The WUGSP programme is being implemented in 70 villages spread across 18 mandals of Prakasam District with the support of ITC Limited. The programme which started back in 2012 is going strength to strength and has so far supported more than 9500 farmers who have been organized under 88 Water User Groups or WUGs. Under the Soil and Moisture Conservation programme SEARCH works on improving water facilities in the area. The core activities include treating farm catchment areas, taking up tank rehabilitation (114), creating farm ponds (349) and drainage line treatments / sunken ponds (217). Supplementing activities like capacity building of farmers in adopting sustainable agricultural practices as well as the creation of assets like the Custom tool hiring center (35 centers) is adding to the impact. The programme is helping farmers in managing the natural resources, increasing their yield leading to an overall increase in their income over a long term.
The Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) project aims to provide individual household latrines to families living in poverty without access to sanitation services. The project started in 2014 after the clarion-call of Hon. Prime Minister Shri Modi and has so far benefited more than 6000 families in Guntur and Prakasam districts by building individual toilets in each household. The impact of this project is further strengthened by the additional activities that have focused on bringing about a behavior change in the community. Village level campaigns on sanitation, community-led awareness programmes like rallies, community meetings have been taken up alongside a slew of public communication activities like wall paintings.
The Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) project aims to provide individual household latrines to families living in poverty without access to sanitation services. The project started in the year 2014 and has worked with the Swachh Bharat Mission initiated by Hon. Prime Minister. More than 550 individual household toilets have been built under this programme in Atmakuru village of Guntur district.
The impact of this project is further strengthened by the additional activities that have focused on bringing about a behavior change in the community. Village level campaigns on sanitation, community-led awareness programmes like rallies, community meetings have been taken up alongside a slew of public communication activities like wall paintings.
As a continuation of development in the sanitation domain, villages that have been covered with CLTS and declared ODF were chosen for Rural Solid Waste Management. Under this intervention, the community, government, funder (ITC) and SEARCH work together to provide wet and dry trash bins to all households in the village post an awareness campaign that focused on collection and segregation of the waste. The campaign used time-tested techniques of “Kalajatha” and apart from the door to door messaging.
Waste segregated at the household level is now being collected by “green ambassadors” and is composted or sent for recycling as appropriate. The program charges a small user fee alongside the revenue generated from recycling to fund its operating expenses thereby making the project sustainable.
The RSWM was piloted in 2017 in SC Colony at Ananthavarapadu and then in 2018 launched in 3 villages viz; Chekurupadu (Prakasam), Ananthavarapadu (Guntur), Chekatieegalapalem (Guntur). More than 7000 people have been benefited under this intervention and public health is improving in these locations. Expansion in 12 more villages in Prakasam district is planned for 2018.
With the support of NABARD, 2 FPOs have been promoted in Guntur to improve the quality of livelihoods for the local communities. The FPOs owned and managed by producer groups have already enrolled 500+ members and the aim is to quadruple this number in the coming years. Parimala Flower Producer Company Limited and Kothapalem Coastal Marine and Aqua producers company limited have received handholding and capacity building support from SEARCH who has also served as promoting agency.
The current focus of this project is to convert unorganized groups into an organized business while providing backward and forward linkages with, Govt Schemes, Financial and Research Institutions and market linkages of improved income. The aim is to convert these groups into successful and self-sustaining business enterprises in 3 years.
SEARCH has been, since 2008, with the support of NETFISH, implementing the sustainable fishing project with an aim to build capacities, of small fisherfolk and women making dry fish, while also focusing on resource conservation in the area. So far more than 10,000 fisherfolks in Guntur, Prakasam, Krishna and SPS Nellore districts have attended this half-day workshop wherein through qualified trainers, knowledge on sustainable on-boat and off-boat procedures is imparted.
The program has ensured that participants are aware of fishing regulations as well as best practices that result in curbing the post-harvest losses and increase their chances of getting a good price for their produce. The conservation knowledge helps them in the long run by ensuring an adequate supply of fish. The impact of this project has been assessed by a third party.
With an aim to empower youth and women towards sustainable livelihoods, SEARCH implemented a skill development programme in Guntur and Prakasam districts. The programme entails a mobile (temporary) skill training center which is set up in a village for the period of the training and then moved to the next. The centers offer training in various skillset including Tailoring, Fabric painting, Dry fish/Snacks/Pickles production, fashion technology, LMV driving and computer skills. Classes range from 15 days to 3 months depending on the skill imparted.
Each specialty skill has been mapped to a training provider and therefore has a set curriculum which is in line with the current market requirements. At the end of the training, a certificate of completion is being awarded to each participant which is useful in the job search where applicable. So far more than 2000 youth and women have been benefited through the skill development initiative.
To create mass awareness as well as help information seekers, SEARCH started an RTI Campaign in the Bapatla area and also now runs an RTI center. The aim of this project is to create awareness about the Right to Information Act among the general public and also encourage them to understand the process of seeking information that is useful for development.
Several campaigns for awareness were also conducted in the initial days of the center launch to disseminate information about RTI to the locals. More than 50 volunteers were trained to understand the finer aspects of the law and related processes, so as to assist the general public across the district. One of these volunteers today mans the RTI center which is been operational since 2009 and has helped hundreds of people.