With a history of over three decades AF has undergone several evolutions in its approaches and phases
Area Development Approach (1987-95)
Area Development Approach (1987-95)December 31, 1995
During the early years, AF focused on Natural Resource Management and drought mitigation based on an Area Development approach. It implemented extensively, soil and water conservation measures in lands belonging to Dalit and tribal farmers. It soon realized that working only with Dalits and their scattered land holdings alone would help them to an extent but cannot be an effective strategy to upgrade and conserve the environment and combat drought in desert like Anantapur District. So, AF began to work with whole village and all farmers with an “Area Development Approach” focusing on Soil & Moisture Conservation, Rain Water Harvesting, Restoration of Traditional Water bodies, Vegetation improvement, horticulture etc.
Village Watershed Development (1996-2002)
Village Watershed Development (1996-2002)March 31, 2002
Integrated watershed development interventions and promoting village level community institutions started emerging as focus for AF since 1996.
By about 1995, AF realized that “Area Development Approach” was splitting and scattering environmental development activities and efforts across a large area in the district. This realization led to ‘village watershed’ concept through which entire land in the village as micro-watersheds was taken up for integrated watershed development in a participatory approach. This micro-level and integrated ridge to valley participatory watershed development approach (adopted with flexibility in Anantapur region where there are multiple slopes and rolling topography) in selected villages has created better impact in terms of enhancing natural resource endowment and increasing carrying capacity of natural resources in watershed villages and also organizing village level community institutions at village level for sustainable management. RDT was implementing Integrated Watershed Development in about 200 villages and it was the largest watershed development programme in India undertaken by an NGO.
During this phase, AF further strengthened it’s participatory approach and technical competencies in order to meet various challenges posed by the different socio-economic and topographical settings. Thereby AF emerged as an organization known for it’s participatory approach, and excellence in technical quality.
RDT Ecology Centre becomes autonomous and is called Accion Fraterna Ecology Centre (2002)
RDT Ecology Centre becomes autonomous and is called Accion Fraterna Ecology Centre (2002)December 31, 2002
Upto the year 2002, AF was an integral part of Rural Development Trust. In 2002 it was separated from RDT and made an autonomous organization with an independent office and campus located at upparapalli road. It was done inorder to decentralize and specialize in ecology and environment. However, it remains and continues to be a sister organization of RDT and retains its roots and motivation.
Model Watershed Village Development (2002-07)
Model Watershed Village Development (2002-07)April 1, 2007
The next phase in the growth of the new autonomous organization went a step further to focus more on developing ‘Model Watershed Villages, a concept that went beyond watershed activities in order to mobilize and organize the human and institutional resources in a village for its holistic and sustainable development. It was in this phase that AF actively engaged in strengthening village level watershed institutions like Gram Sabha, Watershed Development Committee (WDC), Village Development Committee (VDC) and linking them with other village level institutions like Grama Panchayath, Water Users Association, Livestock Centres, Schools, Balawadis, Primary Health Centres etc.
AF Ecology Centre was working in about 100 villages with a Model Village Watershed Development approach spread over 15 Mandals of Anantapur District.
Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Livelihoods (2007 onwards)
Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Livelihoods (2007 onwards)December 31, 2007
AF Ecology Centre shifted its programme focus from watershed based to Sustainable Agriculture in the year 2007. It was done because the Government began watershed activities almost in all the villages under NREGS. And so it was not desirable for us and the Government to take up the same activities. Consequently we shifted our focus to Sustainable Agriculture, which was an equally important and urgent; and in fact builds on the watershed development for sustainable agri production and stabilizing farmers livelihoods.
Mainstreaming Gender and Organizational Development – a continuous process
Mainstreaming Gender and Organizational Development – a continuous processJanuary 5, 2019
AF began in early 1990s with efforts to increase the participation of women in CBOs and their involvement in decision making of watershed development. Since then, AF has continued its efforts to integrate gender perspective within AF and in programmes in various ways.
The gender perspective evolved through a process of organization level reflection and learnings and resulted in:
- Moving towards a holistic perspective on gender and its mainstreaming in the organization and its programmes.
- Increased women’s participation in its activities and community based institutions.
- Women leadership promoted with an objective that they take up village issues.
Efforts made to understand the role and participation of women and innovative attempts to integrate women in NRM and agriculture.
- Conscious and increased recruitment of women in the Staff.