Facilitation of NGOs for livelihood development at Sagar island, West Bengal

The project aims to improve the quality of life of the poorest segment of inhabitants in the Sagar Island who are vulnerable and are victims of natural disasters and effects of climate change. NEWS is implementing the project at Ramkarchar area of Sagar Island.

Sunderban includes 102 islands. 54 are inhabited and the remaining 48 are forested. One among those 54 inhabited islands is the Sagar Island. The island is situated about 100km to the south of Kolkata in the South 24 Parganas district. The island is full of creeks and small river channels and reflects all natural problems of the Sunderban like embankment breaches caused by tidal surges, salinity, disappearing mangroves etc. In the year 2001 about 1.85lakh people inhabited the 47 villages of this island. The estimated population in the year 2011 has increased to 2.2lakh, although major part of the island still remains 3 meters below the sea level.

NEWS has been allotted the Gram Panchayat of Ramkarchar under ICZMP. Ramkarchar is one among the other 9 GP of the Sagar Island. The village has a population of about 32700, among which 17300 are male and 15400 female. Majority of the population (95.11%) of the village are involved in agriculture and the remaining population is involved in fisheries (2.82%) and other employment practices (2.47%) such as waged labour, self-employment etc.

Though agriculture is the main source of employment, many people due to practice of mono-cropping agriculture depend on forest and forest products like collection of prawn seeds, unscientific fishing, cutting of woods etc. Another issue involving mono-cropping includes drifting away of the native people in search of better livelihood which in turn effects the development of the village. The drifting of the people involves many other resources such as improper infrastructure, health and hygiene related issues. The Ramkarchar village has been given the title of “Nirmal Gram Panchayat”. Though the village   has proper facilities of sanitation, proper hygiene is not maintained. In spite of all these disadvantages the village has an advantage of an educational background which can work as a boon for the villagers. Unfortunately, the villagers, in spite of having proper resources are unable to put them into function. This is leading to underutilization of the resources. Among the 17 other Sansads of Ramkarchar, the Sansad IX of Krishnagar and Sansad XIII of Naraharipur has been selected by the NEWS because   these two Sansads are the most unprivileged and deprived

Funded By: World Bank
Project Duration: 2012 to 2015
To improve the livelihood of the poorest segment of inhabitants in the Sagar Islands, including the farmers whose livelihoods is affected due to regular natural hazards which including sea erosion and tidal floods.

The benefits will flow to all the people of the island (40,000 households from the year 2001), in terms of institutions, knowledge and capacity building. The 15000 households will derive higher economic return as the project funds flow to them. The project benefits include.

(1)Community based institution (CBOs) like SHGs to Federation at Ward level (Sub- cluster level) to G.P. level (cluster level), block level (Apex Federation) formed,strengthened and became active.

(2)Increased credit availability at reduced rates

(3)Reduced diversified risk

(4)More gainful employment and increased income

(5)Additional income

(6)More viable micro-enterprises

(7)Increased crop intensity and diversity

(8)Increased area under bio- diversity

(9)Increased services and better quality of service relate to livelihood

(10)Presence of more and diverse service providers.