Building Bridges through Peace building and Conflict Transformation in Northeast India
JUST has been promoting peace to bring in reconciliation and peace between the ethnic communities in Tripura. Tripura has a history of ethnic tension so promotion of peace is important in the state. So, JUST has implemented a project “Building Bridges through Peace building and Conflict Transformation in Northeast India”. MISEREOR/KZE and Caritas France has been assisting this program for the last 11 years with different project title after every 3 years.
The project is to build relation with different Communities living in Tripura to have mutual respect, reduced violence, built confidence and trusts in each other and live in unity. The programs are mainly trainings on capacity building on peace, life skills, communication skills, leadership skills, conflict resolution skills etc. with the SHGs, youth club, schools and college students. The project is strengthening the target groups for promoting peace in civil society, educational institutions and interreligious organizations for the reduction of violence in Tripura. It is being implemented in 17 Schools, 1 College 1 Youth Club and 6 SHG Federations.
The women peace club members are aware about Do No Harm strategies and good governance principles which the target groups are implementing in their own locality and building mutual understanding with the target groups and engaging peace activity in their local areas.
The peace club members from Holy Cross School Kathalcherra, Panisagar, Twikarmaw and Janthum English Medium School performed a short skit on drugs abuse and how to promote peace in the society during their school assembly. Don Bosco School Nandannagar has introduced peace education in their school curriculum and St. Arnold School Ambassa have made separate notice board for the peace club members.
The Women peace club members understood the important of leadership, how to be a good leader and be a successful leader. They also learned how to build good relation with their group and work as team in order to achieve their target. For example Mrs. Nayan Mala Debbarma from Baijalbari village was saved by the SHGs members led by Mrs. Champakali Debbarma from Baijalbari who called the police while the village people were going to lynch Mrs. Nayan Mala Debbarma calling her a witch.
The youth peace club leaders of Maharaja Bir Bikram Club, khumulwng have formed a group consisting of members from different villages for taking action against Drug abusers and sellers. The youth club members also took initiative to provide alternate options like IGA activities and financial linkage to divert the minds of the youth who are involved in drug abuse and mob violence and other anti social activities. The youth clubs are also taking steps in protecting our environment by planting more trees and sharing the affect of plastic pollution. The community leaders and the youth peace club members of Maharaja Bir Bikram Club Khumulwng were involved in peace process when one of the private school teacher was almost beaten by the local people due to miss understanding between the students and the teacher.
Goal: Communities living in North East India with focus on 7 conflict districts of Tripura have mutual respect, reduced violence, built confidence and trust in each other and live in unity.
1. Capacity of individuals, communities and institutions are built and inter-ethnic and cultural dialogue enhanced through trust building and greater participation and engagement of all people.
2. Educational Institutions are engaged in building mutual respect, confidence and trust among students and community through peace building initiatives.
3. Strengthened village/district level peace committees and existing community structures/networks and are actively engaged in peace vigilance and stimulating mutual exchange and learning for maintaining peace and harmony.
JUST has been implementing (Facilitating Agricultural Re-generation Measures) FARM NE Project in 32 villages under Hezamara R.D Block West Tripura, since 2013 and JUST have promoted over 30 Farmer’s Clubs. FARM NE Project is now in its third phase. It was implemented only under West Tripura under Hezamara R.D Block then in the year 2019 it was expanded to Khowai Tripura under Padmabil R.D Block for the third phase. MISERIOR with Caritas India through its Partner JUST have been playing a vital role to bring qualitative changes in the lives of the farmers at West and Khowai Districts of Tripura under 2 Blocks, Hezamara and Padmabil R.D Blocks for the past seven years and will be continuing in the future.
JUST has been helping in several ways to empower the farmers by offering different trainings and linkages. Every year JUST organized Kisan Mela where farmer’s showcased their produce and get opportunities to get linked with wholesale business men. The project also promoted setting up of herbal garden in the villages and also promoting it in the Schools and families. Plantation drives are frequently organizes to contribute towards promoting safe environment. We have also with the support of our likeminded partner promoted bamboo treatment technique to offer sustainable income generation opportunity to the farmers. The project also promotes community actions to create sense of ownership of their own development. We have linked the farmers with ICAR, Agriculture Department, NABFINS and FRCLE for availing different benefits. After implementing the project some of the achievements are:-
1. Pohor Farmer’s Club from Uruabari village is one of the new farmers clubs formed after making profits from pea cultivation promoted & facilitated by JUST; Pohor Farmer’s club continued their cultivation with maize. The 12 member clubs made seeds available for themselves by approaching the Agriculture Department of their own. The club further plans to continue the cultivation with different seasonal crops. This perhaps reflects on how FARM intervention is going to sustain beyond the project period.
2. Borgachia is one of the target villages and Yarwng farmer’s club belongs to this village. The wooden bridge which connect the village to the market got damaged which made the people difficult to transport their products to the market as no vehicles could reach the village so seeing the difficulties faced by the people JUST FARMNE team had a meeting with the Farmer’s club. Then, the farmers took the responsibility and repaired the bridge.
3. Wabusa Farmers club was formed in the year 2014. There were no income generation activities in that area. By seeing Borgachia Farmers club they got interested to form Farmers club because they saw that there are lots of trainings and awareness programs conducted by JUST and also different linkages with different departments like ICAR, Agriculture Department, etc. Hiranmala Debbarma, a member of the group donated her 2 Kani land to the group and they planted 600 saplings of areca nut for the future IGA of the group and which will sustain the group in the long run.
4. Twisakalok Farmers Club of Doigola para organized a meeting and decided to repair the road damaged by flood. They discussed in the meeting that if the road is not repaired it will be difficult for the villagers to commute. Even the school students from that villagege were not able to go through that way. As a result they have to go through the mountain and it is difficult for them as it is quiet a distance. That road was the only possible way for the villagers that connect to the other villages and school. The Twisakalok Farmers club of Doigola decided to invite their fellow Farmers Dumrakari Farmers club of Dumrakarik para to help them in repairing the road. When they went to invite their fellow farmers they willingly accepted to help them for repairing the damaged road. Both the Farmer’s clubs together as a group repaired the road at Doigola which was damaged by the flood there by re connecting the village to the rest.
5. A bridge connecting two of the FARM villages to the rest of the state was completely damaged due to incessant rains during the monsoons. It was difficult for the people of these villages to move around. This saw the secretary of Yarwng FC of Borgachia, Mr. Arun coming forward to repair the bridge. Arun voluntarily donated wooden planks & requested his fellow members to join him to repair the bridge. Arun along with 11 members contributed labour for a day towards the repair during October 2018. The bridge is now fully functional giving sigs of relieve to the people.
6. Hamari Farmers club in their monthly meeting decided to invite Dumrakarik FC to clean the road which connects the village to the rest of the villages. On 17th January 2019 the 2 clubs cleaned the road from Radhanagar Para to Mohandas Para which is about half kilometer. Due to small road the people face difficulty to travel. Now atleast bike can pass on the road.
7. Lack of irrigation water for paddy fields in 2 villages (Biduda Para & Khamper para) compelled the farmers to think & act. Meetings among the farmers led to a construction of a reservoir out of a stream flowing through the villages. The reservoir has been channelized to the paddy fields of at least 50 farmers in two villages.
8. 9 villages out of 15 villages have decided jointly to adopt the traditional good farming practices that are identified.
9. 387 families out of 654 targeted families are practicing the traditional farming systems, which are appropriate in their local context.
10. 201 families out of 654 have increased their food sovereignty through traditional farming practices (by using traditional methods -seasonal and multiple farming).
11. 372 families out of 654 are using traditional seeds and consuming own product and thereby increased their food sovereignty.
12. 1027 farmers are marketing their products in the market directly and generating income for living.
13. 12 Farmer’s clubs and 74 JLGs have been linked to NABFINS for micro loans and most of the farmers are engaged to different small scale businesses.
14. Linkage for the Farmer’s clubs has been made with departments like NABFINS, NABARD, FRCLE, ICAR and Agriculture, Horticulture, Animal Husbandry and Water Resource.
Empowering Community for Nutritional food intake through obtaining status of Food Sovereignty in West and Khowai Districts of Tripura
15. Targeted 605 farming families of West and Khowai Districts of Tripura will have sufficient food production and nutritional intake as per their cultural food habits.
16. 605 farming families will have adopted and promoted indigenous seeds for cultivation and consumption.
17. Marginalized farmers from 14 villages will have control over the local market for the sale of excess organic products.