In Meghalaya, a 6th Schedule state where community governance prevails, the responsibility for land management rests with local communities, with limited government presence beyond the Block level. This poses challenges for implementing schemes and projects effectively.

Given the need for substantial manpower to undertake large-scale climate adaptive activities aimed at fostering sustainable impacts on both land and community, the importance of locally available and committed individuals cannot be overstated. Community involvement is paramount, as it is the local populace who will ultimately carry forward these initiatives in the long term. Moreover, engaging locals at the grassroots level allows project management to gain invaluable insights into ground realities. 

Furthermore, communities tend to be more receptive to initiatives led by their own members rather than external actors. This approach not only fosters a sense of ownership and empowerment within the community but also streamlines the process of capacity building and social integration without relying solely on technical or formal approaches. Leveraging traditional knowledge already present within the community becomes possible, showcasing its relevance and applicability in addressing contemporary challenges.

In light of these considerations, the establishment of a cadre of trained professionals becomes imperative. Such professionals, equipped with local knowledge and a deep understanding of community dynamics, can serve as effective agents of change, driving sustainable development initiatives tailored to the specific needs and contexts of the region. Thus, the Community Led Landscape Management Programme (CLLMP) established a cadre of 1,200 Village Community Functionaries (VCFs) across 400 core project villages. These VCFs became pivotal in coordinating, facilitating project management and ensuring oversight at the village level.



The Village Community Facilitators (VCF)

The VCFs comprises 2-3 youths, with at least one being female, who are selected by the communities from within each village to support the implementation of the CLLMP project in their respective villages.

Upon selection, the VCFs undergo intensive training in crucial areas, such as Environment Management, GIS, Monitoring and Evaluation, Finance (bookkeeping), Knowledge Management, FMP, Seedball, Bamboo Resource Assessment, Spring Mapping and and Social aspects

Trainings are designed around thematic areas corresponding to the expected responsibilities of the VCFs. For example, a Monitoring and Evaluation VCF undergoes practical training on basic data collection methods, templates, processes, frequency of data collection and inputting, as well as basic analytics. A Bookkeeping facilitator is trained on key principles and rationale of bookkeeping, along with the use of various books and registers. VCFs engaged in technical activities like spring mapping or field verification receive training on the use of water tracers, GPS devices, GIS mapping, mapping methods and utilization of specialised mobile apps. 


Depending on their role, the facilitators are equipped with tools and technology to enable them to perform their duties. A few of such tools and technology provided are listed below:

  1. Tablet preloaded with various mobile applications for data collection
  2. GPS devices to record location data
  3. Water tracer for taking readings on various water quality data during spring mapping exercises
  4. Forest mensuration tools for enumeration of forests
  5. CLART (Composite Landscape Assessment and Restoration Tool), a GIS-based mobile app for providing real-time information and support in decision-making related to NRM

VCFs play a pivotal role as data collectors, planners and trainers after receiving comprehensive training. Below are some key responsibilities they undertake:

  1. VCFs facilitate community mobilisation to craft 400 NRM plans, fostering local ownership and sustainability in addressing issues like water scarcity, soil erosion, and deforestation.
  2. Social inclusion, gender equality, and environmental safeguards are prioritised in the project. To achieve this, a comprehensive Environment and Social Management Framework has been developed and implemented with the assistance of VCFs
  3. Development of Forest Management Plans covering 1.1 Lakh Hectares of forest area and statewide collection of bamboo data in over 8000+ plots.
  4. Over 2 million seed balls dispersed after training conducted in 1840 schools statewide, contributing to biodiversity and ecosystem enhancement.
  5. Mapping of 50,000+ springs statewide and conducting village boundary mapping in over 50% of villages are essential for resource management and conservation efforts.
  6. 54,000+ hectares covered under Payment for Ecosystem Services, with extensive Measurement Reporting and Verification exercises, demonstrate effective conservation strategies.
  7. Reclamation of land spoiled by mining and quarrying through the planting of aroma grasses highlights the multifaceted approach of VCFs towards sustainable land management. 

Remuneration: Every VCF begins with a monthly base salary of Rs.3,000, which can increase based on their performance, reaching up to Rs.5,000 per month. This salary is funded by the VNRMC, the organization that employs them through project funding.


Table showing district wise number of VCFs by gender

Sn. District Number of VCFS
    Male Female
1 East Garo Hills 68 22
2 West Garo Hills 86 34
3 South Garo Hills 57 12
4 South West Khasi Hills 78 42
5 East Khasi Hills 148 131
6 West Khasi Hills 45 30
7 South West Garo Hills 109 38
8 East Jaintia Hills 47 43
9 North Garo Hills 43 17
10 Ri Bhoi 56 34
11 West Jaintia Hills 33 27
  Total 770 430


  1. The VCF model has significantly contributed to grassroots manpower development, mobilising young villagers to serve as vital connectors in various initiatives, including collecting crop mapping and farmer data for the Agricultural Department, thereby fostering effective liaison between the government and local communities.
  2. Through the Community-Led Landscape Management Program (CLLMP), VCFs have played a pivotal role in addressing natural resource management challenges such as water scarcity, soil erosion, and deforestation within their villages. This has been achieved through initiatives like Payment for Ecosystem Services under the Green Meghalaya Campaign, Forest Management Plans, and the implementation of infrastructure like spring chambers and check dams.
  3. The success of the VCF model in the project has led to its scaling up to all other remaining villages. Two to three youths from each of the 6,000+ villages were identified and trained on various principles and concepts of NRM, conducting PRA, facilitation of NRM plans in their village, and usage of GIS tools and platforms. A total of 13,000+ VCFs were trained altogether.
  4. The State, through the Community and Rural Development Department, has launched a State NRM Policy enabling the creation of NRM committees in every village, with VCFs prescribed as members.
  5. The adoption of the VCF model by various government departments, including Agriculture, Soil, and Planning, demonstrates its effectiveness in gathering crucial data for village-specific planning and development.
  6. The appointment of 1200 VCFs as Village Data Volunteers by the Government of Meghalaya underscores the recognition of the VCF model’s importance in building cadres for ground-level activities across various sectors such as Health, Agriculture, and Disaster Management. This initiative aims to further enhance the capabilities of VCFs and maximise their contributions to community development.
  7. VCFs are now engaged to facilitate the implementation of several government programs, including FMP, PES, MegLIFE, Digital Agriculture, and FOCUS.


A Village Community Facilitator (VCF) carrying out an enumeration exercise within  the framework of a forest management plan. This effort aims to catalog the forest’s  resources, such as diverse plant life and wildlife, to inform sustainable management  and conservation strategies. This initiative not only aids in preserving biodiversity but  also in understanding the ecological value of  the forest, ensuring that future actions are guided by detailed and accurate data.







A Village Community Facilitator (VCF) is equipped with a water testing device to verify that the water’s pH level is within the safe range for drinking and household  use. This proactive measure ensures that the community has access  to water that is not only clean but also chemically balanced, safeguarding the health and well-being of residents by preventing waterborne diseases and promoting overall hygiene.












LULC Mapping:


Seed Ball Initiative:

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