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We built it together, we use it together

Tulsa Devi Awasthi

Tulsa is one member of Samaijee in Doti who participated in the project ‘Safety Nets Supporting Agriculture Productivity’ (SNAP).She was selected as President of the User Committee in her community and participated as a laborer in cash for work schemes to build an irrigation pond, foot trails, and the rehabilitate an irrigation canal. On sharing her experience she says, “We worked to the end to complete the project. The reason we were able to complete it, is because Mercy Corps insisted that it would be set up to be run by our community. Our project team was led by women. That is part of the reason why we were able to complete it. Women have their eyes on everything; we are able to keep an eye on all the parts of a project”. As the President of her User Committee, Tulsa says, “I feel confident that I can do more in the future, because this project went so well, and it gave me confidence. Before, I was not known to the people in this community, now they seek my help. I can do good things for my community now”.

The irrigation pond is now three times bigger than it was and provides water to the whole community to irrigate crops on their land. “By agreeing to share the water, that’s how we got cooperation to complete construction. We built it together, we use it together”. By increasing access to irrigation, the community now has a better chance of increasing food production on their marginal land.

Prior to intervention under this project, production from Tulsa’s farm provided food for her family for only three months of the year, for the remainder of the year, the family had to purchase all their food. As part of Mercy Corp’s food security intervention strategy, in addition to providing short-term safety nets through cash injections, a variety of agriculture related longer term interventions were developed. For example, to compliment community infrastructure schemes that supported agriculture production, Mercy Corps facilitated a number of trainings. Tulsa participated in one of the trainings - off-season vegetable farming; she says, “Before I could only feed family for three months on what I grew. We consumed all the grain we grew. We had to buy food the rest of the year. Then I got the training, now my family can eat what we grow all year long”.

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