My guides as we walk through a restored land
The following is a postcard from Neeharika Tummala, GlobalGiving's In-the-Field Representative in India and Bangladesh, about her recent visit to Krishi Avam Paristhitiki Vikas Sansthan (KRAPAVIS).
Of the 50 odd organizations I have visited, KRAPAVIS has a unique mandate of community development. They closely understand the relationship of people to the environment and how preserving one can benefit the other. Like millions of people in rural India, people are dependent on agriculture and raising cattle. But with lack of understanding and neglect, several grazing lands are being eroded and spoilt. As a result, birds don’t nest there, animals leave and biodiversity decreases. KRAPAVIS showed me that the damage is not permanent and with effort, grazing lands can be restored. I visited several such restored sites and my guides were two local KRAPAVIS ladies who have now become informal biodiversity experts! They showed me the nursery, where new plants are grown and then sold at nominal prices, taught me the names of certain plants and even showed me how to protect ants. No species is ignored! In one of the restored areas, I was told that tigers come at night to drink water, something that did not happen before and a great sign of conservation success. Conservation includes things like building bunds so that rainwater is conserved and available for community use.
The founder Aman would walk me through a site and would say ‘can you hear that?’ and I would say ‘what?’ and he said ‘the sound of birds chirping!’ I took these sounds for granted but realized what a disturbing world it would be if I woke up to hear silence instead of birds in the air.
The impact of restoring these grazing lands is that cattle have food and access to water which provides herders with increased access to milk and therefore income. One of the best examples of sustainable development that I have seen!
Protecting the Ants
A community member who stops to say hi
Walking on one of the rainwater harvesting bunds
Women collecting water for cooking and drinking