People’s organisations (POs) are formed under Wadi at various levels to:
- provide an institutional base for community participation in important aspects of the programme
- create local organisations that will facilitate implementation of a Wadi project at various stages
- create a platform for ensuring that benefits of the project are transmitted in a fair, equitable and transparent manner, with community participation (this is especially essential in case of disbursal of grants for income-generating activities, and support to landless families)
- create a network of people-based organisations that will take care of post-project needs, ensure sustainability of the programme and undertake other village-level development responsibilities
POs are formed at the hamlet/village and cluster levels, through meetings and consensus-building.
In the initial years, the lowest-level PO in BAIF-Wadi projects was a village planning committee or ayojan samiti, formed of representatives of Wadi participants in the village, who together formed a gram vikas mandal.
Subsequently, the need was felt for a body at the hamlet level. These hamlet-level POs are called Wadi tukdis—tukdi is a Marathi word for group or division of a class in a school.
The Wadi tukdi is the key delivery mechanism of various programme components. Tukdi members participate in selection of beneficiaries and choice of plots for development.
Distribution of saplings and inputs, planning and execution of soil and water conservation, and water resource development work is done through Wadi tukdis. Often tukdi-members help each other in plot-development activities like pit-digging and excavation for trenches.
The tukdi is the basic unit for imparting field-level training by project staff in activities like pruning, mulching, and pest control.
When assets such as wells for group-use are built, tukdi members decide on modalities of equitable usage. They are also involved in selection of beneficiaries for credit or grant support.
Apart from Wadi tukdis, women’s self-help groups are formed at the village/hamlet-level to implement the quality of life component of Wadi.
Before the end of the establishment stage of Wadi, other POs are formed and village or hamlet-level POs acquire an additional dimension. They become groups of primary producers that sell Wadi produce to cluster-level POs, composed of representatives of village-level POs.
In BAIF-Wadi, cluster-level POs are in the nature of cooperatives, which engage in full or part-processing of produce, or direct sale of raw produce bought from primary-producer groups. There is also an apex level cooperative. Read about network of cooperatives in BAIF-Wadi.
Apart from serving as marketing channels, POs also act as suppliers of inputs. They estimate aggregated need of members and procure inputs in bulk, to sell to members on no-profit or nominal profit basis. POs also access credit and disburse loans to members.
Well functioning POs are thus in a position to take on post-establishment responsibilities, after the end of project funding.