Making sense of the ground realities
I have been working on the Community-Led Landscape Management Project (CLLMP) in Meghalaya for one and a half years now. The project is being funded by the World Bank. We, at Sattva, were onboarded by the Arghyam Foundation to help the Government of Meghalaya reimagine the approach to capacity building of the community to sustain their natural resources.
CLLMP focuses on leveraging the strengths of the community to develop a sustainable natural resource management system. The aim is to restore the degraded landscape, build climate resilience and generate livelihood opportunities. The fundamental strategy adopted in the project is to build a community cadre, including Master Trainers (MTs) and Village Community Facilitators (VCFs) at different levels to support the village committees to create and implement Community Natural Resource Management Plans (CNRMPs).
During the pandemic, all the project stakeholders agreed upon an adaptive capacity-building strategy that enables CLLMP to continue without disruptions amid a national lockdown. The strategy focuses on using digital platforms to continue training and capacity building of Master Trainers, a cohort of natural resource management professionals expected to spearhead community training and facilitate first-mile implementation of the project.
We rolled out digital platforms like Participatory Digital Attestation (PDA) app and Guided Mentoring. PDA App helps trainers schedule and organise training; Guided Mentoring provides a virtual platform to the community to increase interactions with experts after the primary training.
In the past few months, while working on this project, I got the opportunity to visit the villages in six districts of Meghalaya in Khasi and Jaintia Hills. These visits helped me experience the ground reality and made me understand the aspirations of the community. We realised that using digital applications (PDA and Guided Mentoring) and virtual call platforms to meet regularly with the district team officials creates a sense of pride and camaraderie among the community members towards their work in Natural Resource Management (NRM). They spoke enthusiastically about how their plans and inputs towards NRM helped improve the water conditions in their village. The community volunteers also aspired to become NRM resource persons for other neighbouring villages.
The field visits also helped us understand the challenges of Districts Project Management Units (DPMUs). Teams were struggling due to the lack of human resources and internet connectivity. We tweaked our planning approach as per the ground reality and made it more inclusive which helped the DPMUs to develop the ability to resolve as many challenges at their levels as possible.
Understanding the on-ground nuances helped us in the Programme Management Unit also; we were able to support CLLMP’s state team to formulate approaches and action plans that addressed the pain points on the ground while considering the wellbeing of people. The inputs helped the government leadership to take a step towards decentralising the district to state data sharing through use of online sheets. This helped the state team to shift their primary focus from data gathering to identifying problems and their solutions.
As a social sector professional, the field visits helped me see the human side of what impact looks like and how it is created.
Sattva has been working with various non-profits and social organisations as well as corporate clients to help them define their social impact goals. Our focus is to solve critical problems and find scalable solutions. We assist organisations in formulating their long-term social impact strategy by strategically aligning with business to provide meaningful solutions to social issues.
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