NATURAL RESOURCE MANAGEMENT
WSSS with the status of an NGO and Voluntary Organization has been pioneers in many fronts with a history of more than three decades to its credit. Its strength has always turn out to be in innovations, introduction and familiarization of new and relevant concepts, models, technologies and its replication and in being a fore runner in sustainable initiatives in development. Over the years and with the changing times, WSSS has taken different roles of benefactor, catalyst, activist, animator, facilitator, service provider etc. At awareness and organizational levels, the Society has done a lot apart from introducing several innovations in the Natural Resource Management (NRM) sector and popularizing them by implementing specific projects and programmes. The Following are the major programs implemented by WSSS in NRM Sector.
WATERSHED DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS
WSSS has undertaken 06 Watershed Projects with the financial support of NABARD and Western Ghat Development Cell in Wayanad District. The location of Project area is Alattil, Ellumannam, Ayanivayal, Mattilyam, Porlom and Nellery. WSSS Implemented Western Ghat Development Projects with the collaboration of Edavaka and Thavinjal Grama Panchayath since 2002.Under the NABARD Holistic Watershed Development Programme (NHWDP) 04 Watershed projects covering 2124 ha are being implemented in Thondernadu Grama Panchayath. The projects are implemented in a holistic manner on a cluster basis with the focus on family based livelihood activities in the project areas expected to bring significant relief to farmers.
WADI : A HOLISTIC APPROACH OF TRIBAL DEVELOPMENT
Under NABARD Tribal Development Fund (TDF) 203 acres of WADI Project for 203 families have initiated by WSSS in Thondernadu Grama Panchayath since 2010 and a new WADI Project with 730 Families in Thavinjal Grama Panchayath. WADI is a comprehensive Tribal Development Programme focusing on sustainable development, while conserving the natural resources. The goal was to ensure food security, community health, empowerment of women, education for children, functional literacy for adults, prevention of distress migration, and improved quality of life without disturbing their culture and religious sentiments.
The main activity was to promote income generation through establishment of cash crops on 0.4 ha of degraded land by each family. Other activities included shaping of hilly terrains by establishing series of contour bunds and silt pits to prevent soil erosion and for moisture conservation, establishment of cash crops like Coffee, Pepper, Cashew etc as main crops, cultivation of seasonal food crops in the inter space between cash crops and fencing of these orchards by planting saplings of various plant species useful as food, fodder, timber, fuel, herbal medicines, along the boundary.
While promoting these economic development activities, it was also necessary to promote various community health care activities such as immunization, development of clean potable water resources through chlorination of open wells, medical camps, Anti alcoholic activities etc. Along with this, awareness was created about family welfare issues relating to problems of malnutrition, use of alcohol, neglect of maternal and child health and sanitation. These activities kept the participants healthy and enabled them to devote adequate time for development of their orchards. As most of the tribal did not have easy access to Public Health Centers and hospitals for medical treatment organized several medical camps as part of WADI Project.
Self Help Groups of women and men belonging to homogenous socio-economic segments were formed to plan and implement the programme with mutual understanding and support. Women groups also took the responsibility of organizing micro-credit and development of various non-farm enterprises. These people’s organizations took the lead in procuring inputs and to coordinate marketing of their produce as well. Reduction of hardship, particularly of women, was initiated through easy access to drinking water, fodder and fuel. Joint bank accounts were established in the name of both husband and wife to facilitate the women to take up financial transactions independently.
With series of training activities and timely technical support from the project staff, these participants were able to establish their food and cash crops making good use of the available natural resources. While the cash crops started yield after four to five years, the income from food crops started from the first year itself. Thus, these tribals, particularly the women, stopped migrating to other places. This ensured good health and instilled confidence in them, while their healthy children could also attend schools.
Various supplementary income generation activities such as establishment of plants nurseries, mushroom production, processing of local fruits and vegetables, establishment of goat, poultry and dairy herds further enhanced their income by 40-60%. In this process of development, the tribal families realized the importance of forests and natural resources in directly influencing their agricultural production. As cash crops orchards did not require intensive tillage operations, the programme ensured improvement in soil and water conservation, resulting in a clean environment and improvement in the bio-diversity.
NATIONAL AGRICULTURE INNOVATION PROJECT
Wayanad Social Service Society is fortunate to become a partner in the National Agriculture Innovation Project constituted to take up multi enterprises farming models to address the agrarian crisis of Wayanad district of Kerala. This is an integrated project for implementing innovative technologies for boosting the productivity of traditional crops/ agri. based enterprises of the area, in a multi-enterprises farming concept. The project is implemented in three clusters in the district. The selection of the cluster was made, based on the backwardness of the area, which is decided based on per capita agriculture income, sex ratio, percentage of tribal population and literacy rate. The most backward clusters were selected. The project applies the concept of achieving sustainable livelihood through economically viable, ecologically safe and socially acceptable technologies. The project is implemented in Consortium mode with Kerala Agriculture University (KAU) as the lead centre and five partners including Wayanad Social Service Society.