NESFAS activates its “No one shall be left behind” project supported by REC Foundation (Rural Electrical Corporation Ltd), with a 3-Day Partnership Workshop with its partners NEN Nagaland, SSC Shillong and SURE Jaintia Hills, on 11/07/18. Over a three-year period, the project will promote indigenous food systems (IFS) that will significantly contribute to improved nutrition, food security and sustainable livelihoods.
The promise of Rural Electrification Corporation Ltd. Foundation supported NESFAS project “No one shall be left behind” got underway with a partnership workshop at the NESFAS office today. The project aims to establish biodiversity for Food, Nutrition and Energy Security for 3000 Households in Meghalaya and Nagaland, North East India. The objective of this workshop is to finalize plan of action for the implementation of the project that will take place for the next three years. The Partner organizations involved in this project include Society for Urban and Rural Empowerment (S.U.R.E) Jaintia Hills, North East Network (NEN) Nagaland and the Social Service Centre (SSC) Shillong Archdiocese.
The overall goal of this Project is to enhance indigenous food systems to significantly contribute to improved nutrition, food security and sustainable livelihoods of about 3000 households in 130 remote indigenous communities of Meghalaya and Nagaland with main focus on adolescent girls, school children, youths, women’s groups and community elders. This project is intended to give a boost to the landscapes of Meghalaya and Nagaland and its indigenous food systems and rural renewable energy indicators to offer a suitable and sustainable models for change. While being innovative the keyword is also to see how they can be meaningful ways of restoring, regenerating and building the resilience of local actions for food, nutritional and renewal energy security, eventually resulting in community wellbeing.
Opening the sessions Dr. Melari Nongrum, Executive Director, NESFAS, shared how her academic research had shown traditional food is still very much relevant to today’s world and needed a shift in mindsets. Ultimately, the aim of this project is to help people in the indigenous communities of Meghalaya and Nagaland to become “Healthy through traditional food”.
NESFAS Associates Pius Ranee and Janakpreet Jassal shared the details of the project proposal and the expected outputs which aim for increase in Production of Micro-nutrient rich and climate resilient species, increase in consumption of Micro-nutrient rich and climate resilient species, and how the average income of the community members can be improved. They highlighted the need for methodologies and approach which includes Mapping and nutritional analysis of 30 nutrient rich species, Workshop on Soils, Seeds, Composting, Community seed fairs, centres which work as platforms to support enhancement of traditional knowledge, crafts and management based in biodiversity. They would also expand on livelihood options like Mei-Ramew cafés and farmers’ markets to promote tasty local food consumption. While doing so the target villages which would become models of showcasing pilot innovations in renewal energy for community well being.
Mr. Phrang Roy, Chairman NESFAS expressed the understanding of the herculean task ahead but also sampled the story of David and Goliath, where size did not matter the smartness of thought and action can shift the balance of advantage. The participants of the workshop then broke up into groups to discuss the possible hurdles and strengths each partner brought to the project table.
Mr. H H Mohrmen who came with his colleague Mr. A B M Shullai shared the work done by his organisation S.U.R.E Jaintia Hills, and the impact it had on the villages they have worked in. Tying it in with the development goals of the project he outlined the possible way they would work on increasing the production, consumption, livelihood options and incomes through community initiatives, trainings, institutional strengthening and mapping.
Ms. Wekoweu Tsuhah from NEN spoke on behalf of her organisation and her colleague on the table Ms Gina Phanbuh and shared the legacy of education, festivals, weekly markets, Annual Biodiversity fairs, product developments and wild edibles. She also shared the possible connects and the gaps to be filled during the course of the project.
Fr. Bernard Laloo and his colleague Ms. A Lyngdoh of SSC set the table for connecting the dots between the ambitions of the project, the coordination between partners, implementation strategies and a larger purview to making it a success story.
The workshop will continue over three days where the partners will work on fine-tuning the details of maximal output at the field level, set up a systemic network for coordination over the large geographical area were the platforms for this project development.