I decided to pursue Rural Development course and make a career in rural development as I belong to a rural area and have seen poverty from very close quarters. I started my journey of work with Foundation for Ecological Security (FES), which focuses on natural resource management and livelihoods. It was a great experience for me, as there are many who give more emphasis on education, heath, sanitation etc., but only a few cares for environment. I realized that we can save water, forest and our land by planting forest species in degraded lands, making people aware to save land and forest, strengthen village institution to work as a team and by enhancing transparency in all these work. There is still a large population dependent on forests for their livelihoods and they are not aware about so many schemes, which are running in the State.
I always thought to give more emphasis on the tribal areas as I belong to tribal community. During my work, I always thought that only non-government organizations are not sufficient to reduce poverty significantly and our government should think more for tribal and primitive tribal groups. I wanted to work along with the government structure to work for the Primitive Tribal Groups (PTGs) as I believe that it is always very easy to blame others instead of finding the solutions. This led me to apply for the PMRD Fellowship.
Being a PMRD Fellow, I got an opportunity to work for these groups, understand how the government structure works and analyze the gaps as to the deserving people do not get the benefits of the various schemes. I am engaged in developing proposals to bring livelihood interventions in the areas where PTGs live, as they do not have sufficient land for agriculture. As PTGs reside closure to the forests, so not many government officials visit them and they become debarred from reaping benefits from various schemes. During the field visits, we interact with them, analyze their needs, develop and submit the proposal to the district on what needs to be done. We also try to get the work done for them.
I am also very keen in strengthening the women SHGs, make them aware of the various schemes and enhance women’s participation in the village meetings. I would also like to promote their livelihoods see women make money and walk along with their husbands in the society. For this, I am seeing the work of NRLM.
Lohardaga being an LWE area, I need to work more and more with new innovative ideas and enthusiasm. I still have a long way to go.
Jayanti Kujur is based at Lohardaga district in Jharkhand. She has a Post Graduate Diploma in Rural Development from Xavier Institute of Social Sciences, Ranchi. Jayanti worked on natural resource management, village institutions strengthening and promotion of sustainable livelihoods and women empowerment for three years before joining the PMRDF.