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.

Experiment started by ALC members at Iooksi, East Jaintia Hills.


  1. Supervise and facilitate experimentation & ensure ALC accountability: Under this activity, the Field team members- Associates and the Community Facilitators (CFs) have continued the supervision on the experiments that have been conducted by the ALC members. In this regard, a total of 11 follow ups have been achieved.

    ALC members engaged in making jeevamrit biopesticides at Jaud, East Khasi Hills

  2. Support community to design their ALC experiments:During the month of September, the Field team members have initiated a follow up on the designing of the ALC experiments. In this regard a total of eight follow ups have been achieved.

    Supervise and facilitate experimentation & ensure ALC accountability at Iongliwit, West Jaintia Hills

  3. Knowledge Dissemination and Propagation:Documentation through participatory videos, stories and social media has been initiated.

    Supervision and facilitation of the experiment at Mupyut, West Jaintia

    Documentation on mustard nursery plantation at Marmain, 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 40 100 Completed
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 30 103 Completed 1 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 40 40 Completed in 71 ALCs
B Develop a community work plan that addresses priority problems agreed on by consensus and decide on the need for additional experts or not 40 100 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
40 48 Completed
D Facilitate exchange visits between villages that have
complementary problems/solutions so ALC members can learn from other ALC members in other regions
40 40 Completed 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 25 46 Follow up Ongoing
B Support community in design their ALC experiments 30 53 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 55 60 Follow up Ongoing
B Analyse experiment results and draft feedback and recommended follow-up actions 35 0 5 Category 5 :Knowledge Dissemination and Propagation
A Transfer experiment feedback and findings into videos, leaflets, community demonstrations 30 0 Ongoing
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
1 0
D Execution of social media and radio campaigns as per strategy 216 Social
10 Radio
E Regular identification of ALC community member ready to share their findings and participatory video and audio interviews 60 stories 0
15 PV 0
F State level workshop to share findings with policy makers 1 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 50 0 To be conducted after development of


Stories from the ground:

  1. Women farmers of Khapmaw pave way to others to use natural pesticides
  2. Kalman’s ingenious biopesticide inspired by a ritualistic Garo practice
  3. The innovative uses of java jute in shifting cultivation
  4. Bah Maring from Mawryngkang promotes Berkeley Composting


    1. Follow on the experiments (data collection on indicators, monitoring of plant health, data analysis);
    2. Initiation of scheduled experiments;
    3. Documentation through participatory videos, stories and social media;
    4. Initiation of radio programmes;
    5. Initiation of the development of IEC materials.

Experimental plot of one of the ALC members at Pashang, East Khasi Hills

“I thought that if the mugwort plant was potent enough to ward off deadly diseases, it would also be potent enough to be used to control pests and fungal infections in my paddy fields.”
-Kalman A Sangma, Custodian farmer Sasatgre

“I urge my fellow farmers to make use of the knowledge that I shared and try out Berkeley composting.”
-Philip Maring, ALC member, Mawryngkang

“I would like to take this opportunity to encourage my fellow farmers and ALC members to start practicing natural methods. Not only is it a quick and easy technique to get rid of the pests and insects which destroys our crops but rather, it helps them grow naturally which is not only healthy but provides a lot of nutrition to our body.”
-Thriep Umsong, ALC member, Khapmaw

“I had tried air-layering on my own earlier but failed to produce successful results as I did not follow the correct method. Perhaps the branch I tied for propagation was not airtight enough. I will use the method taught to us today and try propagating again.”
-Jolina A Sangma, CF

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