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 four lakhs twenty four thousand nine hundred and thirty one only) received on December 23, 2021. December and January was mainly preparatory works focused on recruitment, setting up systems, startup workshops with the partner organizations namely: Society for Urban and Rural Empowerment, Jowai and Social Service Centre, Shillong and confirming with the project villages through the Free Prior and Informed Consent process. The report highlights the key activities undertaken

Problem solving workshop interactive session.


1. General Awareness : 1 pending awareness programme
has been conducted in Namdong village. The objectives of
the programme include :

  • To mobilize community participation in the ALC project.
  • To introduce the objectives and project activities to the
  • To identify committed farmers to be members of ALC.
    After the programme, the communities have also signed the
    Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC), and to date, all of
    the 100 project communities have signed and accepted the

ALC members of Smoksonggital and Chiringpara, Garo Hills District, after the problem solving workshop.

2. Review workshop : The review workshop was conducted
on February 15, 2022 whereby all team members of the
project from NESFAS, SURE and SSC confluence for the
following purposes :

  • To review the achievement of targets
  • To discuss on the cluster and theme of experiments
  • To plan the problem solving and community work
    plan workshop.
  • Facilitate organizational structure and institution

Workshop facilitation at Sohmynting

3. Workshops on problem solving, objective setting & community work-plan : The first workshop kick
started in February 18, 2022, at Sohmynting village, and which saw the participation of ALC farmers from
four villages. 16 other workshops of the same were then held in other clusters throughout the month.
The main aims and objectives of the workshop include :

  • To List the problems faced by farmers in terms of soil, pest and seeds and provide existing
    solutions to those problems.
  • To Identify the knowledge Gap.
  • To document traditional knowledge and practices from knowledge holders.
  • To share the existing solutions to problems of one community with another community.
    Outputs of the workshop/s :
  • 57 villages participated in these workshops, with the participation of 747 attendees.
  • 30 problems on farming has been identified and prioritized.
  • Out of the 33, 30 solutions/experiments for these problems have been identified/shared by the
    farmers. They will now require testing and validating.

4. Formation of ALCs :

A total of 195 Agroecology Learning Circles (ALCs) have been formed, who are going to be our main stakeholders in the project and work towards achieving the goals.

Problem Solving Workshop held at Khweng, Ri Bhoi District.

ALC members of Umwang Nongbah listing down problems during the workshop.









Output Tracker 1 Category 1: Awareness and Community
Trust for newly selected 71 villages
Total targets Targets achieved till
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 avaialble under programme.
100 100 Completed
B ABD (Agrobiodiversity Walks) with community and
NESFAS experts to explore diversity of local species
30 0 As of now we are only doing
the free listing of the agro
biodiversity and conduct the
Agro biodiversity walk, when
the vegetation season
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 0 The pledge for commitment
has been prepared and each
ALC group member shall
comply with the pledge and
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 0 100 Community facilitators
will be trained on
organisational and
leadership skills 2 Category 2: Analysis of Existing Information
and Identification of Knowledge Gaps and
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 17
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 17
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 0 As soon as we identify the
knowledge gap and before
we start the experiment
work in the village, techincal
training will be given to the
farmers to address the
knowledge gap.
D Facilitate exchange visits between villages that have
complementary problems/solutions so ALC members
can learn from other ALC members in other regions
30 0 Exchange visits will start
taking place from March,
2022, to address the
knowledge gap 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 0 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
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 Develop a Detailed Knowledge Collation and Communication
10 0
D Execution of social media and radio campaigns as per
10 0
E Regular identification of ALC community member ready to
share their findings and participatory video and audio
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. Farmer from Mawbri advocates for return to traditional farming
  2. Custodian farmer from Jaintia Hills successfully promotes traditional method for pest management
  3. Tackling day-to-day agricultural problems, hand-in-hand: Testimonies from the ground
  4. The inception of Agroecology Learning Circles and local methods of composting
  5. Local farmers work together, solve problems on agricultural obstacles
  6. Agroecology Learning Circles step up to defend traditional food systems


  1. Completion of Workshops on problem solving, objective setting & community work-plan;
  2. ABD (Agrobiodiversity Walks) with community and NESFAS experts to explore diversity of local species together;
  3. Experiments will be initiated, tested, and validated for efficacy.
  4. Initiate the development of Information, Education and Communication (IEC) materials.
  5. Leadership training for the Community Facilitators (CFs).
  6. The trained CFs shall then impart training unto their ALC peers in
  7. their respective villages.


“As a member of the ALC, I feel grateful to have witnessed the programme as it has given us as farmers a lot of benefits and with all the information I had received, I will be able to implement them in my community”.
– Pynhunmon Kam, ALC member, from Lumtrep community.

“I follow my method (planting in his backyard/garden) as there is sufficient water for the plants to grow. This method works well, especially during the winter season”.
– Iohjingkyrmen Kyndait, Fellow from Sohmynting.

“I feel blessed to have been able to witness the programme and as a farmer I feel there is a need to uplift traditional farming and with all the solutions I received today I will take it forward to implement in my community.”
– Sakhiatlang Shadap, custodian farmer, from Larnai community.


Problem Solving Workshop held at Umwang
Nongbah, Ri Bhoi District.

Problem Solving Workshop held at Liarsluid, Ri
Bhoi District

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