Ganges River Dolphin Conservation Education Programme - Community Component

Under community initiative, CEE North has worked with five villages of Bettiah, West Champaran in Bihar. CEE implemented awareness activities among community members and showcased demonstration of sustainable options of agricultural and fishing practices.

As the part of the project, CEE demonstrated 26 units in Bettiah of UP and Bihar to promote organic farming at river bank of targeted project villages to reduce the use of pesticides and chemicals at river bank. Beneficiaries were identified and trained for preparing vermi compost pits with financial support from the project.

Earthworms suitable for the area were provided to all beneficiaries for their compost pits. Good amount of compost is being produced now with these pits. Vermi compost is now being used for river bed farming and vegetable cultivation.

To reduce usage of pesticides and chemicals in cultivation of watermelon and muskmelon, CEE introduced farmers with scientifically recommended seeds and organic based techniques for cultivation. Group of women were trained to promote kitchen/backyard gardening to ensure the supply of nutrients value in the women and children. Farmers were encouraged to grow organic based vegetables in their field, team has identified and selected beneficiaries based on their interest, land holding and availability of organic manure. Seeds for demonstration of different vegetables like onion, ladyfinger, pumpkin, cauliflower, potato, bitter guard, bottle guard, etc. were distributed to farmers with help of Souns Sanrakshan Samiti. Similar demonstration was done in Bettiah project villages.

Various methods were demonstrated by CEE team with the help of experts to convince community members to adopt them in their farming practices. To promote bio-pesticide use, use of panchgavya and vermi wash was promoted in the project villages.

CEE field team interacted with several youths in community meetings to find out suitable and interested candidates for selection of youth volunteers. In Bettiah cluster five youth volunteers were selected in each dolphin project village. Selected youth volunteers were trained by CEE and were guided to work with community to organize regular meetings of Souns Sanrakshan Samiti (SSS) formed in each village, to keep regular vigil on illegal activities around their villages. To provide the better source of nutrition and generate extra income, CEE facilitated the Backyard Poultry among the selected beneficiaries of the project villages.

In Bettiah, individual toilets were constructed with the support of community. Based on need assessment and point of action areas, CEE decided to build and construct 30 model individual toilets in all 5 panchayats through Dolphin programme. Fisherman community from BPL was benefitted with individual toilets. Many families were motivated to take government subsidy to construct toilets in their home. Sanitation has helped reduce expenses of family on medications. Community members feel comfortable in using this toilet as design is user friendly and quality of construction was ensured.

Alternate energy options which are durable, sustainable and low cost were promoted. Solar lanterns were introduced. In project villages, solar lanterns were distributed among fishermen community to showcase option of using solar energy. Looking at indoor pollution during cooking and also to associated health risks among the women folk was discussed. Using wood for preparing food in normal chulha produce maximum carbon emission and that is harmful for environment point of view and also for health of women and children. CEE introduced smokeless chulha which is approved from IIT Benguluru as an option of normal chulha used by community focusing on improvising living condition, health status of women and reduces the load from natural resources from project intervention area

Resource Material on Wetlands of Bihar

CEE North has developed a set of Information, Education and Communication (IEC) material on wetlands of Bihar for Bihar Environment and Forest Department. CEE team conducted research referring to all key documents, books, articles and reports to develop the content of the brochure and poster. After the content development photos of key wetlands were collected from experts. The brochure, poster and stickers were designed. Based on inputs received from forest department material was finalized. This set of material on wetlands aimed at communicating conservation and protection message for various stakeholders. The material was developed in Hindi. (See photos of material)