NERLP livelihood programmes changing rural landscape in Peren

NERLP livelihood programmes changing rural landscape in Peren
Roadside Marketing Shed at Punglwa ‘B’ village, a project funded under NERLP in Peren district. (Morung Photo)

 

Ashikho Pfuzhe
Jalukie (Peren) | October 13

 

Launched in 2012, the North East Rural Livelihood Project (NERLP) is fast changing the rural landscape of Peren district with its livelihood programmes penetrating into almost every household of the 81 recognized villages and 11 unrecognized villages in the district.

 

The ‘backward’ district now boasts of 1033 self help groups (SHGs), 93 SHGs village federations, 81 community development groups, 33 producers groups and three producers’ organizations, which are garnering and generating resources to propel the grassroots economy and livelihood.

 

All these through the initial Rs. 20,000 ‘seed money’ and other financial supports including entry point activity, livelihood fund, community development plan and financial support for cluster development through NERLP.

The project development objective of NERLP, introduced in 2012 by the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) and funded by World Bank, is to improve rural livelihoods, especially that of women, unemployed youth and the most disadvantaged in four NE states – Nagaland, Mizoram, Sikkim and Tripura. In Nagaland, the project covers Peren and Tuensang districts.

 

The key outcomes identified are creating sustainable community based institutions (CBOs) such as women SHGs and federations, community development groups (CDGs) and producer organizations (Pos), building capacity of the CBOs for self-governance, bottom-up development planning, creating livelihood opportunities by managing natural resources, developing employable skills of youth, providing complete value chain, financial linkage with banks and creating critical infrastructures.

 

In Peren, of the 815 youths registered for youth skill development and training, 432 have been trained so far out of which 159 got placement. In the livelihood training provide under NERLP, 719 persons have undergone training in piggery, 328 in spices, 242 in vegetable and 35 in soap making. In the capacity building training provided to SHG leaders, 4759 have completed training in bookkeeping, 3496 in organization management and another 2160 in other sectors.

 

Till date, 26 community development plans (CDPs) have been completed including Phaijol Tea Nursery, New Chalkot Tea Nursery and Samzuiram Rice sheller unit. Projects completed under value chain are hygienic slaughter house at Jalukie, Feed Mill at New Jalukie, collection centre at Mhainamtsi village and two roadside markets. The pig breeding unit at Punglwa B village is another notable project under cluster development.

 

The project finance upto Rs. 10,000 for each CDP and for cluster development, the investment of the project in various components and intervention in each cluster is upto Rs. 1 crore.

 

Talking to The Morung Express, district project officer, district project management unit, Peren, Rüüvilie Kuotsu, said the project implementation under NERLP, a 5-year programme, started in 2012 but was extended for another two years (2017-18) as in the initial years the implementation part was low. The DPO after groundwork preparations like capturing the actual number of households through participatory rural appraisal (PRA) and mapping of both land and social resources, 15,567 households covering a total of 92 villages (81 recognized villages) were included in the project. Kuotsu said 11 unrecognized villages were also included as these villages were not covered under government schemes.

 

Explaining on the components of social and economic empowerment of the project, he said SHGs, which are the primary institutions in the villages, would be promoted and nurtured based on five principles – regular meetings, regular savings, proper maintenance of books and records, inter-loaning and rotation of leadership. He said the SHGs with 10-15 members each would encourage each household to prepare their own microcredit plan.

 

The project then provides the seed fund of Rs. 20,000 to each SHG towards corpus funds for inter-loaning and to meet various needs of the members including livelihood investments. After reviewing performance, the eligible SHGs receive Livelihood Fund of Rs. 80,000 each in two equal instalments to help promote livelihoods of the members by enabling them to take up various farm and non-farm activities of their own choice.

 

The financial support coupled with capacity building trainings will not only increase capacity to utilize the fund productively but also enable the SHGs to leverage institutional finance through financial linkage, Kuotsu added.

 

On the likelihood of NERLP being phased out after 2018, the DPO Peren said the biggest challenge then would be the infrastructures already developed or on verge of completion, which would in all probability wither away or go waste without handholding support and expertise.

 

The desired outcome of NERLP to be achieved has been set in terms of increase in income and institutional sustainability. First, 70% of the SHGs promoted and supported by the project must be sustainable. Second, all the SHG members (or at least 60% of them) and disadvantaged households (or minimum 50%) must be able to increase their income by at least by 30% in real term from the initial level of the project implementation. Further, at least 30% of the unemployed youths of the project districts must get employment including both jobs and self-employment.