Scrolling Text / Heading / News Will Be Displayed Here ...

Awards

Recipient of Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development Award presented in Philippines.

Recipient of Krishi Bushan Award by Government of Maharashtra.

Partners

Member of IFOAM Member of IUCN
Member
Fair Trade India
Member
URGENCI

Donate now with betterplace.org!

Events & Schedules

FEBRUARY 2012

Workshop on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) for elderly persons. (22-25 Feb, 2012)

Able and assisted elders along with their care-takers participate in a workshop on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) from 22nd Feb to 25th Feb 2012. The forty participants are from remote villages around Aurangabad and from other districts of Marathwada region. The workshop is being facilitated by Mr. Ashok Yadav of Association for Stimulating Know-how (ASK) a Delhi based capacity building organization. The workshop is held in collaboration with HelpAge India.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

JANUARY 2012

Agreement with Maharashtra Centre for Entrepreneurship Development (MCED). (Jan 1, 2012)

IIRD signs an agreement with MCED to build vocational skills of youth of neighbouring Jalna district in selected courses. The first such course began on Jan 8, 2012 with 28 young women trained in garment making and fashion designing. Along with the vocational skills, the trainees also learn important life skills and on entrepreneurship development.

Republic Day celebration on 26 Jan, 2012.

The Republic Day was celebrated within the IIRD campus by about 300 participants that include students from the vocational courses and members of the farmers clubs. The flag hoisting and the key speaker was a reputed person from Bidkin village.

Visit of Jalna District Collector. (Jan 27, 2012)

The Collector of Jalna, Mr. Tukaram Munde, visited IIRD on the 27th January to keep abreast on the developments with regard to the training of women on garment making and fashion designing.

Solar Stations Inaugurated in 5 villages. (Jan 27, 2012)

 

In a joint intervention of IIRD with NABARD and The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), solar lantern recharge stations are implemented in 5 villages covered by the Village Development Programme (VDP) of NABARD. Each of the 5 solar lantern recharge stations are maintained by the respective farmers clubs in the village. The farmers clubs rent out the charged 50 lanterns to villagers for modest charges that cover maintenance. This is expected to bring about better quality of life for the rural villages particularly for the students preparing for exams and farmers who have to leave to the fields at nights.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

DECEMBER 2011

Fair Trade Workshop on Cotton Production and Processing, Yavatmal, Maharashtra - (Dec 19-20, 2011)

Representatives from IIRD and farmers clubs of Aurangabad district participated in the Fair Trade Workshop on Cotton Production and Processing that was organized by Fair Trade Forum India. The other participants included members from other farmers cooperatives and NGOs. The workshop delved on the aspects of fair trade in cotton and had resource persons from India and abroad.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

NOVEMBER 2011

Participation At The Biofach India exhibition (November10-11, 2011)

IIRD, along with office bearers of the PGS Organic Council of India, organized a PGS OC India meeting in Bangalore along with the participation at the Biofach India exhibition. The meeting concretely discussed and agreed on terms for more inclusiveness of small and marginal farmers in the PGS process.

IIRD President participated in the Conference of the Associated Country Women of the World (ACWW) (November 15-18, 2011)

IIRD President participated in the Conference of the Associated Country Women of the World (ACWW) that was held in Madurai, Tamil Nadu. IIRD has been the members of ACWW, a UN associated body for the empowerment of women worldwide, for the past twenty years.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

OCTOBER 2011

The Executive Director of IIRD participated in the International Federation of Agriculture Movement (IFOAM) (October 4, 2011)

The Executive Director of IIRD participated in the International Federation of Agriculture Movement (IFOAM) International Conference and the General Assembly that was organized in Paldang, South Korea. The Participatory Guarantee Systems (PGS) and the experiences of Mahagreen Producer Company was shared in this forum during two related sessions. Parallel to this, a meeting of URGENCI members were held to discuss on the forthcoming General Assembly of URGENCI.

IIRD representatives were invited by NABARD (October 11, 2011)

IIRD representatives were invited by NABARD to present on the evolution and achievements of Mahagreen Producer Company at the meeting of NABARD District Managers in their office at Pune. Susequently, NABARD appreciated the developments and requested for a proposal to support the Producer Company.

IIRD representatives were invited by NABARD (October 17, 2011)

IIRD's experiences in partnership with the State Agriculture Department for the promotion of organic agriculture was shared at the Agriculture Commissioners Officer in the presence of District and Taluka Agriculture Office`rs and representatives of NGOs.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

SEPTEMBER 2011

Representatives from Development Policy Reserach Centre (DPRC) of Tamil Nadu and the Directors of Nanjil Producer Company of Tamil Nadu visited IIRD (September 19-21, 2011)

Representatives from Development Policy Reserach Centre (DPRC) of Tamil Nadu and the Directors of Nanjil Producer Company of Tamil Nadu visited IIRD in Bidkin to learn from the Managers and Directors of Mahagreen Producer Company. Mr. Vivek Joshi and Associates, experts in Comany matters, also specific guidelines on the management and statutory requirements of a Producer Company.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

AUGUST 2011

Senior staff of IIRD visited the Development Policy Research Centre (DPRC) (August 1-5, 2011)

Senior staff of IIRD visited the Development Policy Research Centre (DPRC) office in Kanyakumari district to share learnings and initiate steps for the formation of additional farmers clubs. The DPRC staff and the directors of the fledgeling producer company facilitated by DPRC learned from the experiences of Mahagreen in the management of Producer Company.

Senior Board Member of Fair Trade Forum India (FTFI) visits IIRD (August 11-12, 2011)

Senior Board Member of Fair Trade Forum India (FTFI) visits IIRD to initiate a joint programme for the marketing of organic cotton. An agreement was drafted at this meeting.

The Independence Day Celebration in IIRD campus (August 15, 2011)

The Independence day was celebrated in IIRD campus along with about 350 farmers and representatives from the villages of Aurangabad district. Prof. Dhat, renowned educationist and social reformer, was invited as the chief guest. Prof. Dhat, through his impressive speech, motivated the farmers to be truly independent from modern kinds of slavery and social injustice.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

JULY 2011

Promotion of Organic Farming (July 7-8, 2011)

The senior representatives of IIRD's partner NGOs involved in the promotion of organic farming in the respective districts of Marathwada met in Hingoli to discuss on the developments and strategize further actions. The meetings were followed by field visits to the villages in Hingoli district to learn about the activities of the farmers clubs and organic farmers marketing systems in the district.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

JUNE 2011

The Environment Day (June 5, 2011)

The environment day is commemorated every year in the villages covered by IIRD and in the Bidkin campus. About 10000 tree saplings of local native varieties were distributed to farmers and school students on this day. The school children of selected schools adopted at least one tree each. Apart from the tree saplings distribution, environment awareness programmes were organized in each of the Community Learning Centres (CLCs) where the village participants discussed on the environmental issues that they face and the possible actions for the conservation of the environment.

Workshop on Budgeting (June 27-28, 2011)

The Executive Director and the Accounts Manager of IIRD participated in a workshop on budgeting organized by the Financial Management Services Foundation (FMSF) in New Delhi. The workshop also dealt with the new rules as per the recent modifications in FCRA Act.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

MAY 2011

Parrie Centre for Technology (PCT) Day (May 3, 2011)

Parrie Centre for Technology (PCT) Day was celebrated on May 3, 2011 with the theme of rural enterprises and vocational skills particularly for women. During the day, an expert in food processing presented several related trades that could be managed by women in the villages. Following the presentations and some songs by alumni of PCT, the participants also formed groups to discuss and agree on concrete steps to establish some rural enterprises. About 350 participants attended the function.

Impact Monitoring Workshop for DOPF (May 4, 2011)

A workshop was held in Bidkin for all the District Organic Promotion Facilitators (DOPFs) to further discuss on the impact evaluation of the farmers clubs that were formed in each of the districts of Marathwada. The tools used are Situational Assessment and Goal Establiishment (SAGE) and Performance Assessment of Group (PAG) for the measurement of the impacts in farmers clubs.

DOPC Visits (May 13, May 27-28)

Representatives from IIRD visited the organizations promoting organic agriculture in the other districts of Marathwada to learn from their strategies in the promotion of organic agriculture and rural organic agriculture based enterprises. Ankur Pratisthan of Beed district, UGAM of Hingoli district, and SEVA of Parbhani district were visited for this purpose.

Mahagreen Producer Company starts Dal Processing (May 24)

With newly procured machinery from Akola (Maharashtra), the Mahagreen Producer company begins to process tur dal (pigeon pea). The processed tur dal fetches a much higher price in the local and domestic markets. The small organic farmers who grow tur dal will thereby get a higher price for their produce.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

APRIL 2011

Small Organic Farmers participate in Agriculture Food Festival in Aurangabad (April 11-13)

Five stalls of only organic vegetables and processed food items were installed in the Agriculture food festival in Aurangabad. The stalls gave an opportunity for the small farmers to sell their produce directly to the consumers in the city. The consumers had an opportunity to buy organic farm produce directly from the farmers. The Mahagreen Producer Company also sold their produce in the Food Festival. The organic farmers of Aurangabad set up a stall at the Aurangabad Food Exhibition initiated by the State Agriculture Department to sell their organic produce. This was the first participation by Mahagreen Producer Company in an agriculture exhibition after its registration.

Founders Day celebrated on 13th April

The first Website in Marathi language - http://www.sendriyashethi.net - on Organic Agriculture was launched on 25th March 2011. The Website is a valuable practitioners resource manual on organic farming techniques in Marathi language. The manual has evolved through participatory discussions and consultations with organic farmers mainly from Aurangabad district of Maharashtra.

The Founders Day was commemorated in the IIRD campus at Bidkin along with almost farmers and NGO representatives from the Marathwada region. The theme for the day was small rural enterprises supplementing farm based livelihoods. Mr. Anil Shinde, noted industrialist and social reformer, spoke on several opportunities available in the rural areas under the current context of globalization and developments. The farmers presented several skits, songs, and drama. The school children and teachers who had actively participated in the environment conservation activities in the villages were felicitated with certificates on this day.

Mahagreen Business Development Plan (25-27 April)

The Directors of the Mahagreen producer company had a 3-day meeting to draft a business plan for the year 2011-12. The meeting was facilitated by Ms. Suneeta Devi, Managing Director of Umang Producer Company. The meeting resulted in a concrete business plan for production and marketing of identified organic products in Aurangabad district. The workshop was facilitated by Ms. Sunita Kashyap, Managing Director of Umang Producer Company in Uttarakhand, and concluded with a simple but concrete business plan that involves all the producers of Mahagreen and has a definite impact on their incomes.

Representatives from Fair Trade Forum India (FTFI) and European Union visited IIRD (28-29 April, 2011)

Representatives from Fair Trade Forum India (FTFI) and European Union visited IIRD and its field areas to observe and study the organic production and marketing systems. The representatives also participated in a training session organized to raise awareness among the farmers on fair trade.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

MARCH 2011

Mahagreen - a Farmer-owned Producer Company formally established on March 11, 2011

Alexander Mahagreen Producer Co. Ltd.,(AMPCL) is a farmer-owned company based in Aurangabad district of Maharashtra. This company spearheaded by small organic farmers of Marathwada works to ensure a sustainable environment and social justice among the small and marginal farmers of Marathwada region in Maharashtra through promotion of organic farm produce.

AMPCL is among the few companies that is owned and managed by a group of women farmers and probably the very rare such companies in India that are focused on organic farm production and marketing. The company presently has about 400 women organic farmers among its direct stakeholders who benefit from the services of the Producer Company.

Launch of Marathi Website on Organic Agriculture.

The first Website in Marathi language - http://www.sendriyashethi.net - on Organic Agriculture was launched on 25th March 2011. The Website is a valuable practitioners resource manual on organic farming techniques in Marathi language. The manual has evolved through participatory discussions and consultations with organic farmers mainly from Aurangabad district of Maharashtra.

VDP Workshop at Pune (Mar 23)

NABARD organized the workshop on Village Development Project (VDP) at Pune which was participated by representatives from IIRD. The workshop dealt with the new guidelines on reporting for organizations involved in the implementation of VDP. IIRD is among the apex organizations selected for the development of 5 villages in Paithan Taluka of Aurangabad district.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

FEBRUARY 2011

State Level Conference on Organic Agriculture based Rural Enterprises (Feb 14-15)

IIRD organized a state level conference that brought together various stakeholders of Maharashtra in the promotion of rural agriculture based enterprises farmers, banks, financial institutions, NGOs, agriculture departments, and technical resource institutions, for two days to deliberate on the challenges, opportunities, and strategies for rural enterprises. The conference was organized in IIRD's campus at Bidkin. The key speakers at the conference included the General Manager of NABARD - Dr. L.K. Pingale, Prof. Dhat - a renowned person in the cooperative movement and an educationist, and Mr. Rajput, one of the leading entrepreneurs of Aurangabad. At least 300 farmers, particularly women organic farmers, participated in the conference. The objectives of the conference was to

  • To share knowledge and experiences among farmers in the implementation of rural enterprises

  • To gain an insight on potential income generation opportunities available for small farmers and rural entrepreneurs.

  • To identify ways to collaborate with technical and financial resource institutions that promote rural enterprises.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

JANUARY 2011

Workshop on Clean Development Mechanism (Jan 17-19).

Senior staff of IIRD participated in a workshop on Climate Change and pro-poor Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) from Jan 17-19 at Bagepalli near Bangalore. The workshop was organized by Agriculture Development and Training Society (ADATS) and facilitated by Ram Esteves. With the motivation of ADATS, IIRD becomes the member of the Fair Climate network and agrees to promote low carbon farming and other CDM projects that are pro-poor.

Workshop on Water Management at WOTR (Jan 10-12).

Representatives from IIRD and collaborating organizations in Marathwada region attend a workshop on water management at the WOTR Training centre in Darewadi in Ahmadnagar district of Maharashtra from Jan 10-12. The workshop is on the practical aspects of water conservation and management along with field visits. WOTR is renowned for its promotion of practices on water management among the small and marginal farmers in dry land areas of Ahmadnagar district.

Workshop on Enterprise Development at Bidkin (Jan 8).

With the view to rural enterprises that promote organic farming and its productivity, a workshop was organized in IIRD's campus at Bidkin. The workshop was participated by about 90 organic farmers and main issues discussed at the workshop were - vermicompost as a farm enterprise and drip irrigation for better management of water resources and improved productivity. At the end of the workshop, many of the farmers agreed to start vermicompost making as an enterprise and also install drip irrigation systems in their farms with the technical support from IIRD.

Agreement with Canadian High Commission for Promotion of Rural Enterprises.

IIRD gets into a formal agreement with Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) to promote rural enterprises based on biodynamic agricultural practices. With this agreement and funding from Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI), the small organic farmers of Aurangabad district will produce vermicompost and biodynamic compost to market these among other small farmers.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

DECEMBER 2010

Workshop for Awareness on Challenges of Persons with Disability (Dec 31)

About 50 participants attended the awareness workshop on persons with disabilities organized at IIRD campus in Bidkin on Dec 31st. Persons with disabilities along with their parents participated in the workshop to share their experiences and challenges. The workshop was also participated by Mr. Golam Kamal of United Nations Office of Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA) in Sudan and Ms. Maharufa Hussein of United Nations Habitat (UN Habitat) Head Quarters in Nairobi, Kenya. The chief guest at the workshop, Ms. Meerabai of Shekta village, shared her experience in starting the enterprise of tailoring in the village. Polio had affected both her legs and yet she was able to start and run the enterprise successfully. She inspired other participants as a role model to pursue income generation opportunities even if they have disabilities.

IFOAM India Members Meeting at Mumbai (Dec 7)

Joy Daniel, Executive Director, participated at the IFOAM India Members meeting that was organized in Mumbai along with the BioFach Exhibition. IFOAM Projects and Membership Coordinator from IFOAM Office in Germany coordinated the meeting and had discussions about the role of IFOAM members and the general working strategy of IFOAM as a network organization. The IFOAM World Board Member from India, Ms. Vanaja Ramprasad, also participated in the meeting.

Representatives from Korea Organic Farmers Organization (KOFA) and Korean Government visit IIRD (Dec 9)

Seven (7) representatives from Korea Organic Farmers Organization (KOFA) and the Korean Government visited IIRD and the project area to learn in detail about the activities of IIRD particularly the practice of organic farming among the small and marginal farmers. The objective of the visit to learn and share knowledge besides initiating a collaborative relationship.

IIRD leads the workshop for Organic Agriculture Service Providers on the Quality Monitoring systems for Organic Farming (Dec 11)

Mr. Bhaskar Padul of IIRD was invited as a resource person for a workshop organic agriculture service providers. About 20 representatives from the service provider organizations involved in the mobilization of organic grower groups and facilitating their certification, participated in the workshop. Mr. Bhaskar Padul presented on the aspects of quality management and monitoring of organic farmers in organic group certification. The workshop was organized by the National Centre for Organic Farming (NCOF).

_____________________________________________________________________________________

NOVEMBER 2010

PGS Workshop at Leh, Ladakh (Nov 21-24).

Ms. Alka Najan from IIRD was invited as the resource person for the PGS Workshop organized by LEHO Organization in Leh, Ladakh from Nov 21 - 23. About 90 participants gathered at the workshop that included senior level government authorities, representatives from NGOs, and farmers from Ladakh. The farmers from Ladakh learned about the process of PGS and the marketing of organic produce. At the end of the workshop, the participants drafted a strategy and recommendation towards an organic Ladakh region.

Release of Comic Book on Environment.

A simplified jungle story as a comic book was prepared by the organization and distributed to the schools in Aurangabad and Jalna districts. The comic book illustrated the importance and need for conservation of local biodiversity. About 2000 comic books were distributed in 30 schools.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

OCTOBER 2010

15th South Asian Feminist Capacity Building Course on Gender, Sustainable Livelihoods, Human Rights and Peace. - Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Ms. Sangeeta Shirsath participated in the 15th South Asian Feminist Capacity Building Course on Gender, Sustainable Livelihoods, Human Rights and Peace that was held in Dhaka, Bangladesh, from September 15 to October 15. The training course was organized by South Asian Feminist Organization (SANGAT) in cooperation with BRAC, Bangladesh.

Fair Trade Workshop in Kathmandu, Nepal (Oct 18-22)

As a follow-up to membership in the Fair Trade Forum India (FTFI) network, Ms. Sangeeta Shirsath participated in a workshop organized by FTFI to strategize and plan for fair trade particularly in organic cotton farming among the small and marginal farmers of Aurangabad district.

Fair Trade workshop in Yavatmal (Oct 26-30)

Women organic farmer representatives from Aurangabad district together with staff from IIRD participated in the Fair Trade Workshop that was held in Yavatmal from October 26-30. Representatives from FTFI and Italian marketing network organized the workshop. The workshop focused mainly on monitoring of the fair trade aspects in the cotton cultivation and harvest stage.

Grain Banks initiated by the Farmers Clubs of Aurangabad district

Women farmer members of the farmers clubs initiated by IIRD started a grain bank for the old and destitute widows in their villages. The farmers club members identify the old and destitute widows in their village and collect the food grains required for them. They also organize the event of distribution of the grains - wheat and millets - among the selected beneficiaries in a transparent and accountable manner. IIRD's participation is the distribution of groceries among the selected beneficiaries in the event organized by the farmers club.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

SEPTEMBER 2010

Persons with Disabilities make and sell bags for Organic Bazaar consumers.

For inclusion of persons with disabilities in enterprise and income generation activities, shopping bags made by persons with disabilities will be stitched and marketed by them. The bags are available in the organic bazaar for their consumers. This helps the consumers to use environment friendly bags instead of plastics besides helping income generation activities for the marginalized persons.

IIRD starts Physiotherapy for the old and destitute women.

Doctor from IIRD visits the villages of IIRD's project area in Aurangabad daily and conducts physiotherapy for those in need. An advanced and portable combo machine is being used for the purpose. This complements the regular health care programmes conducted by IIRD for the rural destitute women.

IIRD is awarded the Krishi Bushan award (September 28)

On the 28th of September 2010, IIRD was awarded the prestigious Krishi Bushan for its contribution to promotion of organic agriculture in Maharashtra. This is the first time that this award is given in the field of organic agriculture and IIRD is the first recipient organization. The award was presented by the the Governor of Maharashtra in the presence of the Chief Minister of Maharashtra and the State Agriculture Minister. This is in recognition of IIRD's interventions and the efforts of the small and marginal organic farmers committed to the aims of organic farming.

PGSOIC Meeting (September 28-29)

The PGSOIC meeting was organized from Sep 28-29 at the Chetana Vikas in Wardha, Maahrashtra. Representatives from about 9 organizations involved in the promotion of PGS participated in the PGSOIC meeting. The key issues discussed was the inclusion of new members. Two new participants, the GOMUKH Centre in Pune and farmers group led Mr. Ubai Hussain, was keen to become members of the PGSOIC as Facilitating Councils.

Farmers Exchange Visit (September 28-30)

Four women organic farmers from Aurangabad district met with the local PGS groups in Wardha to share knowledge on the PGS methods and the marketing systems facilitated by Chetana Vikas. The farmers also had the opportunity to visit the Gandhi Ashram at Wardha and learn about his philosophy, work, and life. The Gandhian principles of community mobilization and participation greatly motivated the women organic farmers. Noted organic farmers, Mr. Subhash Sharma, from Amravati also invited the organic farmers to his farm to share his learning on the transformation process from chemical to organic farming and the positive experiences.

Farmers club members promote biodynamic Cow Pat Pit (CPP)

Farmers club representatives met and agreed to prepare one tonne of CPP in the next three (3) months and promote this among the organic farmers. This was also shared with the chemical farmers as an incentive to promote the benefits of organic farming.

IIRD becomes member of Fair Trade Forum India (FTFI) Network

FTF-I Membership has been approved for IIRD by the Executive Council of Fair Trade Forum - India at New Delhi. This is in appreciation of the Fair Trade initiatives and principles taken up by IIRD. The producers, small and marginal farmers, will now have the advantage of the network of more than 45 members - both in marketing and in the technical expertise.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

AUGUST 2010

Independence day Celebrations in Bidkin (Aug 15)

The Independence day of India was celebrated in the IIRD campus at Bidkin. Almost 400 members of the farmers clubs participated in the celebrations. Mr. Kiran Bijutkar, the District Manager of National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) in Aurangabad District graced the occasion and motivated the farmers to continue their activities in making farmers truly independent by embracing organic farming practices.

The farmers clubs of Marathwada linked with NABARD

Seventeen (17) farmers clubs of Aurangabad and 30 farmers clubs of four (4) other districts of Marathwada region have been formally recognized by NABARD for technical assistance and priority for linkages with banks for small agriculture based enterprises. These farmers clubs were initiated by IIRD in cooperation with NGOs in the respective districts of Beed, Hingoli, and Parbhani.

IIRD selected as Apex Organization for Village Development Programme (VDP) of NABARD

IIRD is selected as the apex organization for the VDP programme of NABARD. This entails formation of a village development committee, development of a village development plan, and facilitation in the implementation of the same plan. NABARD will facilitate the linkages with banks and necessary institutions for the implementation of the plan.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

JULY 2010

Fair Trade Audit (July 7-9)

Mr. Yadav of Fair Trade Forum India (FTFI) and Ms. Neelu Bhullar of Management Development Institute (MDI, New Delhi) visited IIRD and the project villages to conduct a workshop on Fair Trade principles and also audited the process of local certification and marketing through the Organic Link and the Organic Bazaar for their adherence to Fair Trade principles.

UK Student studies the Organic Bazaar (July 27-29)

Ms. Tabitha Gillan, a student of University of Reading in UK, visited IIRD and the Organic Bazaar to study its impact on the small holder farmers, the environment, and general awareness on organic food production and consumption.

Spread of Biodiversity conservation in schools of Marathwada region.

Meetings were held with respective school headmasters of at least 10 schools in 4 other districts of Marathwada - Beed, Jalna, Higoli, and Parbhani - to promote biodiversity conservation with the participation of school children. Schools were encouraged to submit related biodiversity projects. At least 40 schools from these districts joined in the efforts to raise environment awareness among their students and take responsible actions. About 3000 tree saplings were distributed to these schools for plantation in the school campuses and to be adopted by the school children.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

JUNE 2010

Celebration of Environment Day (June 5)

Workshops were held in 7 villages with the participation of the Mahila Mandal (womens groups), farmers clubs, organic farmers, and Panchayat members. The workshops were conducted by the women farmers themselves to stress the importance of the conservation of biodiversity in the face of the recent challenges that include the proliferation of Genetically modified seeds and usage of chemicals in agriculture.

Biodiversity conservation in schools

A meeting was held with the school teachers representing 20 schools of Aurangabad district to promote biodiversity awareness among the school children. Further to a request from the schools, the village volunteers were mobilized to share their knowledge on local biodiversity and local actions to conserve biodiversity with the school children. This complemented their local school curricula with local knowledge. Further, about 2000 tree saplings were distributed to the schools in Aurangabad district where school children adopted the trees to maintain them till they finish their schooling. The schools were encouraged to submit specific biodiversity project that has the participation of the school students.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

MAY 2010

PCT Day celebrations (May 3)

The Parrie Centre for Technology (PCT) celebrates its 16th Anniversary on the 3rd May. More than 3000 youth, mainly women, have been trained through PCT on various vocational trades that are appropriate for the village. A lecture by well-known local trainer on vocational trades guided about 200 participants on selection of vocational trades and establishment of enterprises based on the new skills. Further, participatory discussions led to greater awareness and need to educate the youth.

Workshop on Tools for Impact Monitoring and Evaluation (May 17-22)

Forty representatives from NGOs, community workers, and farmers, participated in a workshop on "Tools for Impact Monitoring and Evaluation" that was held from May 17-22, in IIRD's campus at Bidkin. The topics for learning included the various tools of Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA), Situational Analysis and Goal Establishment (SAGE), and Performance Assessment of Groups (PAG). The PRA exercise was practically conducted in a village in groups and the results were presented in the workshop.

National Consultation on Agri-biodiversity (May 27)

To celebrate the International Year of Biodiversity (2010), all the bureaux of Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), namely, National Bureau of Animal Genetic Resources, National Bureau of Fish Genetic Resources, National Bureau of Agriculturally Important Microorganisms, National Bureau of Agriculturally Important Insects, organized a National Consultation on Agro-biodiversity from May 26-27 at National Agriculture Science Centre, New Delhi. IIRD was invited for the same to present and discuss on the "Management of genetic resources: role of farmers, society, livestock keepers, NGOs, etc. The consultation had more than 200 participants representing scientists, policy makers, NGOs, and farmers.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

APRIL 2010

Persons with Disabilities get a chance.

As if being poor and born as a dalit is not worse enough, polio at childhood has left Archana with a disability too. Yet, she is on her way to become a gram sevak (village administration officer). She now travels 8 kms/ 5 miles daily to learn tailoring. She hopes the new skill will help her earn from home and pay for her studies. Yes, she learns on an electric sewing machine at IIRD's vocational training centre.

American volunteer joins IIRD (April 6)

Alex Reich, a student of Environment from Minnesota of US, arrived in Bidkin village of Aurangabad district to learn and design water management methods that will benefit the small dry land organic farmers. He will also teach English to the staff of IIRD.

Seed meetings (April 5-7)

A series of meetings are held in the villages of Aurangabad to document the varieties of native seeds of food crops available in Aurangabad. One such meeting identified 110 varieties of native food crops.

Founders Day celebrations (April 13)

The Founders Day will be commemorated on April 13. Many farmers and representatives of NGOs and government departments will participate in this commemoration. Noted social worker and recipient of Magasaysay award, Padmabhushan Dr. Rajnikant Arole, will grace the occassion encouraging support and motivation to the farmers and development workers.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

MARCH 2010

Farmers Exchange facilitated by Grassroots NGO in Uttaranchal (March 11-13)

Six farmers from Aurangabad district visited Ranikhet in Uttaranchal to learn about social enterprises and producer companies formed by women. The visit was facilitated by Grassroots NGO. The Mahila Umang Samiti, Umang for short, is a federation of self-help groups in villages in Almora, Nainital and Bageshwar districts. Umang provides a platform for the women to engage in productive activities like knitting and food processing, by bringing about linkages with the market. The farmers from Aurangabad exchanged ideas on organic farming with the farmers of Umang. The discussions led to some documented knowledge on organic pest and disease management for the vegetable farmers of Umang and learnings for the development of a producer company in Aurangabad.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

FEBRUARY 2010

North India Organic Farmers Conference, Indore (Feb 8-10)

Farmers from Marathwada participated in the North India Organic Farmers Conference that was organized by OFAI (Organic Farmers Association of India) in Indore from Feb 8-10. At this conference, the farmers presented on the methods of organic farming in dry land areas. The farmers also had an opportunity to visit some of the organic farms in Madhya Pradesh and interact directly with the farmers to exhange knowledge on organic farming.

_____________________________________________________________________________________