The field activities kickoff

Beneficiaries at Pahalagaldebokka

The field teams meet with a 25 family cluster at Pahalagaldebokka.

We are a few days off our target commencement of 15th September but still, given all that has/is/will be happening, we haven’t done too badly. The key task as we commence our field operations is to figure out how we will get the primary training and inputs to the farmers with the logistics still sluggish despite the country opening up a bit. Our design strategy of creating cluster groups is still valid and therefore our field teams went right into the fray, meeting the people under the best possible safety conditions and creating each 25 family cluster comprising of five groups of five families each. The whole process of engagement and monitoring will be based on the performance of these mutually supportive groups and clusters. We will be watching their performance and capabilities during and after the treatment phase and into the action phase of converting to natural farming techniques. A farming cluster will yield up a leader and the leaders of the clusters of each village will form the Village Level Microenterprise Association (VLMA) leadership. These will eventually feed the River Basin Microenterprise Association (RBMA) which will be the body that will engage with the external world in marketing produce and products of the COLIBRI initiative.

It was by no means an easy task especially with the terrain being what it is and some of our field staff had to camp out in areas such as Galamuduna to complete some of the engagement tasks because of the sheer inaccessibility of these settlements. To hear our teams speak, “underserved” acquired a new meaning in these locations. Basic, early day stuff of course but we are heartened by the response of the communities.


We are thwarted by the pandemic

This is stretching both our resources and our patience to the limit. AND beyond. The pandemic has enforced us into yet another lockdown – not the government – going by the people gaily tramping the streets oblivious to very real dangers. The Greens cannot take these issues lightly nor can we rightly ask our field staff to get on with work despite the ever increasing urgency to get the initial community touches done and the TOTs trained. We created a great action plan only to realize that given the situation in the country, attempting to execute it would be tantamount to murder even if we adhere to every pandemic related rule to the letter. It is that bad. So we decided to rethink the thinking. Its taking a bit more time but to do our best to minimize dangers, we will require protocols way beyond what the government enforces. We will also have to reconfigure practical training in a virtual environment and in agriculture that is a tall tall order. The lack of connectivity among the communities only compounds and already complex action problem. It is tough. Try as we might, there is no version of this where the communities, ourselves, our donors can together come  out on top. Well that’s not strictly true. Somewhere, out there, lurks a solution. Maybe. But we cannot see it. Not yet anyway. Sophie? Meet COLIBRI. uuuuuuuuuuurgh!


We grab the missing data from the field

Our field team needs to be saluted. After the Head Office team managed to get to the Field Office and talk to the teams, they went in, extracting all of the data that was missing for the final IR. We are now in the process of unpacking this and hopefully should have it all sorted out within the week. Congrats to Douglas and the field officers under Amal.


IR done!

This is a positive of the enforced stay-in. We have the report out finally about 1 month past schedule. COVID did its thing but more than that, I was as sick as a dried out biscuit. Oh well. Loss of productivity is to be expected when people are as old as I am and as debilitated as I feel :(. We still have a few key areas at the grassroots level that have not been covered but we can certainly determine what we want to do, where we want to do it and who we want to do it with. We found that there may not be too much upstrea-downstream movement of toxins and other pollutants because of slow flow rates downstream so pretty much everything thrown on the ground stays in the general vicinity. In many ways a good thing. We identified the misery of the human-wildlife conflict and the madness of the action ecosystem conflict which seems more dangerous than the actual conflict itself. Well, no wonder that most efforts of the do-good-brigade have come to naught. We can always say “we told you so” but what’s the point? Just as much as people don’t listen to sense when it comes to COVID, they don’t listen to sense when it comes to environment either. No! We have to try to get everyone on the same page regardless of how madly they all try to stay on their own pages. How rational they find the crackpot logic of “its my way or the highway”. We also noticed that there was as much land that had gone fallow as there was under cultivation and that this was the end result of protectionism and the disenfranchisement of ICLCs from their own terrains and lands. We have much to do and the IR will definitely help by giving us the evidence we require.


Meets with MoE not happening for now

Well we did try our best to get the meets to take the volunteer carbon offsets program off the ground. The political scenarios are volatile with much push-pull in any direction, in every direction. Best keep are noses out of it all and keep our ears to the ground. we will of course do this but not in line with the mechanics of anticipation but the practicalities of outcome opportunities. Life is fun as always 🙂

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