Indonesian Partner Bina Desa visits MADHYAM Foundation for Inter-Regional Exposure in Odhisa, India

From April 9 to 13 AWO International’s Indonesian partner organization Bina Desa visited the cooperation project with MADHYAM Foundation to learn and share experiences in context of organic vegetable cultivation, marketing and cooperative management. AWO International Program Coordinators from South East Asia such as South Asia Regional Offices also utilized the opportunity to exchange their knowledge.  

After 14 hours in the train the exposure team reaching the project area where women farmers explained that their income has more than doubled in the last three years due to inter-cropping, mixed cultivation, line seeding and treatment of traditional local seeds such as own production of organic manures and pesticides. Soil testing was demonstrated in the field and crop planning explained by help of IEC-materials developed by the project.

Members of a cooperative set up by the project in the village Kelia (District Kalahandi) presented energy neutral cold storages that keep vegetables fresh for one week even with outside temperatures around 45 Degree Celsius. The established local vegetable collection and grading center helps more than 90 women farmers to collectively sell their goods to fair market prices. 10 of those centers were set up in the last years by help of the project.

Dwi Astuti, Executive Director of the Indonesian Partner Organization Bina Desa shared about the difficulties of Indonesian farmers to get fair market prices as imported agricultural products are often cheaper than the production costs as a result of the applied WTO practices. She further shared about Bina Desa’s approach to consider Gender Quality as a main priority in all project interventions. Lily Batana, Agriculture Specialist and Regional Coordinator of Bina Desa, shared about different methods of organic manure production in the own project area and about nutrition plans focusing on the specific needs of the target groups (for example plantation of specific crops and vegetables boosting the health of mothers and infants).

Kartikeya Panigrahi, Project Coordinator, and Ipsit Harichandan, Monitoring and Evaluation officer of MADHYAM Foundation explained with their counterparts from Indonesia, Diyah Mardiyah and Muchammad Umam, about the applied structured steering and coordination mechanisms between MADHYAM, the 10 implementing NGOs, the attached social structures and involved staffs (for example Livelihood Promoters in the cooperatives and community Resource Persons who backstop innovations at local level). Within the project system a variety of documentations are maintained at different levels and regular unannounced monitoring visits and reflection meetings take place. Saving women and vegetable sellers receive an instant printed receipt by help of the introduced “Simputer” that also uploads all transactions in an online based database that is also used for monitoring purposes. All relevant information about the AWO International cooperation project are available on field level in a transparent way.         

Yuni Kurniyatiningsih, Program Coordinator from AWO International Regional Office South East Asia was impressed about the manifold results achieved in relatively short time and exchanged experiences from partner projects in Indonesia and the Philippines with the present Program Coordinators and the Head Representative from South Asia Regional Office.

The cooperation project with MADHYAM Foundation is ongoing since 2009 and currently scaled up to 30 cooperatives in three districts of Odhisa; nearly 9.000 women vegetable growers will benefit directly and 63.000 people indirectly from various project interventions in the next three years.

AWO International thanks MADHYAM Foundation for all efforts so that this Exposure turned out as a great learning opportunity for all involved participants.

Agriculture experts and target group representatives explain about introduced cultivation techniques

A women farmer demonstrates soil testing and introdused crop plan

Participants from Bina Desa try to plough as target groups use to do

Information chain used for coordination and monitoring on different project levels

Members of the exposure team gained also intercultural competence for better understand of working contexts