NERCRMS is bringing great changes to India’s North East region

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New Delhi: The North Eastern Region Community Resource Management Society (NERCRMS) is a recognized society that operates under the North Eastern Council’s Ministry of Development in the North Eastern Region. Through various livelihood projects, the organisation is committed to transforming far-flung rural communities of India’s North Eastern Region (NER). So far, the society has covered four NER states: Arunachal Pradesh (Changlang, Tirap, and Longding districts), Assam (Karbi Anglong and Dima Hasao districts), Manipur (Ukhrul, Senapati, Churachandpur, and Chandel districts), and Meghalaya (West Garo Hills and West Khasi Hills districts). Through its project, the North Eastern Region Community Resource Management Project (NERCORMP), the society has developed 8,403 SHGs (Self Help Groups) and 2,889 NaRMGs (Natural Resource Management Groups) in 2,532 villages, helping 1,18,843 households.

The society took a holistic approach to development, with two broad focus areas: (i) social mobilisation, organisation, and capacity building to tap and realise the great latent potential of the communities by employing time-tested traditional value systems and culture, and (ii) intervening with economic and social activities and infrastructure with a predominant focus on income-generating activities to achieve economic transformation.

The following is the approach used to meet the goals:

i) Capacity building of communities and participating agencies: Strengthening the institutional capacity of community-based organisations (CBOs) as well as the capacity of participating agencies (NGOs, line departments, etc.) in participatory planning, organisational and financial management, technical training on farm and non-farm activities, monitoring, and other areas.

ii) Economic and livelihood activities: Promote viable income generation activities (IGAs) for impoverished households by employing sustainable and ecologically friendly practises in the production of field crops, horticulture, forestry, livestock, fisheries, and non-farm enterprises. Also, to assist communities by introducing new technology, providing credit/revolving funds to community-based organisations for internal loans, and so on.

iii) Social sector development: This component’s specific goal was to provide communities with safe drinking water and improved sanitation.

This was to be accomplished by constructing drinking water storage tanks, piping water from a local spring or stream, and community participation in the construction of low-cost toilets (LCL).

iv)Rural Roads and Rural Electrification:  The component planned to build common facility centres (CFCs), inter village highways, culverts, and suspension bridges, as well as supply household solar lighting systems, with the goal of improving communities’ access to markets, health services, education facilities, and electricity.

v) Community-based Bio-diversity Conservation & Communication: The specific goal is to maintain and preserve the region’s unique natural riches and diverse biodiversity. To attain this goal, the following sub-components were used: (a) Community conserved areas (CCAs) as sacred forests, protected catchment regions, and sanctuaries are being promoted through biodiversity conservation and research, (b) promotion and demonstration of environmentally sustainable non-timber forest products (NTFP) and forestry production systems, and (c) Communication and knowledge management to allow communities to share information and expertise about best practises and production methods.