Village Development Committees A Vital Support System to the Villagers
IGSSS began its humanitarian journey not merely as a charity. It aimed to make the communities self-dependent. We consciously evolved and continued exploring for ways to maximize the impact, empower the communities to take charge of their own lives, enable them and build a better present and future for themselves. To execute this, it is crucial to create a self-sustaining community by enabling them access to basic services and livelihood options through the creation of village-level institution, commonly known as Village Development Committee (VDC).
One such example is the Gobindpur Village Development Committee. Gobindpur village in Jharkhand (Rangarh District) is home to 124 farming families belonging to Munda and Karmali tribal communities. Agriculture is the main source of income for these families. More than 70% of these farmers largely depend on rainfall as crop cultivated in the area are mainly Kharif crops. Yet water scarcity has always been a major issue. And continue to struggle with water supply as the increase air temperature cause the three wells in the village to dry up.
Restoring Community Assets through community effort and participation.
The VDC upon learning the water crisis took the matter into their own hands and call for an emergency meeting with the communities, village head and ward members. The villagers acknowledge and understood that the difficulties and problems of the village can be resolve by the villagers themselves. The VDC members were successful in convincing the villagers and they unanimously decided to restore the well. However, restoration work requires resources and since the VDC members could not collect the monthly subscription to their Village Development Fund due to imposition of lockdown they do not have enough to fund the full restoration work. Then two benevolent members of the village Mr Deepak Hansda and Mr Mahadev Hansda volunteered to bear the cost of 3 bags of cement (9000 INR) and a wagon of sand (20000 INR) respectively. Meanwhile, the villagers contributed their own labour and the restoration work was initiated and completed within 3 days.
Estimated cost for Well restoration:
One tractor brick Rs 50000/-
One wagon sand Rs 20000/-
3 bags cement Rs 9000/-
Total Rs 79000/-
Building a sense of Unity and Solidarity to meet the common interest of the community
It is because of the united effort of the villagers; they now have access to clean drinking water, as well as sufficient water for household usages and to grow vegetables and other crops in their field. This initiative of the VDC members helped them gain the confidence and trust of the villagers.
Mr Gangaram Hansda, president of the VDC, narrated “Due to Corona pandemic and subsequent lockdown this year, many were not able to go out of Gola for work. The well helped irrigate land due to which families could undertake the agricultural activity. 10 highly vulnerable families who depend on work outside the state are now undertaking cultivation of pulses and vegetables in a 2 acres plot of land”.
The positive responses have also built a sense of solidarity, goodwill, and energy in the community and they are planning to restore other defunct wells in the village.
Since 2017, IGSSS is implementing PAVE (Promoting Agri-Enterprise among Vulnerable Farming Households) project in Gobindpur Village, Gola Block, Jharkhand with the support of SCIAF (Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund).
Contributed by: Sampa Samui, Community Mobilizer for PAVE Project in Gola.