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


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