World Vision India is a Christian humanitarian organisation working to create lasting change in the lives of children,families and communities living in poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people regardless of religion, caste, race, ethnicity or gender. Spread across 174 districts in India, World Vision works through long-term sustainable community development programmes and immediate disaster relief assistance. World vision Kolkata office had a project on community development at Jainkunj, near Kolkata Port area.
One of their main objectives was to reduce Infant mortality rate (IMR) and mothers mortality rate(MMR). They had special child-care (special focus on malnourish children) programme in that area. In 2012, Swanirvar gave hand held trainings based on some basic orientations on Ecological farming to the farmers of Basanti Area ( WV project) and the farmers practiced alternative farming methods and got good return. In April, 2013, WV Kolkata project manager, Remi Manoj invited us to visit their project in Jainkunj area and also to assess the feasibility on making home nutrition (kitchen) gardens in those slum houses.
On 10th April,13 our experts visited that place and met the mothers who had mal-nourished children in their homes. WV officials and our nutrition experts felt that beside the rice and flour they should include some vegetable in their menu. Most of the slum dwellers did not take vegetables and to them most nutritious foods were red meat and chicken. Lack of vitamins and fibers contained food in their meals they used to have common diseases.
On 6th and 7th May, 2013 the most vulnerable mothers were given hand held trainings. Total 31 mothers participated in that training and after the training they were given seeds, mushroom spawns and some amount of vermicompost, plastic bags and pots, etc
The following strategies were taken…they were given used big size plastic packet to fill up with soil and vermicompost(2:1 ratio) for shakk and vegetables plants and also to use the roof of their slum houses for the leafy vegetables. Each family was give a packet of mushroom spawns.
They were given the seeds of the following vegetables: okra, egg plant (brinjal), pipe beans, cucumber, red amaranth, kalmi sakk, Indian spinach, bottle gourd, pumpkin, bitter gourd flat beans, ridge gourd and chili.
On 6th August, 2013, Sutapa Chatterjee, Swanirvar visited the slum houses of Jainkunj and met the women who produced vegetables and mushroom in their homes. All most 90% women produced vegetables and mushrooms in their homes. All credits must be given to them and to Mr. Ranjit (WV field staff) and his team.
She met some very successful women trainees and also given all the mothers some orientations on ‘nutrition - nutritious food and its relation with common diseases’. Stories of some successful mothers were given below.
She had husband and 7 daughters and 1 son in her family. She took training from us and made small gardens adjacent to their home. She produced 7 types of vegetables in her gardens. Her daughters also helped her in gardening. Initially she was opposed by her husband but now getting full support from him. She is now planning to expand her gardens in winter. They also produced good quality of mushrooms and eat delicious mushroom dishes.
This young housewife was not very interested in gardening. But after the training she started as a trial. She had young children and husband in her family. She produced 5 types of vegetables and good amount of mushrooms.
She had 3 children and husband in her family. She had no idea in farming. She got the training and was inspired by our trainers. She started garden adjacent to her home. She produced 5 types of vegetables and mushroom.
Chandra Bati devi:
she has 6 sons and 1 daughter and husband in family. She produced 7 types of vegetables and now interested to expend her gardens in winter and to harvest much vegetables.
Why they are successful:
These women got confidence and they practice gardening successfully.
They utilized the unused space adjacent to their home.
They also used the roof for leafy vegetables.
They used folk seeds
They also kept mushroom spawn out of the rodents.
There were rural follow up by WV team and Swanirvar trainers.
They need more trainings
They need detailed orientation on biological pest management.
They demanded for a community chamber for producing bio-manures.
Mushroom is now very popular amongst them and those who are not interested in gardening but interested in Mushroom culture.
Those who have space adjacent to homes, may be given more units of plastic bags and manures and seeds.