HAFLONG, Dec 2 – The ‘International Fund for Agriculture Development’, a project aimed to improve the livelihood of vulnerable groups in a sustainable manner through improved management of their resource base in a way that contributes to preservation and restoration of the environment, has brought a ray of hope among the rural masses of Dima Hasao, claimed Amrita Dibragede, president of the Dangsiringdi SHG.
Dibragede, a resident of Hojai Khasiba village some 15 km from Haflong told media-persons: “Now we know what is banking or bookkeeping, apart from being trained on poultry farming, piggery and also cattle farming, which have made us self-reliant. Earlier we used to shy away from government departments for any work, but now we can approach all government offices for our work. At present we have SHGs like Dangsiringdi, Paismailai, etc., at Hojai Khasiba under Society for All-round Development (SAD), an NGO which supervises all projects undertaken by the IFAD through these SHGs.”
Donhamdi Dibragede, the oldest member of the SHG at age 86, is the most sincere member of the SHG who attends all the meetings of the SHG and takes active part in all social activities. She has taken loan from the SHG three times and also repays the loans in time. She now has a small poultry farm. She said, “I have engaged myself in all these activities for my future generations, because in the coming days we have to be self-reliant, otherwise we will have to face more hardship.”
S Hojai, another active member of the SHG, said, “We started the SHG in 2011 with a meagre amount from our contribution, but now our fund has increased to Rs 2.3 lakh. We give loans to the needy SHG members for the activities he or she want to take up.”
Members of SHGs of Hojai Khasiba told this correspondent that they are happy that they need not work hard in the jhum fields anymore since the practice of jhuming has been reducing gradually. They further appealed to IFAD to include more villages in their project areas and provide supports not only in training but also in creating awareness among the rural masses so that all the section of the rural people could be self-reliant and get total economic freedom.
In Dima Hasao district, the project is being implemented by the District Society (DS), i.e., North Cachar Hills Community Resource Management Society (NCHCRMS), with its executive board comprising district-level officials of allied line departments and four community representatives. The Principal Secretary (T) of Dima Hasao District Autonomous Council functions as the Chairman of the District Society, and the Project Manager as the Member Secretary. Under the District Society, a District Support Team (DST) as an implementing unit.