Fostering Community Ownership
With emphasis on community participation, a crucial first step is to establish community ownership of the project right from the very start. Extensive interactive awareness sessions are held where the community as a whole come together to understand the project and voice out all their doubts and get clarity. Each village that wishes to participate in the project forms a Village Natural Resource Management Council(VNRMC) which comprises one adult male and one adult female from each and every household of the village, and with many village communities in the state having close- knit relationships, this enables the entire community to participate in the project.
The Green Charter lays down the key principles and other terms and conditions by which the village will implement the project;this is signed by all the members of the VNRMC along with any other village residents who wish to sign it. This in important as it gives room for all the households to acknowledge and express their willingness and desire to participate in the project.
Strengthening institutions to implement the project
To implement the project, an Executive Committee is formed and the members of this committee are selected by the VNRMC. The members are elected through a democratic process and represent the community in the day-to-day implementation of the project. Seven to nine members from the community are selected to be on the committee, out of which half are women. This is another crucial criteria for the project.Although Meghalaya follows a matrilineal system, women still find it difficult to manoeuvre their way into decision making bodies. They are allowed to sit at meetings but important decisions are almost always made by male members. CLLMP aims to put emphasis on women empowerment by ensuring equal representation of women in decision making bodies.
Other resources required for implementing the project, including human and material are also drawn from the village. CLLMP focuses on empowering the community through facilitation, guidance and training, and through the provision of funds, plans are implemented. The rest of the funds are used and mobilized by the community through convergence with other sources such as the MGNREGA scheme which also has significant focus on natural resource management. This gives more decision making control to the community and empowers them to make more holistic decisions for their betterment.
Drawing on the strength of the youth
The youth population is also involved in the project, taking on the role of Village Facilitators who will be responsible for on-the-ground execution. Three young members from each village will be trained in core areas such as forest, environment, soil and water, community and rural management. Their role as village facilitators is crucial as they create a bridge between the project on the ground and the management. What the young population take from CLLMP are lifetime professional skills which can be applied to various aspects of their lives.
Empowering the community for sustainability
Lastly, CLLMP puts a lot of emphasis on the community itself. The community is what drives the project and its members, young and old,are involved in every step of the project in one way or another, which brings about a sense of ownership for the entire village. They feel a part of something greater and this provides the basis for sustainability which would not only benefit the community today but also the future generations to come.