Multi-Day Field Trips

A Multi-Day field visit was organized from the 14th -17th January 2011, which was aimed at giving the participants insights into the work being done by various organizations vis-a-vis the nature of issues related to CPRs specifically in semi-arid regions in South India. This field visit took the delegates to the Chittoor and Anantapur districts of Andhra Pradesh, where as many as 400 villages are collectively protecting their commons lands and have evolved strong institutional processes that safeguard the interests of the poor and marginalized; where principles of decentralized governance are intertwining with the potential of programmes such as the NREGA towards greater ecological security and poverty alleviation, and the communities are actively deliberating on the challenges posed by activities such as mining in the region.

About the participants

The participants at the field visit were young scholars and researchers from South Asian countries, members of NGO's involved in watershed development programs supported by National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) in India, representatives from government bodies and a small group of development journalists. Altogether there were 37 members in the group.

Purpose of the Field Visit was to:

  • Orient the participants to the criticality of commons, the linkages between commons and livelihoods—especially agriculture and livestock rearing and sensitize them to the various threats that are being confronted by the CPRs in the region.
  • Give the participants an overview of the various community managed commons initiatives taken up in the region, involving village-level institutions, to protect and safe guard these commons in the semi-arid region of Chittoor and Anantapur in AP and its impact on commons being protected and enhanced livelihoods of commons dependant poor.
  • Enable the participants to understand the existing policies and programs of the government and the gaps to be addressed in conservation of commons

Aspects Covered

  • An overview on Commons in Chittoor and Anantapur Districts of AP: A meeting with leaders of village institutions, village level volunteers, to get an overview of the commons in Chittoor and Anantapur Districts; institutional arrangements in village meant to manage the available commons; results of commons' management, on the livelihoods of dependent households.
  • An understating on criticality of the commons and its linkages with agriculture and animal husbandry
    • Visit to the CPR sites being managed by Chennappagaripalle and Siddavandlapalle villages to interact and understand Commons –agriculture linkage (improved vegetation, soil moisture increase, surface water availability through farm ponds, and Mini-Percolation Tanks); and to appreciate forest-water linkages that have contributed to the improvement in agriculture in downstream areas, vis-a-vis traditional water management and governance systems existing in the villages.
    • Visit to Veplulapalle village to interact and understand the commons–animal husbandry linkage (Increased Fodder, Increase in animal population, increased Milk & Meat Production), followed by a cultural programme to depict Sankrtanthi-the festival of harvest.

Protection and Conservation of Commons using Policies & Programmes of Government

A meeting was organized with Project Director, District Water Management Agency, Anantapur and Ananta Paryavarana Parirakshana Samithi (APPS)-a network of NGOs, to discuss the evolution and implementation of CPR-NREGA pilot project in Anantapur. The meeting and the subsequent interaction was aimed at understanding the self-Initiation process of commons management at the habitation level, its impact on the availability of NTFP's and the resultant effect on enhanced livelihood options, and how this process has transformed into community mobilisation to restore the commons through CPR-NREGA pilot project for larger livelihood security.

Governance of Water Resources: An Initiative of Jana Jaagriti- Network Member of APPS in Anantapur District

Interaction was arranged with the communities engaged in the governance of water resources through location specific social regulations for use of groundwater to cultivate less water intensive crops. The visit was aimed at appreciating the concept of 'shared bore-wells'

Commons and Livelihood Enhancement linkage involving Women Groups

Discussion with Mandal Mahila Samakhya (MMS)-a federation of Village Organisations (VOs)-to understand the various livelihood activities they are taking up and analyse the associated institutional arrangements that are linked to the management of commons.

Commons: Threats and Complexities

A role play demonstrating regional Issues (forest fire, groundwater extraction) threats and complexities (mining and encroachments), followed by a meeting with all the federation-level leaders, to discuss at length the dynamics of the same Issues, threats and complexities affecting the well being of common property resources.

Visit to Handloom Families

The field visit ended with a visit to a group of families involved in handloom weaving in Madanapalle town.