NERSWN having been situated in one of the most backward district in the country itself coupled with repeated conflict and large scale internal displacement, it had no choice but tasked itself with improving the livelihood scenario of people. NERSWN is making best of its endeavours through taking farm and non-farm activities as path to improve livelihood scenario in the region.
Weaving Unit for Women in Distress: With the help of Paul Hamlyn Foundation, UK, a weaving unit named Swrkhi Weaving is successfully up and running. An RCC weaving unit and 19 looms have been installed. Presently, 21 women who have faced traumatic experiences have been trained and employed as weavers. Each woman earns Rs. 160 to Rs. 200 per day. Until now, this program has been functioning in collaboration with The Action North-East Trust. Moreover, efforts are currently underway to make it an independent unit by setting up a craft store in Kokrajhar town.
Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) Distribution: As the ethnic conflict victim families starves of cash after losing everything having A total of 120 individuals from different communities benefitted from this scheme supported by Oxfam India. The major productive activity encouraged in this project was rearing livestock for business.
Capacity Building Training for Farmers’ Club: Two capacity building trainings organized in the preceding year for members of the Farmers Club. The first training focussed on the Club’s Management with discussions revolving around its vision, mission, aims and objectives. Moreover, the roles of the Executive Members and management of the Farmer’s Resource Centre were detailed. The second training was delivered by resource person Mr. D.S. Negi from Navdanya Trust, Dehradun on Sustainable Farming. This training emphasized the importance of organic farming and its role in protecting the ecosystem.
Exposure Trip for Farmers’ Club: This year, 20 farmers from Jhawarbil and Sapkata were taken for exposure visits to the field sites of SeSTA, an organization which majorly focuses on livelihood. Commercial vegetable production, paddy cultivation and organic manure production through Vermi- Compost were some of the techniques displayed to participants. In the last couple of years, these exposure visits have been one of the key reasons that have helped transform a place like Jhawarbil into its present form; from a frustrating dry sight to a progressive green pasture, it has made a considerable departure by drawing motivation from the success stories of farmers who were visited in different regions.
Livestock based Livelihood Action: 28 families were given access to piglet loans from a Piglet Bank. The success stories from these families will be big step in the community considering livestock rearing as a viable option.
Self Help Group Promotion: The Self Help Group initiative flourished in the previous year. Two SHGs that were set up in Jhawarbil are functioning optimally, despite not being linked with any bank or NRLM. The savings and credit activities are regularly carried out by women members. Both the SHGs have also been doing share-cropping of sesame, jute and black gram. In one cropping season, the groups have earned from Rs. 7,500 to Rs. 10,000 as profit. In Sapkata, 6 SHGs have been promoted, out of which 5 groups have been federated and linked with NRLM. All of them have received revolving fund of Rs. 15000 and in addition have received Rs.50,000 as a loan from the bank. In a cash-starved area, inflow of such considerable amount of money has infused a new enthusiasm which NERSWN is intending to tap and use for improvement of the livelihood conditions of the families.
Commercial Vegetable cropping: One focus of the NERSWN team in the previous year
was promotion of commercial vegetable cultivation. In the Rabi season, more than a 100 farmers were mobilized under the project and of these, 60 were supported with different varieties of seeds by the Farmers’ Club. The varieties were mainly cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, nolkhol, tomato and varieties of leafy vegetables. But due to unforeseen conflict in the area, not much income could be generated in this endeavour. Although, the farmers were happy with the production, the vegetables cultivated were consumed during the relief
situation by the villagers. For Kharif season, 62 farmers were chosen by the Farmers Club. The farmers were supported with seeds of different vegetables such as lady’s finger, chilly, ridge guard, sponge guard and long bean. The crops have been grown well and some farmers have started selling initial produce. Farmers are expecting to get good returns from this season’s cultivation
Staple Food Crop Cultivation: 130 farmers have been motivated to cultivate staple crops with modern methods to enhance production. Each of the farmers have on and average reported increment of 2 quintals of paddy with the new method such seeds treatment, nursery
preparation, line sowing, weeding, controlled irrigation and some of them going for full fledged
SRI method. Promoting Horticulture Based Livelihood: This year, 64 farmers were supported by Farmer’s Club. The selected farmers were provided saplings of betel nut, coconut, teak, gambari and black pepper. Hearing success stories of these farmers, many others have been inspired to pick up horticulture based production
Long Term Livelihood planning: Though there was no systematic activity organized for long term planning, NERSWN this year has gathered valuable plethora of ideas, skill and knowledge on the livelihood front. It has also hosted a 2-days consultation of livelihood promotion network anchored by KABIL in which representatives from Kabil, B-ABLE, Grameen Sahara, Aajgar Social Circle, Dia Foundation, MASK and PIRD were attendees. All its livelihood intervention was carried out with generous support from National Foundation for India, The Hans Foundation and Oxfam India.