Ten anganwadi centres were provided with teaching materials like books and toys. Wall and board painting was undertaken in six primary schools. The educational messages displayed serve as a useful resource for teachers and students. A special programme on environmental awareness was held for 900 students from 9 schools. Infrastructure was upgraded in schools. Five toilet blocks were built in schools which lacked these facilities. Thirty girls from economically backward families were given scholarships by ACF to enable them to continue their studies. The Village Education Committee (VEC) took on the role of monitoring the school and maintaining the quality of education. The VEC also has regular meetings with the parents.
Villagers from five villages were given kitchen gardening kits. Over 110 such kits containing seeds of okra, pumpkin and cluster beans were distributed and live demonstrations were also carried out. Vegetables were cultivated by the farmers as nutritional supplements for their families. Surplus vegetables were sold to augment the family income. Farmers were taken on exposure visits and trained in nutrient management, vegetable cultivation, plant protection, early diagnosis and treatment of plant diseases, animal husbandry and dairy farming. Over 900 farmers benefited from the training sessions. About 200 farmers were taken on seven exposure visits during 2009-10.
Irrigation technology was adopted by the farmers of Jiyav and Abhva villages. Five farmers installed drip irrigation systems in their vegetable and mango orchards. They reported lower water consumption, reduced manpower requirements and ease of application of fertilisers.
Animal health camps were conducted to address common conditions like foot and mouth disease and carry out de-worming, vaccinations and infertility treatment. Over 900 cattle were treated by veterinarians at these camps, and basic knowledge shared with the farmers. Five special training sessions were held, where 190 farmers were taught how to increase milk yield, prevent disease and provide supplementary nutrition to their cattle.
The total number of SHGs in Surat now stands at 25. The groups are adept at regular saving and inter-loaning. At present they have collected a corpus of Rs 4.77 lakh. The SHGs are monitored and trained by ACF, for their smooth functioning. They are being groomed to take on income generating activities. Eight SHGs have already begun income generating activities like managing shops and sewing. Five exposure visits were organised for the SHGs to Samul Dairy (Surat), AKRSP (I) (Mandwi), Navsari Agricultural University, Songadh Mahila Vikas Mandal and Shroff Foundation (Vadodara).
In infrastructure development, the flooring of 48 houses belonging to Harpati tribals was undertaken in Gavier village. Their erstwhile kaccha floors were a source of disease and infection. A ghat was constructed at Khajod village to provide women with a convenient space to wash clothes. A community centre was renovated in Dumas village. An overhead water tank was built at Bhatpur village under the Swajadhara Scheme, which will benefit 200 households and 2 Roof Rain Water Harvesting Structures (RRWHSs) were installed in the primary schools at Budiya and Abhawa villages.
Sanand is one of the newer locations of ACF. In agro-based livelihoods, several farmer training sessions were organised at the village level and covered topics such as micro-irrigation and organic farming. External resource persons were invited in many training sessions and the farmers got an opportunity to learn about new technology and hold discussions with experts.
Paddy and wheat are the two main crops of the area. Systematic rice intensification (SRI) was introduced during the kharif season. Farmers were given training by an expert and 24 farmers went on an exposure visit to AKRSP (Netrang). Following the visit, 17 farmers adopted the technique on their fields. These farmers also used vermi-compost and reported a 20% improvement in quality and yield. A new variety of wheat, GW366 was introduced during the rabi season. Researched varieties of castor, such as Pukar-27, Western-6 and Avni-41 were demonstrated on small plots. A total of 117 agricultural demonstrations were conducted in the reporting year. To develop horticulture, good quality saplings of mango, sapodilla, amla, lemon, bamboo, pomegranate, custard apple, guava and coconut were distributed amongst 85 farmers. A handful of farmers have also adopted vegetable cultivation as a commercial activity. For the first time in the villages, sprinkler irrigation systems (68)were installed in 2009-10. Further, 23 farmers adopted the small bucket drip system and 2 farmers adopted vermi-composting on their farms in Virpura village.
In all seven cattle treatment camps were organised in collaboration with a district level polyclinic at Iyava, Virpura, Vasna, Charodi and Khoda villages. Village level awareness camps were also held.
ACF collaborated with Saath to initiate a skills development centre in Sanand. The centre trains unemployed village youth to equip them to find suitable employment. 3-month BPO, ITES and CRS training programmes were held. Sixty-two students were trained, and 17 have found placement.
In the villages of Sanand there isn’t adequate groundwater for irrigation. Ponds in the villages are used for multiple uses,including irrigation. Since the last four years excess water of the Narmada canal has been depositing water to these ponds. ACF increasing the storage capacity of these ponds by deepening them. Ponds at village Iyava and Virpura have been recently deepened and now have an increased capacity of 1.94 mcft. A farm pond at Iyava was constructed and a check dam was constructed on one of the canals of Narmada River.
Health camps were held throughout the year, including multi speciality camps. Several villagers have benefited from these camps and severe cases were referred to local hospitals for further treatment. In collaboration with Environmental Sanitation Institute, ACF initiated the Nandini Service on Wheels for the villages for the first time in 1009-10. This is a bus that tours the villages and raises awareness about safe drinking water, health and sanitation issues, and also provides basic healthcare to the people. The bus spent 3 days at Khoda and Charodi villages, and the Nandini volunteers, along with ACF staff organised various activities at each location. The activities included demonstration of soak pits, cleanliness drives, skits and screening of documentary films.
Iyava and Charodi villages routinely face water logging during the monsoons and are prone to disease. As a preventive measure, insecticide was sprayed in these villages before the monsoons. The people of Khodiyar Nagar in Khoda village have difficulty reaching the village during the monsoons due to lack of a proper access road. The difficulty became so acute that the matter reached the Mamlatdar, who had to walk almost 400 metres to meet the people. Grants for an access road have now been approved.
Villagers went on exposure visits to Sarthi at Godhara and Mahila Samakhya at Tanakhla to study the use of herbs for the treatment of common illnesses. Following the visit, discussions were initiated with the Block Health Office at Sanand and ASHA workers of 6 villages were trained on the subject. Several households still do not have indoor toilets. ACF and Total Sanitation Campaign worked jointly to provide 52 sanitation units in 5 villages. Three safai samitis, formed with the help of the village youth were created to take care of cleanliness in the villages.
Self Help Groups(SHGs) at Sanand have begun micro-saving and a few have begun inter-loaning. These 14 SHGs now have a strength of 210 members. Since most of the groups are rather new, they were given training on how to organise monthly meetings, enforcement of group regulations, record keeping and inter-loaning. Exposure visits were organised for 145 women in 2009-10 who learned about group dynamics, income generating activities and other relevant topics.
Ambuja Cements Ltd.(ACL) has cadre of civil engineers that continuously imparts training to construction workers across India as a part of their customer support programme. Considering the experience in the field of construction industry, the Tribal Development Department (TDD) invited ACL’s CSR function- Ambuja Cement Foundation to set up few Skill Development Centers for the construction sector. ACF began by undertaking a few pilots mason training camps in the predominantly tribal area of Dahod Taluka. For the training programme ACF took care of the community mobilization part and ACL provided the technical inputs in the curriculum. ACF engaged with the villagers and after group and individual meetings, individuals were identified for the training. Most of these persons were tribals who frequently migrated to cities in search of work as labourers on construction sites.
In Phase I of the mason training programme, 11 batches were organised between July 2012 and January 2010. In this Basic Course 352 persons were trained. In the ongoing Phase II of the programme, scheduled from January 2010 to December 2011, both the Basic Course and the Advanced Course were offered. So far 4 Basic Courses have been completed and over 110 persons trained. One Advanced Course of 22 persons has also been completed. At the end of Phase II, over 700 persons would have been trained through the two courses.