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Livelihood and alternative cropping systems are being developed as part of our programs. Through exposure visits and training sessions, farmers are made aware of environmentally sustainable agricultural techniques. In several of our target villages organic farming through the use of vermicompost is catching up in a big way. Farmers undergo regular training so as to improve their farming techniques.
Discipleship Centre responded almost immediately to the Bihar floods that occurred in 2008 as the result of a breach in the river Kosi embankment. Our efforts were initially focused on the people living in four relief camps comprising of 1450 displaced families from Saharsa District. DC started a child care centre adjacent to each camp and more than 500 children attended these centers. Two meals were provide to those residing in the camps.
Education is an important development tool and our community development programs are incomplete without a study center in each of our target villages. The focus is primarily on those children who don’t attend formal schools since education is a basic right. Drop outs/ non school- going children are coached at the center up to the entry level and enrolled back into the mainstream. The Bal Panchayats (Bal Kendra) encourage children to gather together and take decisions for their common good, acting as change agents within their villages. We have created an awakening in communities towards education. We make every effort to develop the inherent talents in children through extra curricular activities.
Girl children destined to a life of ignorance and illiteracy are now breaking social norms and are active participants in the literacy programs with several of them having gained access to formal schools.
Discipleship Centre health programs are community based, conducted through volunteers from the respective villages/ urban slums. They are trained through the project to spread awareness and to network with other government health services so that the facilities reach the people. We are empowering the people to be responsible for their health, by enabling them to work towards good environmental/ health practices.
The Disaster Risk Reduction programs of DC tackle the problems of flood prone villages in Bihar and Orissa through the dual process of capacity building and physical interventions. In the drought prone areas of Rajasthan, DC has revived the traditional methods of water harvesting like ponds, check- dams and underground cisterns. More land is now cultivated with considerable increase in agricultural yields. This is having a positive impact on poverty reduction.
The communities are now able to adopt DRR interventions and there is evidence that the primary beneficiaries are training others as well. The success stories of others have resulted in more people adopting the implementation of DRR interventions. VEF (Village emergency Fund) is established to provide monetary support as the result of capacity building. A sense of ownership of the community is seen as they contributed human capital resources in the infrastructural works and also through the extra care they have taken to maintain the Ponds, cisterns, culverts, approach roads. The development of networks with the local level Govt. has enabled the villagers to obtain various schemes to their villages.
The villagers started influence the Govt. departments to undertake works that were sanctioned by state and national government. Reaching the end of the project, the issue of sustainability is of utmost importance. Although there was little time to implement a thorough exit strategy to ensure the sustainability of the project, DC field staff met with all the disaster management committees to review the community action plans and plan the way forward.