Institutional Building

In the Andhra Pradesh Farmer Managed Groundwater Systems (APFAMGS) Project, Groundwater Monitoring Committees (GMCs) were the farmer institutions at the habitation level that monitored groundwater resources in the particular habitation. These GMCs at the habitation level were federated into Hydrological Unit Networks (HUNs) at the Hydrological Unit level. In all, 638 GMCs and 63 HUNs were functioning actively. The APFAMGS Project was successful in building the capacities of the GMCs and HUNs to manage groundwater resources based on locally generated data that has scientific validity. These Community Based Organizations (CBOs) managed the groundwater monitoring system established by the APFAMGS Project, with the backstopping of PNGOs.  Also, they took lead in dissemination of data, identification and resolution of issues related to water and agriculture, and acted as a platform for collective management of groundwater resources. Thus, the climate monitoring system managed by the GMCs and HUNs generated data on one climate variable i.e. rainfall, and three climate impact variables i.e. water level in borewells, annual groundwater balance, and cropping pattern.

The Strategic Pilot on Adaptation to Climate Change (SPACC) Project facilitated the formation of CBOs, called as Climate Change Adaptation Committees (CCACs). Considering that the SPACC Project perceives climate change adaptation in relation to drought risk and groundwater scarcity, these groups need to be given adequate representation in the CCACs. Rather than create new institutions, this was accomplished by reconfiguring the GMCs and the HUNs as Climate Change Adaptation Committees (CCACs). This was facilitated by expanding the membership of the GMCs and HUNs to other vulnerable groups and extending their terms of reference. Members of GMC/HUN led this process. At the habitation level, GMCs were reconfigured to form CCACs. To facilitate this, GMC expanded its membership to facilitate adequate representation of groups vulnerable to drought and groundwater scarcity due to climate variability/change. The habitation-level CCACs federated at the Hydrological Unit level into HU-level CCACs. Of the 63 HUs, covered under APFAMGS project, five (The five HUs not considered for CCAC formation are: Lothuvagu (BIRDS); Tarlapaduvagu and Naidupallivagu (CARVE); Singarayakondavagu and Bogoluvagu (SAFE)) were very small (constituted with a single habitation or consisting of abandoned habitations). Therefore, HU-level CCACs were formed in 58 HUs and habitation-level CCACs will be formed in 638 habitations.

CCACs serve as a platform for populations vulnerable to drought and water scarcity because of climate change/variability. They are key farmers’ institutions that manage the climate monitoring system at the habitation and hydrological unit level and disseminate information and knowledge on climate variability/change. This includes identification of site for establishing climate monitoring system, selection of volunteers, data collection, and update climate change database. Their participation was crucial for effective conduct of the Knowledge Attitude and Practice (KAP) study. Their assistance was sought in the selection of farmer participants’ for the KAP study. Further, they will lead the organization and conduct of Climate Field Schools (CFS). This will include curriculum design, organize village meetings, select CFS farmer participants, identify Community Resource Persons (CRPs), form Common Interest Groups (CIGs), conduct of CFS sessions, identify pilots to test adaptation measures, select field sites for pilots, prepare climate change adaptation plans, conduct field days, and disseminate project lessons and results. The PNGOs will back stop the CCACs in implementing these activities. The PNGOs will sign a MOU with the HU-level CCACs for effective implementation of project activities, monitoring, and development of annual work plans. 

Often Community Based Institutions created by various projects function with full vigour during the project period. However, a review of these CBOs a few years after the projects come to a close shows that they are either dysfunctional or not serving their established objective. Members of CBOs often cite discontinuation of project support and monitoring as a primary reason for the failure of these institutions. To facilitate creation of sustainable institutions at the ground level it is important to instill a sense of ownership and accountability from the beginning. Assisting a CBO in creating a vision and developing a follow up action plan serves as a guiding tool and acts as a key ingredient in infusing a sense of ownership and accountability. Further, the vision building exercise helps clarify the objectives and goals of the institution to its constituent members. Apart from that, it synchronizes the goals of the CBOs with those of the project objectives. Additionally, the outputs of this exercise could serve as inputs in designing project inputs/activities, monitoring progress, and evaluating outcomes.

Accordingly, one-day orientation camps were organized in the pilot HUs for CCAC members to facilitate vision building exercise and development of action plans. The outputs and outcomes of this exercise served as inputs to the Project Annual Plan for 2012. As mentioned earlier, CCACs lead implementation of project activities at the community level—Participatory Climate Monitoring (PCM), Sustainable Land and Water Management (SLWM) Pilots, and Climate Field Schools.

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