Farmers are severely affected due to a lack of rainfall and the resultant poor-quality yields. 60% of the farmers are dependent on money lenders for crop credit and pay high rates of interest, which affect their family income. Due to a lack of education and living in impoverished, sub-standard conditions, health is impacted by poor personal hygiene and sanitation.
ACF’s water program operates across 41 villages with a focus on creating check dams, farm ponds, and recharge pits; repairing, renovating and de-silting existing structures; and promoting farm bunding and terrace farming in farmer fields. The major objective is to harvest water and increase the groundwater table and resultant potable drinking water. Micro-irrigation systems like drip and sprinkler irrigation are also promoted for the judicious use of water.
Water storage capacity created
Covered under Micro-irrigation
Covered under Terrace Farming
In Chandrapur, the Better Cotton program is one of the largest agricultural initiatives - promoting sustainable agricultural practices among 100324 farmers to improve agricultural productivity without providing any harm to the local environment. To minimise the use of chemical pesticides, ACF promotes the use of bio-pesticides, with women also involved in their preparation. ACF also works to link more families with relevant Government Schemes.
Better Cotton Farmers
Under Better Cotton
Involved in Biopesticide production
Goat Rearing Families
ACF Maharashtra has been promoting women empowerment through participation in Self-Help Groups, Women Federations and Farmer Producer Organizations. Women have developed good habits in taking bank loans and repaying on time – even securing Government loans. Most women are involved in micro-enterprises and have successfully established their own businesses. 2 Federations have been established to tackle local social issues collectively and work for the socio-economic development of women. ACF Maharashtra has also increased women’s participation in toilet construction work, safe drinking water and community health.
Women engaged in SHGs
Women Engaged in the Federation
Farmer Producer Organizations
Women involved in livelihoods
ACF’s integrated health program is implemented by an on-ground cadre of community ‘Sakhis’ who provide better health provision and ensure access to schemes. In alignment with the Swacchh Bharat Abhiyan they also focus on creating ODF villages. ACF in Maharashtra also supports Anganwadi Centres for the improved nutrition and health status of children, along with Maternal and Child Health and reduction of mortality rates. Under the NCD program, Diabetes, COPD, Hypertension and Anaemia are being tackled. A cadre of Adolescent Peer Educators has also been created to generate health awareness among youth.
Tobacco Free Schools
ACF’s Skill and Entrepreneurship Development program in Chandrapur has both short and long duration courses in trades such as Electricals, Fitter, and General Duty Assistant (Nursing). As a registered ITI, ACF has established state of the art facilities for workshops, labs, and classrooms with NSDC affiliation.
ACF’s education program in Maharashtra works on creating an enabling learning environment via the repair of school infrastructure, and has expanded to involve reading promotion, physical literacy and WASH. Community reading volunteers, known as Pustak Fairies, have been trained to promote reading in communities. Physical Literacy is also focused on to build leadership, core strength and confidence along improvement in academic performance. Provision of adequate WASH facilities in schools has also been prioritised to enhance sanitation.
Schools engaged in reading
Schools engaged in sports
Village schools with WASH facilities
Vending machines with Sanitary Napkins
In response to the influx of rural migrants who returned to their villages during the pandemic, ACF initiated Terrace Farming in the hilly area of Jiwati, as a way to bring undulated, fallow wastelands under cultivation and increase the profitability of farming. Farmers have started growing cash crops – receiving an additional net income of Rs. 20,000 to Rs. 25,000 from this initiative. They also grew short duration crops like vegetables and drumsticks on its borders for soil conservation. As a result, soil erosion has stopped and the area under cultivation increased.
ACF established 9 Community clinics serving the health needs of 48 villages. These clinics are managed either by the VDC or VHNSC, and ACF provides technical support to the clinic management for medicine procurement, indent maintenance, and access to doctors and paramedics for clinical activities. Sakhis spearhead the outreach in the community. At present 67 Sakhis reach out of 8,516 households in the Chandrapur region, covering a population of over 36,862. People pay check-up charges and 50% medicine cost and today, the clinic corpus is Rs. 1,67,000.
In Chandrapur, the 4 villages of Mangi Bhuj, Pimpalgaon, Sonapur and Kukudsath have been transformed, receiving SMART Village status as a result. It all started when ACF initiated a Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) program after the launch of Swacch Bharat Abhiyan in 2012 - forming Village Development Committees in villages to drive sanitation work. To motivate people, ACF organised exposure visits to model villages. Buoyed by their visits, VDCs were tasked with raising funds to commence sanitation and other works. In 2016 the first Smart Village award was received by Mangi Bhuj. Meanwhile, other adjoining villages were motivated by the example of Mangi, and soon joined them in this accolade.
Farmers have been saving money by avoiding local money lenders, instead approaching local formal banks for loans to invest in seeds, fertiliser, wholesale inputs and labour for farming. In 2021-22 in Maharashtra, a total of 120 SHGs linked with banks taking a total of Rs. 2.4 crores and saving Rs. 1.20 crores in interest payments to local money lenders. Today, these farming families are investing in advance technology and the development of their farm – including fencing, agricultural equipment, micro irrigation systems and practising collective purchasing.
In an effort to enhance the economic condition of landless families, and support farmers to establish alternative enterprises, ACF has been promoting goat-based livelihoods, poultry and desi egg production among 3154 villagers, with significant results. Indira Bandwan, a successful woman running a micro business was initially involved in poultry rearing. Every day she collected and sold 15 to 20 eggs. Her daily income was Rs. 200 to 250. Today, she motivates other women for this business - purchasing Desi eggs from Poultry rearing families and selling them to customers. She now plans to connect with Safalya Farmer Producer Organisation to package and brand the eggs.
In Chandrapur, Maharashtra, lack of training learning materials and poor teaching quality meant that schools were graded 'C or D' level by the District and State Boards of Primary and Secondary Education. ACF decided to turn this grading around, with a focus on fulfilling basic requirements like improving infrastructure, introducing digital components through Balmitra support and providing capacity building programs like training, workshops and exposure visits. To date, ACF has helped 15 Zilla Parishad Schools and 15 Angawadis become ISO Certified in Chandrapur District - boosting education outcomes in these rural schools.Know More