Monday, 10 April 2017


Risiang is a small village with 50 families in West Khasi Hills District of Meghalaya. Risiang along with 30 other villages was connected to the rest of the state through a bridge over river Wah Umiang for day to day thoroughfare. “This bridge has been our lifeline and we depended on it to be connected to the rest of the world”, said Stephan Marthong, the Sirdar of Risiang. The people of Risiang are primarily agrarian and depended on agricultural production for their sustenance. Risiang is also a project village under FARM Northeast II implemented by Nongstoin Social Service Society (NSSS).

“We could observe a positive response from the community after we initiated the FARM Northeast II in Risiang” said Brolius Marbaniang, Coordinator, NSSS. Team NSSS has been working hard in making the people realise what they could do through collective and also what rights they are entitled to.

It was so far so good with Risiang until on a chilly winter night of 7th January 2017 some miscreants burned down the wooden bridge and damaged the structure completely. This resulted in a disruption of communication to the rest of the world by the people of Risiang and 30 other villages. The villagers of Risiang woke up to their shock on the morning of 8th January 2107 when the discovered that bridge has disappeared. “We were shocked beyond our imaginations when we saw the bridge being completely by arson committed by unknown people”, said Justine Lyngdoh, Secretary of Risiang of village.

Under such circumstances the normal behaviour of the people would be to be in in state of shock and panic but that wasn’t the case here. Having learned the benefits the benefits of collective action the community of Risiang decided otherwise. The Sardar (Headman) of the village was leading the people from the front. “Had it been not for friends from NSSS come here and helped us in building confidence we would not have thought the way we did that day”, said Bhalang one of the active member of Risiang village.

The village elders together with the young and all sat together on 8th January and decided first to lodge an official complaint to the police and the Deputy Commissioner of West Khasi Hills District at Nongstoin. “We decided to lodge the complaint officially but an immediate makeshift arrangement in was the need of the hour”, said Franco Puwein  of Risiang of village. The Headman made an appeal to one and all to help in constructing a subway in lieu of the bridge as the communication was very important given the fact that the bridge was the lifeline. The work started the very next day.

The community came together and started working on making a subway to cross the river. “Without wasting time we devoted ourselves in working for the whole day in making the subway”, said Ms. Victoria Kharjahrin, one of the active female member of Risiang village. People worked for one single day on 9th January and by evening the result was visible! It was about working collectively and taking decisions that Risiang was again connected to the rest of the world.

Contributed By: Brolius Marbaniang
Coordinator, NSSS
Nongstoin, Meghalaya

Edited By:Prabal Sen
Caritas India

Wednesday, 5 April 2017


D.K. Leiran
A farmer from a village named Thingapur in Chandel district of Manipur has set yet another example to for his own people to follow. D. K. Leiran is 62 year old farmer from Thingapur village living with his two wives with seven children. Being a farmer by his genes, Leiran was carrying out his regular agricultural activities in the conventional way since ages. The conventional way was good until climate change led to change in the environment thus inviting degradation of soil and water resources that led to reduction in the crop yield.
Leiran’s source of income was only from the agricultural production but given the conventional methods, he was not able to respond to his own needs from the crops he was growing, leave alone selling to market. The FARM NE I partner (DSSS) in Manipur took up Thingapur as a project village during 2013 and as part of the project the FARM NE I team organized a demonstration cum training on Bokashi technology to the farmers. Leiran was also a part of the training and that’s what changed his life for good.

After the demonstration cum training on Bokashi, Leiran decided to replicate the technology in his own fields. He could see the difference in his crops that were healthy and larger in size. He could even see the increase in the number of fruits per plant thus enhancing his yields by more than double folds. Leiran has now started selling his surplus produce in the local markets and earning more than what he used to before.

Bokashi technology brought about the much awaited change in Thingapur where Leiran has inspired a number of other farmers in his village to follow suit. People now have started rearing pig in order to get bokashi manure and use it in their fields.  Leiran is thus through his works inspiring his community and the community is responding to the call from one of their very own man.

Contributed by
Samuel Gangmei, Coordinator
DSSS, Imphal

Thursday, 23 March 2017


Pegmir Tada comes from a tiny village named Ripari under Kamporijo Block of Lower Subansiri district in Arunachal Pradesh. He is a hard working farmer by profession and is dependent on agriculture the sustenance of his family. He was following the conventional methods of farming practices which did not yield results as expected. He could hardly support his family the production from his fields until 2012. He could not even afford sending his children to a good school for education.
It was only during 2013 when the FARM North East I interventions were carried out in Pegmir’s village.  Pegmir took the opportunity learn new things from the trainings conducted by IDEA on agricultural practices. Pegmir lost no time in applying those useful technologies in his fields. It was only a matter of time when Pegmir saw his crop yields growing on the higher side. Earlier Pegmir’s produce could support his family hardly for half a year but now he has even surplus to be sold out to market.
Pegmir, today has unleashed a source of inspiration to his fellow farmers who were still struggling to enhance their livelihood options through better technological interventions in agriculture. The fellow farmers in RIpari are following Pegmir’s footsteps towards a better future. It is worth mentioning here that Pegmir has been instrumental in bringing in drinking water to his village through help and advice from IDEA team. The nearest drinking water source from Ripari was 2 Kms away that made peoples’ life difficult. However, Pegmir initiated a collective action of his people and ended up by bringing in drinking water pipelines to his village.
Pegmir goes on inspiring his people and putting in all efforts to make the lives of his and his people better.

Contributed by: Sanjit Basumatary
Coordinator, IDEA
Arunachal Pradesh

Edited By: Prabal Sen
Caritas India


Khaloibari in Kamrup metro district of Assam is one of the project villages under FARM North East II where lives, Keshab Das, as 62 years old farmer is doing all that is possible to inspire his own people. Keshab, a born farmer is blessed with the skills that make him different from other conventional farmers. Keshab stuck to organic farming when all his fellow farmers resorted to chemical farming. Keshab was still adamant to keep alive the values of traditional farming that never encouraged chemical inputs. Keshab is also a custodian of knowledge on indigenous health system. He hardly goes to a hospital for any cure as he knows the cure by using plant resources growing in his garden and around.
Keshab has always open to new ideas and technologies and he wastes no time in trying those useful ideas and technologies. It was for FARM NE I to come to his village with interventions in agricultural activities that made Keshab follow them religiously and do better and better in his fields.  
Today, Keshab is growing more than what he used to by putting practice the technologies he learned from Caritas India’s interventions under FARM North East. Keshab became an entrepreneur by selling products like paddy, vegetables and even compost that produced. Keshab is also a plant grafting expert, an art he learned before. He is selling a good number of grafted saplings to the open market.
Three varieties of paddy seeds from Bangladesh have been grown by Keshab in his fields. These seeds in a very minimum quantity were brought by the State Officer from Nepal in 2015. Keshab ensured that he would grow the seeds and the story is not just over! Keshab is now willing to not only sell the paddy but also distribute among his fellow farmers.
Keshab’s is not just a story but a saga of inspiration. The hardworking people of his village are looking forward to him to inspire them as always.

Contributed by: Prabin Minz
Coordinator, GGSS

Edited By: Prabal Sen
Caritas India

Thursday, 1 October 2015


As they say Cleanliness is next Godliness, Domkohsam village in the West Khasi hills of Meghalaya stands as an excellent example of cleanliness. Khasis from Meghalaya are known for their cleanliness, be it their homes or their surroundings. “We love cleanliness and try to teach our children to be clean and tidy always”, said Ms. Barbara Lyngdoh, Associate Coordinator of Farmer Club. But with time things don’t always change for good. The community in Domkohsam village seemed to have lost touch with what they used to be known for. The village wore a shabby look with loads of filth trashed around. People would not just mind throwing waste materials as they wanted to.
But Domkohsam as any other village sensible village had a few good men as well who thought otherwise. Since quite a few years we have been observing people dumping wastes wherever they want to. We could not simply sit back & watch our own people converting the village into garbage”, said Francis Marngar, Sardar (village heaman) of Domsohkam. Nongstoin Social Service Society (NSSS), a FARM NE partner has been working in Domkohsam village since 2013. Team NSSS has been motivating the people of Domkohsam from time to time in various meaningful ways. “When the village elders shared the issue of wrong practice of dumping garbage, we told them two basic things; firstly they have to make their own people aware on cleanliness and secondly they can construct a common garbage for all in the village”, said Brolius D Marbaniang, Project Coordinator, FARM NE.

The farmers club of Domkohsam got active and started mobilizing people for the cause. “We started speaking to men and women in the village even in person to make them aware of the value of cleanliness”, said Jenes Kharpan, Chief Coordinator of Farmers Club. The farmers club in their monthly meeting during April 2015 discussed the issue in length with the community of Domkohsam. The meeting decided that hence forth each household should have a proper place to throw the waste materials from their household. It was also decided that the farmers club would submit an application to the concerned authorities for construction of garbage in the village. The application has already been submitted during the month of June 2015 and now the people are awaiting the response.

Another meeting was convened by the farmers club during July 2105 where all the 70 households of the village attended. The village elders gave a reminder to all to have a proper place for disposing waste materials in every household as it was high time to think constructive now.  It was encouraging to observe that the people decided enact a rule that would amount to imposing fines tuning to Rs 2000.00 to the households that do not have a proper garbage disposal in place within the household. It was also decide that a fine of Rs 500.oo shall be slapped on anyone found disposing wastes in public places other than a dustbin. “Our farmers club’s decision was agreed to and respected by one and all in the Domkohsam”, said Mr. Triphon Marngar, one of the active members of Farmer Club. 

It was a change that changed the face of Domkohsam from being an ugly place with waste materials all around to a beautiful & clean village. Domsohkam is now a sitting example of how peoples’ collective action can do the magic.
Contributed by: Brolius D Marbaninag, Coordinator, NSSS, Nongstoin, Meghalaya
Edited by: Prabal Sen, Caritas India, Guwahati, Assam


Wednesday, 30 September 2015


Water for irrigation has always been a problem for the people of New Khimiyang village in Changlang District of Arunachal Pradesh. Scarcity of irrigation water compelled the community to depend on rains for agricultural purpose. Given the present trend of erratic rainfalls, the farmers were compelled to abandon their fields due to severe draughts in lean seasons. “We were not able to cultivate our field as per our needs and were wondering if ever we could overcome this grim situation”, said Nganjong Tekhil, Gaon Bura (village headman) of the village.   

This was an unavoidable challenge that the community was face with and they looked quite demoralised for the reason that they cannot cultivate as per their demand. Meanwhile, Seva Kendra Arunachal (East) SKA (E), has been working in this village since 2013 under the FARM project.   SKA (E) was aware of the problem faced by the community and was motivating them to take up the issue by themselves with the Government authorities. Team SKA (E) saw the flame of motivation being ignited in a few youths of the village and it was Reybo Rekhung, the Anchal Samiti Member (ASM), who took the lead. The ASM along with a few others tried best to motivate the people and held several rounds of meetings in the month of August 2014 on how best the problem of water scarcity could e addressed. “I feel contented about what I have done to motivate my own people”, said Mr. Reybo Rekhung.

It was just a matter of time when people started developing interest towards the cause knowing the fact that it would benefit them and also would put a permanent end to their sufferings. Reybo and his friends have made us realise the fact that if we work together for a common cause, we may bring about the change that we desire to see”, said Ms. Sengwan Tangha. The people of Khimiyang village decided that they would collectively approach the Government for a water reservoir from which the water could be channelized to the fields. Team SKA (E) was supporting the community all efforts like facilitations. “We decided that we would rather directly approach the local MLA than anyone else” said Kangsam Kinhum.  

Water reservoir
On 3rd September 2014, a group of people led by Reybo approached the Local MLA at Miao with a formal letter requesting his attention towards the issue raise y them.  The MLA assured them that he would look into the issue. The community met the MLA again on 15th October 2014 to their utter happiness the saw the MLA forwarding their letter to the Department of Water Resources, Government of Arunachal Pradesh. “We could not believe things happening so fast” said Ms Singhom Songkho.

The Department of Water Resources swung into action and while approving the request, sanctioned the work within a month on 17th November 2014. “I am overwhelmed with this good news that we will have proper water supply for our agriculture from now on”, said Songlang Sungkho. 

The confident looking community of Khimiyang village did not leave it there. They met again to ensure proper and smooth functional of the reservoir and the canal so that that there no delays. The community also volunteered to contribute labour for construction. The work was finally completed on 20th May 2014.  

Farmers of Khimiyang village are able to irrigate their fields from the canal that was a result of their collective actions.
Contributed by: Mintu Mosahary, Coordinator, SKA East, Arunachal Pradesh
Edited by: Prabal Sen, Caritas India, Guwahati, Assam

Wednesday, 16 September 2015


Northeast India is home to tea gardens & New Khamlang village in Changlang District of Arunachal Pradesh was not an exception to this. This village not only consumes tea but also grows it. Almost every household has on an average 1 to 2 acres of land exclusively for tea cultivation. The proximity of this place to the neighbouring state of Assam perhaps could have made tea a popular cultivation. “I don’t know since when but tea cultivation has been an integral component of our society and it will remain to be so forever, said Gaon Burah (village headman), a septuagenarian from the village.

New Khamlang with a population of 511 is growing tea as one its income generation activities. “We cultivate tea as it has always got demand in the market and gives us an income though not satisfying enough”, said Pondang Sangwal a farmer from New Khamlang. It has been a popular practice until the change happened that the people would usually sell their tea to the middlemen at a throw away price. The middlemen would come on regular intervals to the village and bargain the cost as per his will sighting several reasons that the innocent people would never contest. The people were selling tea hardly at Rs. 10 to 12 per kilogram. “We were compelled to sell our tea at such a rate as we thought that we did not have touch with the actual market from where we could get a better price”, said Dangrem Ngaimong.

The FARM North East partner Seva Kendra Arunachal East (SKA) while promoting agricultural activities was also motivating people to take up marketing of their products in order to earn more. SKA was aware of the middle men playing spoilsport with the small tea growers by depriving them of what they deserve. “The issue of marketing has always been a stumbling stone for us to deal with due to many reasons but we are trying hard to see to it that the people get their share of benefits by growing tea”, said Mintu Mosahary, the project Coordinator.

Team SKA put in its weight behind the community of New Khamlang village & suggested them to contact the Manager of the tea processing factory at Kharsang. The community was told that they have an option of selling their tea leaves to this factory & that they have a high probability of getting a much better price than what being offered by the middle men.

Community involved in meeting

The community started thinking on the lines suggested by Team SKA. “We sat together with our village elders and discussed thoroughly on what best could be done to help ourselves to derive maximum benefits”, said Ms. Rumba Ngaimong. They approached the Manager of the tea factory during the August 2015 & held a couple of rounds of meetings with him to share their grievances and requested him to help them.  Village elders & women represented the group that met the Manager.

Tea leaves loaded on the vehicle to sent to factory
The Manager gave them a patient hearing and asked them to strike a deal with a formal contract. He asked the villagers to supply tea leaves on a daily basis to the factory during the season. “We were taken by surprise when we found the Manager coming forward to help us as we thought that it may not an easy job”, said Kumjung Hachang, Anchal Samiti member (ASM).

The community after returning to New Khamlang shared the piece of information all and requested them to cooperate fully. “When we came know about the good news that we would be selling our tea leaves to the factory our happiness was to the extreme”, said Ms. Nyasham Hachang.  The people of New Khamlang also fixed a vehicle that would carry the tea leaves on a daily basis to the factory at Kharsang.
The middle man thus became a history in New Khamlang today. The small tea growers are selling their tea leaves at a rate of Rs. 20 to 25 per kilogram to the factory. “We realised the true meaning of the famous quote that says Where there is will, there is a Way”, said a beaming Ms. Resham Ngaimong.
Contributed by: Mintu Mosahary, Coordinator, SKA East, Arunachal Pradesh
Edited by: Prabal Sen, Caritas India, Guwahati, Assam

Friday, 11 September 2015


Boasimla is the Lower Subansiri District of Arunachal Pradesh is one of the project villages under FARM North East. This village is presumably a little ahead of others in terms of communication & transport but development is still in a very slow pace. FARM North East, however, seems to have unleashed a ray of optimism among the people of this village by motivating them to utilise their own potential & do what is best for them. “We saw the power of unity in us when we worked together to ban the popular soft drink in our area”, said Ms. D. Renia.

Since last 3 years the post office of Boasimla was almost non-existent. The makeshift building was completely damaged & there were no officials attending to the much needed essential service that is otherwise enjoyed by citizens in almost every corner of the country. “I as an educated unemployed youth need to apply for various jobs & for that  to send filled up job application forms via post but I was unable to do so & I had to travel 47 Kms to Ziro by spending my own pocket money of Rupees 400/-”, said a disappointed youth Rakhe Rakesh.
The nearest post office was at Ziro, the District headquarters of Lower Subansiri. Even students were at the receiving end as they had to travel to Ziro to apply for higher studies. Moreover, the community in Boasimla were deprived of taking benefits of various saving schemes of post office. “I hear that one can make savings in the post office, even I wanted to save but I have dropped the idea as I cannot be travelling to Ziro every month”, said Ms. Guchi Atick.  

The newly established Post Office at Boasimla
The project team of Itanagar Diocesan Empowerment Association (IDEA) was made aware of the issue of post office while they were interacting with the community during one of their routine visits. “We were busy implementing out project activities & it was during the month of January 2015 that we came to know about the problem”, said Ms. Boni Anima, member, Team IDEA. The people of boasimla shared their grievances with IDEA & pointed out that they are serious to do something about it. “We told IDEA friends that the issue of a regular post office have been a long standing demand of the people & that they must show us the way to fulfil our demand”, said Godak Taram.

Day to day activity in the post office
“How long would we go on discussing about this problem?”, said Choki Punung.  The Farmers’ Club (FC) decided after rounds of meeting & consultations with Team IDEA that they would approach the authorities at Ziro to find a permanent solution. The farmers and the community decided to form a Village Action Team (VAT) consisting of 15 men & women together for taking up the issue with the concerned authorities during the month of February 2015. Team IDEA meanwhile was facilitating the peoples’ movement towards solving the issue. “As we did not know much, we were guided by our IDEA friends on whom to approach in Ziro for our issue to be addressed”, said Boni Dominic.
The VAT held met the Superintendent Officer (CSO), Post Office at Ziro & while making a written request to CSO held several rounds of meetings during the month of March 2015. “It wasn’t easy for us to travel all the way to Ziro for meeting the CSO but deep in our heart we were determined to get the job done”, said Taw Halli.

Initially, the CSO & other officials did not budge despite of several requests. But they gave in finally when they realised that it was a genuine issue. The officials were convinced that the people of Boasimla & nearby areas have been deprived of a pot office since many years and those they genuinely deserved one in their area. CSO was prompt enough to pass on official order to make the post office operational with immediate effect. The people in turn also made a noble gesture by volunteering themselves for the construction of the post office building.  
Boasimla, today has a fully functional post office with staffs regularly attending to peoples’ needs. “Our struggle bore results & we feel delighted about it”, said Rigio Yakio.
Contributed by: Sanjit Basumatary, IDEA, Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh
Edited by: Prabal Sen, Caritas India, Guwahati

Friday, 21 August 2015


Drain dug out for installing PVC pipes
Water logging on the roads during rains used to make life difficult for the people in Rajabari village under Jorhat District of Assam. The road is vital means of transportation & communication for people living in that area. “We are dependent on this road on a daily basis to meet our need but due to water logging it got difficult for us to even walk on the road”, said Ms. Gulapi Guria. Having faced all the hardships the community thought of taking a concrete step towards repairing the road. During one of the visits of the project team of Seva Kendra Dibrugarh (SKD), the community shared the issue of water logging in their road. “We told our friends from SKD the tale of our sufferings due to water logging & they gave us a patient hearing”, said Ms. Ursella Guria.

Community doing the repair works
The Farmers’ Club (FC) of Rajabari then mobilized itself & sat together to decide on the course of action. Team SKD facilitated the meeting & motivated the community to take action. “We decided that 32 households would contribute Rs 30 each along with labour for the repair of the road,” said Alen Guria (FC President). The community made request to SKD for financial assistance towards purchasing PVC pipes for the repair. “We told them (Team SKD) that we may not be able to collect the entire amount required for purchasing materials required for repair works”, said Clement Surin. The group work of the community began in the month of June-July 2015. The men were involved in the repair works while the women supported them with food & others. 

PVC Pipe installed for proper drainage
Given the seriousness of the issue, Team SKD thought that it would be appropriate if they could help the community by contributing financially towards purchasing two numbers of PVC pipes of 20 feet each length required for making the drainage on the road. SKD in consultation with the Zonal office of Caritas India decided to contribute the PVC pipes. “Our happiness was doubled when we saw SKD contributing with the PVC pipes”, said Benjamin Guria.  The repair works was finally completed by the community during July 2015. The road today wears a new look & is free of water logging no matter it rains or not.

The community looked happy as well as motivated & it seemed that they found a new lease of life after having repaired the road for good. “We are grateful to SKD friends for having helped us to solve the problem of water logging in our area”, said a happy looking Ms. Albescia Minj.

Contributed by, Cornelius Minj, SKD, Dibrugarh, Assam
Edited by: Prabal Sen, Caritas India, Guwahati

Thursday, 30 July 2015


Fishes are a delicacy among the Nyishi’s of Tamen - III village in Upper Subansiri District of Arunachal Pradesh. Being blessed with the hill Stream Rivers, fishes are in plenty for the Nyishi’s to feed on. “We never buy fishes from the market as we go fishing to meet our needs”, said Tam Taring. In the good old days fishing was done either with fishing rods, nets or other traditional gears. Traditionally, people were barred from fishing during the breeding season & fishes were allowed to reproduce in grow their population. But with time perceptions change resulting in unsustainable fishing practices. “We knew that such practices would someday lead us nowhere but we had to feed ourselves & with time the feeding mouths have also increased”, said Markio Tallar.    
River Pehain Koroaa where fishes were caught
 by blasting or electrocution
The community resorted to killing fishes relentlessly by using dynamites (for blasting under water) & electrification though generators. One blasting or electrification would fetch fishes in good quantity but the community was not able practice this dangerous art frequently as the density of fish population reduced drastically. Gone were the bindings of not fishing during the breeding seasons. Notwithstanding the fact that it is illegal to use dynamite for fishing, people resorted to using the same without any thought. “I can’t remember who for the first time used dynamite or generator for fishing, I simply used do it to feed my family”, said Ms. Boa Shanty, who was using dynamite for fishing.

A village boy going for fishing with a net
The practice of blasting went on & on thus having an adverse impact on the aquatic environment of the hill streams & rivers. Apparently the fish population was going down drastically & people were struggling to get fishes from such sources.  Tamen - III is one of the project villages where FARM (Facilitating Agricultural Regeneration Measures) North East (project) partner Itanagar Diocesan Development Association (IDEA) is working. Team IDEA came to know about the malpractice of fishing in the year 2013 & decided to do something about it. During November 2014 Team IDEA that was already in touch with the community for FARM North East activities, tried to find out what actually was going wrong. “Our consultations with the farmers’ club (FC) revealed that they had a great concern on the rampant malpractices (blasting) being carried out in their area”, said Sanjit Basumatary, Team IDEA.

Fishes caught from the river
From here it looked like that the people were slowly realizing the impact of such unviable practice of fishing. They could realize that if this persists, sooner or later fishes could well be a history. “The present trend of fishing looks scary to me, a few varieties of fishes that existed in the past are nowhere to be seen now”, said Ms.Guchi Puma. The communities were responding to the awareness generated by Team IDEA.

It was time for making resolutions by the community against the practice of killing fishes by dynamite or electricity. Team IDEA standing strong behind the community by motivating them by all possible means. “We thought it’s high time that we take some stringent steps against this prevailing menace” said Tenik Yacham. The FC them resolved strongly that now on no one would be allowed to use dynamite or electricity for fishing & also that fishes would not killed during the breeding season. And if that was not enough, the village council promulgated rules that invites heavy fines to the tune of Rs 10,000 to anyone caught using dynamite or electricity for fishing. The rule came into effect immediately during April & 2015 & the community too is responding to the same. “We are here to ensure that our next generation does not hear about stories on fishes, they also enjoy the taste of it”, said Ms. Kabak Chaluk. Selling & buying of dynamite is a history in Tamen - III village & more so people are aware that nature has still a lot to offer. “Conservation of environment is in our blood, just that we needed to revive the practice”, said Ms. Guchi Sho wearing a grin on her face. 

Contributed by: Taw Bosco, IDEA, Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh
Edited by: Prabal Sen, Caritas India, Guwahati