Projects Present And Past
Supporting rural entrepreneurs and farmers towards higher income
Guiding communities in reforestation and biodiversity
soft support for Solar Powered BusinessES
Rilum Foundation for Sustainable Development aims to create alternative livelihood options via green energy. We are currently working on a 3 year project funded by CInI ( Collectives for Integrated Livelihood Initiatives), Jamshedpur, a nodal agency of the Tata Trusts. In the first year, Rilum Foundation will help get solar powered machines to 20 tailoring business units, 10 Lok Seva Kendra units and 2 Hatcheries. The solar system will be given to them as grant, upto a base limit. Investment in the business besides the solar system will come from the entrepreneurs. They will be assisted by Rilum Foundation in accessing subsidized bank loans like Mudra and Farmer’s Loan for hatchery and government subsidies like PMEGP. We are currently in the middle of the first year, and have already helped more than the 10 targeted LSKs with PMEGP applications and are awaiting approval to apply for a bank loan.
Potential of the activity • 10 villages will see their village transform to a producing economy as they become engaged in the local garment industry. • Seasonal orders will pressure tailoring businesses to hire seamstresses especially which coincides with the lean season. We estimate at least 60 women will have employment at the tailoring businesses through two lean seasons every year.• In the event of power cuts in the village, around students can complete their homework at each shop in an evening.
Khasi Hills REDD+ Consortium and WeForest Project
This comprehensive project, on-going past our initial training and organizing, supports the communities that live on the resources from forests in the Mawphlang area of Meghalaya. It preserve the forests, reforests denuded areas and sequester carbons.
The project began in 2015 with 5280 hectares of degraded, open forest lands with less than 10% canopy cover. Some open forest was highly eroded and devoid of significant biomass due to forest fires, cutting down of trees and shrubs for firewood, and open grazing. Given high rainfall prevalent in the Khasi Hills, these disturbed forest ecosystems can experience rapid regeneration if detrimental factors are removed.
Progress was accomplished sequentially, by working with neighbouring communities to identify and close selected, high regeneration areas through “social fencing” involving fire control, informal patrolling, monitoring, and carrying out thinning, culturing, and enrichment planting.
The community REDD+ project has made progress in controlling major drivers of deforestation. Dense forest areas appear better protected from encroachment and damage, while open forest show early signs of regeneration. Over the past years all categories show increases in carbon stocks.
There is ongoing effort to improve community support for the project. The welfare of the communities is catered to. Grant for drinking water infrastructure was given to 62 villages in 2016. Community involvement and support for the project are ganered through awareness programmes and through tree plantation drives. The tree adoption programme among school children across the project area has garnered the support of the future generation The livelihoods of the community are being secured through support of farmers’ clubs and SHG enterprises, including the nurseries that supply the saplings of endemic species for reforestation under this project. In 2017 alone,24459 trees were planted. The nursery program achieves multiple goals in raising awareness about forest conservation, providing materials for enrichment planting in forest restoration areas and woodlots, and generates income for participating families.
It will take time for environmental and socio-economic impacts of the project to be broadly experienced. Projections made at the start estimate that the rate of forest loss will be reduced by 50% over the first five years of the project and by 75% over the second five years. By 2025, it is projected that forest cover will stabilize and begin to expand as open forests recover. In addition to forest cover changes within the project area, it is hypothesized that community forest conservation activities and management capacity within the project area are more effective in slowing forest loss as compared to neighbouring communities within the district.
The Save River Campaign
River Um-Iew is one of the most important rivers in the East Khasi Hills district of Meghalaya. Via the dam at Umiam lake, it is the main source of drinking water for thousands of households in Shillong, as well as for villages in the upstream area. Of late, there have been a number of problems cropping up in the upstream area.
As the number of households in the villages increases, and the number of Army cantonments also increases, pollution increases. Many households in the villages still use open pit latrine or flush straight to the drain, which in rainy season is carried away to the water supply. Vehicles are cleaned directly in the river, and everyday domestic waste is dumped into the river.
Due to the construction boom in Shillong, a large stretch of river has been filled-in, and siltation has increased. This has diminished the fauna and aquatic life along the river, also causes serious difficulty for the people upstream who take water directly from the river
Build and Strengthen The Save River Campaign movement starting with the river Um-Iew
Involve the traditional chiefs & the village councils
Involve the youth clubs, the women's societies, & the churches at another level.
Advocate and lobby with the Government and other stake holders to regulate sand mining along the river.
Advocate for the strong protection of catchment area.
Foster an awareness of water as a scare resources and its conservation as an important principle.
Looking for ways and means to initiate a PES (Pay for Environment Services) approach
Location: East Khasi hills District of Meghalaya
Villages: Mylliem Um-Iew, Nongkrem, Umphrup, Smit, Umtngew, Um-iew Maw–U-Sam, Thangsning, Laitlyngkot, Umtngar, Mylliem Bah
Period: Once yearly in April, beginning in 2017, to the present
Women's Self Help Groups
From the year 2000, Rilum Foundation started working on several community development programs, forming Self Help Groups and building Community Based Organizations. It continues with these activities till date. SHG formation was funded through various projects by CSD Manipur, AZE Germany, DRDA Meghalaya, and NABARD. In the year 2008, Rilum started training youths on Plumbing, Hair Cutting, and House wiring. In 2010, Rilum decided to shift its focus to livelihood promotion. In the year 2010, with the support from Centre for Micro Finance and Livelihood (CML) Guwahati, Rilum supported SHG federations in two villages of Mawkynrew block, and has since worked on livestock promotion.
While working on SHG formation, we found many women members had been abandoned by their husbands. They joined the SHGs to improve their socio-economic status, but they found it difficult to come up with monthly contributions. So, Rilum is trying to organise them into a group that will collectively seek to claim maintenance from the husband, to meet the basic needs of their children and to be able to work actively in SHGs.
Rilum has organized entrepreneurship groups that are in various stages of operation. We have had success in beekeeping, piggery and poultry. We are still working on achieving sustainability in fields like raising worms for the protein industry, garment manufacturing, bristle brush making, food processing and marketing of agricultural produce. While the markets for these economic activities exist, expansion to scale has been restricted by lack of capital for machinery and initial labour costs. Our search for a solution continues.
Reforestation & Conservation
Cash Crop Support
Sustainable food for farm animals
One billion people suffer from malnutrition and protein deficiency today. As the human population grows, insects become a viable food for human nutrition. They are cheaper to produce and less burdensome to the environment. Crickets need 12 times less feed than cattle, four times less than sheep, and half as much feed as pigs and broiler chickens to produce the same amount of protein. It is more efficient than breeding large animals, needs much less space and generates less waste. Moreover, insects have a better capacity for converting plant into animal biomass than large animals. Obviously, anti-nutritive components and harmful ingredients of insects have to be taken into account.
The main goal of this project is to develop and promote models of small-scale backyard poultry and piggery raised on insects as non conventional protein feed source. We were aiming at exploitation of insects as sustainable sources of protein for animal feed and potentially for human nutrition. The project also looked at the potential of selling the product to create livelihoods. It was implemented in the three villages: Mawmuthoh, Dienglieng and Tanglei. The project is funded by GIZ with technical support from ICAR Umiam and titled ‘Insects as feeds for backyard livestock farming in a changing climate scenario in North-eastern India’. Two types of insects were reared at the demonstration unit of Rilum Foundation for breeding and multiplication: yellow mealworm and crickets.
The yellow mealworm (Tenebrio molitor) is otherwise a pest in stored grains and milled products. Their larvae are best known as fish bait and as food for fish, amphibians, reptiles, turtles, birds, fowls and small mammals kept as household pets or in zoos. They are identified as the best protein for feeding animals and are reared in enormous quantities in small scale operations throughout the world for these uses. Initially, the plan was to source the mealworms locally, but as none could be found, starter colony had to be ordered from Calcutta. Life span of the adult ranges from 37-96 days, so time-to-harvest differed.
Part of the capacity-building objective was to generate knowledge of edible insect feed production systems for small scale rural livestock backyard farming system. Dr. Sanjukta of ICAR gave an orientation to all beneficiaries on the insects they were raising and the future on processing them for the mass market. Farmers could see their poultry happily guzzling the insects whole. Piggery farmers cooked them along with the pig feed.
To assess the fitness of insects as feed with evaluation of its nutritive value and other functional properties, Dr. Sanjukta and GIZ made the evaluation. The Director of GIZ North Eastern Zone along with Mr. Kenneth Pala of GIZ came for inspection of the sheds and the project. Ultimately, the scale at each backyard was too small to support the demands of their livestock. The climate was not suited to the species selected under the project.
In the initial stages, many farmers did not join the project because they were not convinced of the viability, because the demonstration was not on a large scale. In a new project, we need to build a demonstration site and scale up the colonies so that farmers can see sustained feeding over the entire year. It will take a year to build up the demonstration colonies. We should try popularising and starting backyard projects only in the second year. Finally, many women were afraid of the caterpillar variety that was most productive. This was disappointing as we hoped target women with carrying out this economic activity that makes it possible for women to work from home.