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Project Area

1. AF Ecology Centre Project Area:

AF’s Projec Area consists of 230 villages in 8 mandals viz. 1) Dharmavaram 2) Rapthadu 3) Atmakur 4) Kuderu 5) Kalyandurg 6) Beluguppa 7) Kundurpi 8) Setturu.  Out of 230 villages 16 vilLAGES ARE COVERED UNDER Watershed Programmes and 214 villages under Sustainable Agriculture & Diversified Livelihood Programme.


1.1. Target Communities for Sustainable Agriculture and Diversified Rural Livelihoods programme

As per the Vision, Mission and Strategic Priorities, AF has worked out its target groups for the Sustainable Agriculture & Diversified Rural Livelihoods Programme. AF laid particular emphasis on working with farmers who are affected by frequent droughts with adequate emphasis on rainfed farmers who are socially and economically backward. Farm labour (mostly part farmers) and rainfed farmers are found to be the most vulnerable for droughts. Among them again, the women, the Dalits, Tribals under educated and youth, both boys and girls are specifically targeted under certain programs. However, AF finds it necessary to work with medium and big farmers also providing with Extension Education in order to achieve a paradigm shift from HEIDA to LEISA.


1.2 Direct and primary target communities

The direct and primary target communities comprise of about 100 families from each village comprising of small and marginal farmers and daily wage seekers. They comprise mostly of scheduled castes (SC), scheduled tribes (ST) women headed families and other backward communities (OBC). The project proposes to cover about 22,000 families thro’ AF-EC’s Sustainable Agriculture & Rural Livelihoods Program directly. 

Of about 22,000 families, 30% are from SC community. The total proportion of population from SC community in the project area is about 16%. The project covers 6% of the families from ST community while the proportion of ST population in the project area is about 5%. Further 50% of the target families are from OBC category and the proportion of OBC category in the project areas is about 60%. The remaining 14% of the target families are from forward castes and the total proportion of population in forward castes in the project area is 19%. From among all the above nearly 5% of the target families are women headed households. 

1.3 Indirect Target Communities

The Indirect Target Communities comprise of about 36,000 other other families that are not covered by SMGs in 214 villages. These families benefit from awareness meetings, public campaigns extension education and as observers of Sustainable Agriculture and Diversified Livelihood Programme. 

Further certain sections of the society form across the District who constitute  a critical mass for public opinion building and policy advocacy are also targetted. Some of them are opinion leaders at the District level, State level and national level. Other critical mass includes progressive farmers, progressive writers, artists, Government functionaries at different levels, respected intellectuals, subject matter specialists, other civil society organizations.  They are directly or indirectly stakeholders of the project, and contribute to the larger development impact of the project. 

1.4 How are the target communities organized?

The direct target communities are categorized as a) landless/wage seekers, b) farmers depending mainly on rainfed agriculture and c) small farmers with irrigation facilities. Members from these three categories are organized into 3 types of Sasya Mithra Groups (SMGs) with about 25 families in each group.  The three types of SMGs are:

Landless / wage seekers

The primary income of the members comes from wages. Most of them also own some small land, less than 5 acres. They are mainly from SC, ST and a few from OBC categories.  They are in fact the poorest of the poor. In every village AF has organized one SMG for landless / wage seekers. 

AF focusses on undereducated rural youth farm these communities for creating off-farm and non-farm skilled employment, like driving, garment making, ITES, etc.

Small and marginal farmers doing rain fed agriculture

This category constitutes about 60% of the village population and so is the bulk of direct target groups. Improving rain fed farming is also the focus of Sustainable Agriculture.  Therefore two SMGs are organized covering about 50 families in every village.  Of the two SMGs the members in one is predominantly from SC and ST categories and the other one is from OBC.  Thus adequate priority is given to SC/ST as they are economically and socially disadvantaged.

Farmers having irrigation facility 

These farmers are generally a little better off than the rest and they mainly come from forward communities also. One SMG in each village is organized for this category.  This group is critical from environmental point of view, because they are the largest users of agro-chemicals and HEIDA practices. They are also the trend-setters for Sustainable Agriculture. However, AF’s programme does not involve making high investments.  So, though AF works with these ‘better off’ farmers, it mostly provides only extension education demonstrations and awareness on the ill-effects of using agro-chemicals. 

About 75% of the total target families (16000 families) are dependent on agriculture. AF is working directly with these target farmer families on implementing LEISA practices and promoting food crops and Fruit tree crops. These target families are members of Farmer SMG’s.

Thus in a village generally four SMGs are organized as explained above.  At the village level, these 4 SMGs are federated and called Grama Sasya Mithra Samakhya (GSMS). The GSMS are federated at Mandal level called Mandal Sasyamithra Samakhya (MSMS).  There are eight mandals is project area therefore there are eight MSMS. The MSMS and federated at the project level, called Apex Sasya Mitra Samakhya (ASMS).

1.5 Gender equity in direct target communities

Fifty percent women membership and leadership in the CBOs: The Sasyamitra Groups (SMGs) are formed with 50% families represented by women. Since each SMG has representatives from 25 families there are at least 13 families represented by women. Each SMG selects one women as convenor and one man as co-convener.  By policy preference is given to women for the position of convener.  Village level federations, called Grama Sasya Mitra Samakhya (GSMS) are constituted with conveners and co-conveners of the 4 SMGs, in which automatically 50% of the members are women and 50% men. Here also by policy women are selected as convenor and man as co-convenor.  Likewise Mandal Level Sasya Mitra Samakhyas (MSMS) are formed with convenors & co-conveners of GSMS where in automatically 50% of the members are women and 50% are men and the convenor is the women.  The Apex Sasya Mitra Samakhyas is formed with conveners and co-conveners of MSMS in which 50% members will automatically be women. Thereby at every level 50% of the leaders are women in the SMG federations at village, mandal and project level.

1.6 Involvement of target communities in the Planning, Monitoring & Evaluation

AF follows a Participatory Planning, Implementation, Monitoring and Evaluation process in which SMGs and their federations are the main actors at Village, Mandal and Project level. 

The SMGs and GSMS play a crucial role in planning, implementation and monitoring of project activities. The GSS meet at least once a month to ensure proper planning and implementation at village level.  It plays an important role in selecting beneficiaries, grounding of activities, and execution of works and payment of bills.

The SMGs and GSMS are also responsible for the quantity and quality monitoring, which enhances the transparency and accountability of the community. The GSMS is responsible for in all the financial transactions at the village level.  Every payment in the village are discussed and decided at the GSMS meetings.  There is 100% transparency in financial transactions at the village level. Accounts for all the financial transactions and the minutes of the GSMS meetings are maintained at the GSMS. Annually a self-evaluation of SMG, GSMS and MSMS are facilitated to evaluate their performance, including processes, achievements, failures, learning etc. AF also proposes to take up participatory impact evaluation with CBOs at every 3 years.

2. Target communities for Watershed Development Programmes:

The Watershed Development Programmes are being implemented in 16 villages only with Government funds supported by NABARD and Ministries of Rural Development both at Central and AP State.

The whole Village Community is taken as target community for watershed development.  It includes landless, artisam, small and marginal farmers, rainfed farmers, farmers with irrigation etc.

At present ______________ families being covered under NABARD Watershed Programme and _____________ families under IWMP programme.


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