Thursday, April 24, 2014

Activity Update March 2014: Kanha

Team: Amit AwasthiConservation Officer
            Sampathlal Dhurve – Field assistant

·      1 voluntary work project programme on water conservation – check dam built at Choupan Jhodi nallah, Bhagpur  
·      One voluntary work project for community assistance – area next to hand pump cleaned at Chapri
·      One bio-gas plant repaired in Batwar
·      3 awareness programmes on forest fires and bio-gas  in 3 villages 
·      2 anti-plastic programmes in schools
·      4 new waterholes constructed and 13 existing waterholes cleaned
·      2 programmes on how to celebrate Holi in eco-friendly manner
·      2 nature trails for village children to promote awareness about nature and conservation
·      Environment education programme conducted in 9 schools - attended by 243 students

                     ·      1 unemployed youth placed in a local resort 


As part of our water conservation work, we organized a programme to build a check dam on March 9 near Bhagpur. Amit Awasthi and Sampath led a team consisting of 12 members of Aarti and Sithala women’s self-help groups (SHG) and 4 youths from the village. The dam was built on a stream around 1.5 km in the jungle from the village. The resultant water body benefits both domestic and wild animals. Livestock from the village use the water body in the day while wild animals use it at night. Nilgai, gaur, spotted deer, tiger and sambhar are regularly spotted in the area.

Site near Bhagpur

Volunteers at work

    In community assistance work, our team organized one programme to clean the area next to a hand pump in Chapri. There was substantial water stagnation from water spilt when villagers filled up buckets and vessels from the hand pump. This had created a small marsh and water was spreading to the village road. Insects were also breeding in the water, creating a health hazard. On March 29, 7 students and 3 villagers from Chapri joined Amit and Sampath in filling up the marsh with mud and gravel. Once this sets, a canal will be dug to drain future spillover water to a soak pit. 

During the month, Amit also organized 2 awareness programmes to talk to villagers about the benefits of bio-gas. While the Forest Department had installed several bio-gas units in villages a few years ago, many have fallen into disrepair. Amit explained the benefits of restarting the units, many of which need only minor repairs. Use of bio-gas will reduce pressure from villagers on forests for firewood. The first programme was held on March 5 at Bhagpur and two similar programmes were organized during the month – at Dhamangaon on March 7 and on March 11 at Batwar.

As part of this strategy, we assist villagers in repairing bio-gas units (set up by the Forest Department and Ajiwika) which have fallen into disrepair. On March 20, we helped one villager, Ramprasad Aarmo of Batwar restart his unit.

Batwar - bio-gas tank being cleaned at Ramprasad Aarmo's place

The stove being fired up

On March 8 our team organized an anti-plastic programme at Sautiya. Amit and Sampath spoke to the students of the village school about the harmful impact of plastic/polythene on the environment and motivated them to remove such litter from the village. The students went around the village, collecting plastic and polythene litter/waste, which were then buried in a pit on the outskirts of the village. A similar programme was organized at Patpara on March 10.

Patpara - Sampath and the children with the plastic trash collected

During the month, our team organized programmes to dig/create 4 new waterholes in the jungle. All of these were located inside the jungle in the buffer zone, between 3 km and 5 km from the nearest village. 

We also organized programmes to clean 13 existing waterholes inside the jungle, which had become clogged with organic litter.

Volunteers dig a waterhole in the jungle under supervision by
a forest guard

Holi is a major Hindu festival and is normally celebrated by people splashing water and colours on each other. Normally, a lot of water is wasted and chemicals in the colours contaminate the soil and water bodies. Further, bonfires are lit and branches and trees are cut for firewood. In our programmes, we explained the harm that is caused to the environment by such activities and encouraged people to celebrate the festival in a more eco-friendly manner. Instead of using firewood, villagers are advised to burn rubbish and waste materials or cow dung. We organized 2 programmes on March 16 at Kutwahi and Chapri.


During the month, our team organized environment education programmes in 9 schools in the villages in our area of operations.


Chapri - a classroom talk by Sampa

Sautiya - nature trail

Amit and Sampath led children of Dhamangaon and Samaiya on nature trails on March 9 and March 15 respectively. On the trails, they helped children identify various species of plants and animals and explained the importance of preserving our environment.

Employment Cell

We helped one youth get a job in March.

Ram Kumar Uikey of Kutwahi, at Kanha Kishkinda Resort, Mocha

We have been encouraging villagers to take to vegetable farming on a commercial scale to help them generate additional income and reduce their dependence on forests for income. Over the past 3 years, we have distributed seeds and helped 15 farmers set up vegetable patches. They are earning 200 to 500 rupees a week in additional income through this effort.

Ratiram Dhurve of Chapri sets out his produce at the weekly market

Batwar: Amit and Forest Guard Shyamlal Dhurve conduct an
awareness programme about forest fires and prevention

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