The project “Empowering indigenous communities through Agroecology Learning Circles (ALCs) for
resilient, integrated and innovative natural resource management” is funded by the World Bank and
supported by Meghalaya Basin Management Agency (MBMA). ALCs combined agroecology with
participatory research and aims to empower indigenous communities to recognize, revive, practice, and
eventually further develop traditional agroecology technologies and practices and stimulates local innovation
for sustainable local food systems. Natural resource management investigated through ALCs include:

  • Land planning and seed selection for community resilience;
  • Increasing Yield by reducing loss through Pest Management;
  • Reversing soil degradation.

The project also aims to achieve:

  • Greater accountability across ALC members to resolve priority issues;
  • Ease of access to blended indigenous-contemporary solutions already documented;
  • Continued and expanded community learning through intuition and community led experiments;
  • Ease of knowledge exchanges across different ALC clusters;
  • Preparation for long term ALC community ownership.

The project area will include 100 villages from all three major indigenous communities in Meghalaya (Khasi,
Garo and Jaintia) across 7 of the 12 districts in Meghalaya.


The project’s MOU was signed in November 2021 and  funds of Rs 1,74, 24,931. 00 (One crore seventy fourlakhs twenty four thousand nine hundred and thirty oneonly) received on December 23, 2021. December andJanuary was mainly preparatory works focused onrecruitment, setting up systems, startup workshops withthe partner organizations namely: Society for Urban andRural Empowerment, Jowai and Social Service Centre,Shillong and confirming with the project villages throughthe Free Prior and Informed Consent process. The reporthighlights the key activities undertaken during April 2022.

ALC Leadership Training held at Mawhiang, EastKhasi Hills


  1. Facilitation of exchange visits: A total of 24 exchange visits have been facilitated till date, in which 10 were done in March and 14 in April, The exchange visits focused on Community Seed Bank, School Garden, Knowledge exchange on soil, pest management, experiments, seeds, traditional medicine. The programmes saw the participation of 424 particpants from 58 project villages and 5 non project villages.

    Community members at the Community Seed Fair, Sohmynting, West Jaintia Hills

  2. Technical training by NESFAS and/or experts on soil/pest:
    A total of 18 technical trainings have been achieved for the month of April. The trainings includes: seed propagation, orange plantation, pest management and soil health.

    ALC Leadership Training held at Wakrintongre, West Garo Hills

  3. Leadership training programme: NESFAS organised 1 leadership training programme for Community Facilitators (CFs) from 22 villages of Garo Hills, in association with the State Institute of Rural Development (SIRD) at Nongsder, to build capacity and enhance the leadership performance of the CFs. The training curriculum was designed to strengthen leadership qualities, communication and also to help in documenting stories
    from the ground to promote sustainable traditional farming and food systems. Also, 63 CFs have imparted the same training to the ALC members in their respective villages.

    Participants at the ABD Walk held at Mynso B, West Jaintia Hills

    Community Seed Fair held at Sohmynting, West Jaintia Hills

  4. Agrobiodiversity (ABD) Walk: A total of 76 ABD walks have been conducted across the villages in Meghalaya led by the CFs and ALC Members. The programmes saw the participation of youth, children, ALC members, elderly and led by custodian farmers. The main aim of the ABD walk is to facilitate intergenerational knowledge exchange, at the same time, to inculcate appreciation of the rich biodiversity of their community
    and the importance of protecting Mother Nature. The programme also helped young generation learn, identify and
    document the cultivated crops and wild edibles plants from the various food production systems. In the process, the custodian farmer also explained the children about the traditional value of the food plants, along with the nutritive values as per the local knowledge.

    Community Seed Exchange held at Daribokgre, East Garo Hills

    Seed sharing of community members at the Community Seed Fair, Sohmynting, West Jaintia Hills

  5. Community Led Participatory Research and Experiment:
    Under this programme, 6 participatory experiments have been
    conducted. Some of the activities include: land preparation, crop
    cultivation in ALC gardens, participatory video documentation on
    the experiments.

    ABD Walk held at Mynri, Ri-Bhoi

Output Tracker 1 Category 1: Awareness and Community Trust for newly
selected 71 villages
Total targets Targets achieved
till Mar,2022
A General awareness and invitation to participate given to whole community – General awareness with entire community programme about the project explaining project goals and objective. Manage expectations by sharing the list of activities available under programme. 100 100 Completed
B ABD (Agrobiodiversity Walks) with community and NESFAS experts to explore diversity of local species together 30 76
C With Custodian Farmers that agreed to join ALC -orientation and and invitation to sign free and prior informed consent and engage support of Village Council 30 30 Completed
D Community led ALC Kick-off Workshop – explaining the purpose of ALC, ways of working, allocating leadership responsibilities, agree meeting schedules, initial expectations for long term ownership of ALC 30 91 Completed 2 Category 2: Analysis of Existing Information and
Identification of Knowledge Gaps and Opportunities
A ALC Agroecology Problem Solving and Objective setting Workshop (2-3 days) – Ask community to discuss problem; reveal solutions already available in the community; identify knowledge gaps 30 33 Completed
B Develop a community work plan that addresses priority problems agreed on by consensus and decide on the need for additional experts or not 30 100 Completed
C Training from NESFAS and or experts to share relevant
technical and practical guidance and give ALC members opportunity to ask questions e.g. how to set up a seed
bank, how to choose seeds, how to create good compost
30 24
D Facilitate exchange visits between villages that have
complementary problems/solutions so ALC members can learn from other ALC members in other regions
30 24 3 Category:3 Community Led Participatory
Research and Experiments
A Training on Participatory Research methodology for ALC Experiments that includes information on data collection, stakeholder engagement, data analysis 15 0 The groundwork has
started and training
are ongoing.
B Support community in design their ALC experiments 20 7 4 Category 4 : Supervise and facilitate experimentation & ensure ALC accountability
A Variety of activities to include field inspections, support in answering practical questions, sourcing of missing information, accountability 35 0 The groundwork has
started and training
are ongoing.
B Analyse experiment results and draft feedback and recommended follow-up actions 15 0 5 Category 5 :Knowledge Dissemination and Propagation
A Transfer experiment feedback and findings into videos, leaflets, community demonstrations 30 0 To be conducted after
development of
B Share experiment findings at village and cluster level through meetings and workshops and events e.g. food
festivals, seeds fairs
10 0
C TDevelop a Detailed Knowledge Collation and
Communication Strategy
10 0
D Execution of social media and radio campaigns as per strategy 10 0
E Regular identification of ALC community member ready to share their findings and participatory video and audio interviews 20 0
F State level workshop to share findings with policy makers 0 0 6 Category 6 :Empowering Community to
Continue Long Term Problem Shooting
A Workshop to develop a plan of action with the village councils to take forward the initiative 0 0 To be conducted after
development of


Stories from the ground:

  1. Learning to stand on their own little feet: Children’s Durbar in Umsawwar becomes best platform
  2. Seeds of today for fruits of tomorrow
  3. Nongtraw paves the way for seed sharing among neighboring communities
  4. Community Seed Fair for strengthening Indigenous Food Systems
  5. Leaders for a better tomorrow: Excerpts from Leadership Development Programme
  6. Agrobiodiversity Walk: A tool for intergenerational knowledge exchange


  1. 24 ABD (Agrobiodiversity) Walks with communitym and NESFAS experts to explore diversity of local species together;
  2. Supervise and facilitate experimentation;
  3. Experiments will be initiated, tested, and validated for efficacy;
  4. Initiate the development of Information, Education and Communication (IEC) materials;
  5. 9 Leadership training for ALC members at the community level;
  6. Facilitate exchange visits;
  7. Conduct technical trainings;
  8. Training on participatory research and experiments;
  9. Participatory video documentation.

    ALC members of Pashang, East khasi Hills,during training on  composting.

    ALC members of Moodymmai, West Jaintia Hills, practice organic pest management


“We are very happy during the ABD walk, especially when we went to some part of forest. I’m very interested to learn the importance of local food plants, fruits and herbal medicine that we get from the forest”.
-Suklimon Rynjah, Farmer, Skhenpyrsit

“We need to revive traditional farming in a way to get to understand the values of indigenous foods which are found in the gardens and forest”.
-Blinti Manner, Farmer, Iooksi,

“I am delighted to have taken part in the ABD Walk held at our village since we got to identify the wild edibles found in the forest”.
-Shanki Suiam, Student, Mulum

“We need to protect and preserve mother nature that supplies us with abundant foods”.
-Bethesda Ryngkhlem, Student, Iongliwit

“Walking to the forest to identify and collect food plantsand narrating the stories to the children is useful for sharing the knowledge of our local biodiversity”.
-Aiolian Kharsyntiew, Farmer, Mawhiang

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