REACHA oriented the faculty at Yug Nirman Mission, Shantikunj, Haridwar, one of our distinguished Institutional Member (IM), for setting up a ‘rachnaatmak prakosht’ (Creative Cell) at Shantikunj, for training farmers, government functionaries, volunteers of NGOs and individuals in Self-Help-Group (SHG) formation, mobilisation of micro-credit for local development, rain-water harvesting through water-shed development in rain-fed areas & comprehensive rural development (REACHA undertook a project in 1996-97 with support from NABARD, under RBI, for the above programmeand
REACHA took up the greening of barren lands at Bhatti Mines near Delhi in 1992-93.
India Literacy Board (ILB) is organizing one training camp every month for “Rural Managers” for the youth of the whole of Lucknow district w.e.f January, 2002. ILB is also an important IM of REACHA.
During the year 1996-97 NABARD provided sanction for a grant of Rs. 4.75 lakhs to REACHA to organize a trainers’ training programme for 10 persons at Manavoday, Lucknow, and six 6-day training camps at Shantikunj, Haridwar, at the cost of Rs. 75000/- per session (@ Rs 2500/- per trainee, for 30 trainees per session representing one district at a time) starting from October’96 and leading to March’97 at a frequency of one session per month, to train volunteers in family welfare and healthcare, and for organizing Self Help Groups (SHGs) in UP and MP to work in watersheds under National Watershed Development Project for Rainfed Areas (NWDPRA), and to assist them to become bankable institutions at the grass-roots level under the Bank-SHG linkage scheme of NABARD.
The trainees were provided a training manual on SHG formation that was developed by the REACHA Cell, Shantikunj. The manual was appreciated by NABARD, and presently it is in great demand amongst social activists and parijans. As against the stipulated 10 persons to be trained at Manavoday, Lucknow, as trainers, only 9 trainers could avail this opportunity, and grant for this training was passed on to Manavoday directly by NABARD.
The break-up of participation in each of these sessions was as follows:
The six-month pilot project focused on 7 districts of UP and 4 districts of MP. These districts were as follows: Rajgarh, Raigarh, Rajnandgaon and Durg from MP and Saharanpur, Jalaun, Tehri, Pithoragarh, Jhansi, Barabanki and Sitapur from UP.
10 volunteers from the best watersheds of two districts were selected for each session of training at Shantikunj. This process of selection had been initiated by REACHA prior to the submission of proposal to NABARD. It had planned and motivated its volunteers to the extent of 50 per session as per prior discussion with NABARD officials so that as soon as sanction was provided by NABARD, it would be in a position to get the programme started at short notice. However, NABARD in its approval only sanctioned the training of 30 volunteers per session. Shantikunj met the expenses incurred on the additional trainees during the course of each six day training programme upto March, 1997. REACHA then requested NABARD to consider its request favorably for further sanction @ 2500/- per trainee to meet the expenses incurred on the additional trainees for the entire Pilot Project on the argument that a right amount of encouragement from NABARD to REACHA, which was fully dependent on the former for funding this programme, could be in the form of compensation for the extra trainees. REACHA firmly believes that the volunteers which arrived in excess of the 30 numbers finally stipulated by NABARD, and subsequently got trained at Shantikunj, Haridwar, was an indication of the level of motivation amongst it’s field workers, a consolidated list of which was furnished to NABARD at the end of the programme for necessary consideration. The total number of persons trained at Shantikunj during these six sessions was 258.
The selection of participants was undertaken as far as possible according to the following criteria:
Best watershed in each of the district was first identified.
25 villages were then identified in that watershed.
5 male and 5 female volunteers were identified from this watershed, at least one of which was a Pradhan. The volunteers also included Mitra Kisans under NWDPRA.
That block was selected where best results were obtained in a watershed in the implementation of NWDPRA Projects in terms of participation of beneficiaries in project implementation.
1 ANM, 1VLW and 1 employee of the Co-operative Deptt. was selected as far as possible.
1 representative of the Village Industries Department was identified.
1 Technical Assistant of the Soil Conservation Department engaged in implementing NWDPRA Projects in that district was identified.
5 Parijans of YNM were identified who would be in a position to spare time for pursuing implementation of NWDPRA Projects as well as in organizing SHGs.
STATE / REGIONAL LEVEL
5 officers from State Govt. were identified for each session-representing deptts of Agriculture, Co-operatives, Forests, Family Welfare, Women and Child Development and Village Industries.
5 dedicated parijans of YNM were identified from the concerned Regional Chapter for each session.
Under the project sanctioned by NABARD, REACHA was required to submit three statements to the bank in order to keep it fully informed. This included training of 10 faculty members at Manavoday, Lucknow (Statement I), progress of training sessions at Shantikunj, Haridwar (Statement II) and SHG formation with linkage to banks at the field level (Statement III). A Project Co-ordination Committee was also set up under directives from NABARD, which was required to monitor the progress of group formation every three months.
During the REACHA NGB meeting held on 9th November, 1996 the Chairman elaborated that REACHA was concentrating on making this effort an important step towards preparing the trainees on various facets of NWDPRA, SHG-Bank Linkage and self-help, as well as Family Welfare and Healthcare. He further elaborated on how NWDPRA was different from other government programmes in terms of being a peoples’ programme with government and NGO participation, with the eventual objective of increasing the foodgrain production of the country to meet the requirements of its rapidly increasing population. This is to be brought about by greening the rainfed arable area (which constitutes approximately 70% of the total arable area of about 140 million hectares, producing only 40% of its foodgrains, annually) through sustainable agriculture by scientific watershed management.
Thus, REACHA gradually oriented the faculty at Yug Nirman Mission, Shantikunj, Haridwar, over a period of time.
And NABARD sponsored programme was the genesis of the present Rachnaatmak Prakosht at Shantikunj, Haridwar.
Over the years, this Center at Shantikunj has become self-reliant. REACHA gets associated as and when requested. Presently, every month one training camp of 9-days duration is being held at Shantikunj, starting on 21st of every month, involving a batch of about 50 volunteers.
As a follow-up of this training activity, ILB, Lucknow is organizing one training camp every month for “Rural Managers” for the youth of the whole of Lucknow district w.e.f January, 2002. Over 50 to 60 youth, both men and women are receiving training in these camps every month. So far over 2000 men and women have been oriented in this manner and these youths are being motivated to take up essential development activities in their respective villages. The Block Pramukh of Sarojini Nagar Block, as well as other important functionaries of the Panchayati Raj System are suitably backing this effort. Whenever a group of such rural managers are active in Lucknow district a visible transformation is noticeable in rural areas.
Training in NGO management by organizing one camp per month for volunteers of various NGOs is also going on since the last two years at Literacy House, which has evoked very enthusiastic response from voluntary agencies. Over 200 volunteers have so far been trained in various aspects of NGO management.
REACHA also initiated a discussion in 2005 with IGNOU to develop a diploma course on Voluntarism in association with Dr. Baba Sahib Bhimrao Ambedkar Open University, Ahmedabad.