This necessitated the project to broaden its horizon not only in terms of coverage (from small and marginal farmers to the entire groundwater user group) but also from borewell construction to management of the groundwater resource. This resulted in implementation of some pilot initiatives among which are now popular concept
Participatory Hydrological Monitoring, Artificial Groundwater Recharge and Organic Agriculture. After the final evaluation of the APWELL Project, it was felt that the pilot activities that have been successfully implemented and are important from the view of the overall “environmentally sound” economic development of the communities in the state.
BIRDS, a partner NGO (Non Governmental Organization) of APWELL Project has contributed in a big way, in the field level innovations during the implementation of pilot activities. After a thorough analysis of the institutional capacity and results of a Comprehensive Audit Ranking (CAR) of APWELL partner NGOs, RNE has invited BIRDS to submit a project proposal for funding an extended project based on the PHM experiences, in the year 2000. Accordingly, a project proposal was submitted to RNE in the year 2002. RNE agreed to support the project, then named as the APFAMGS Project (Andhra Pradesh Farmer Managed Groundwater Systems Project). The proposal was pending because of the changing development aid scenario at the national level. Finally, the project was approved and the contract was entered in July 2003.
The period between the closure of the APWELL Project i.e., 31 March 2003 and approval of the APFAMGS Project (1 July 2003), there was a gap of three months. This is the transition phase between APWELL and APFAMGS project. With the view of not discontinuing the contact with the communities, erstwhile APWELL staff continued to work voluntarily at the field level, foregoing their salaries. The minimum funding required to support these voluntary efforts was provided by BIRDS and PRIYUM Advisory and Consultancy Services Private (PRIYUM), which provided technical support for APWELL Project in the concluding phase.
APFAMGS Project became operational in seven drought prone districts of Andhra Pradesh by July 2003, after taking on board a network of NGOS, with BIRDS as a nodal agency. In contrast to present efforts of several Governmental and Non-Governmental agencies, APFAMGS calls for a reversal of the present trend, back to the tradition methods of water management. It demands a new approach to governance itself - a participatory form of governance rather than a top-down bureaucratic one - a culture of providing services, howsoever poor and abysmal they maybe rather than one of empowering people to develop their own water resources.
The project is located in the southern part of the Republic of India. It covers about 500 villages in seven drought prone districts of Andhra Pradesh viz., Anantapur, Chittoor, Cuddapah, Kurnool, Mahbubnagar, Nalgonda and Prakasam. The total project duration is 30 MONTHS i.e., from July 1, 2003 to December 31, 2005. Total project cost is estimated at about Indian Rupees 20.02 crore. Box 2.3 lists the objectives/goal of the APFAMGS Project (as stated in the Project Document).
The APFAMGS project supported by RNE, directly, concluded as of 30th April 2004. The project continued the activities from May 2004 in anticipation of the approval from FAO. The agreement was signed between the Nodal NGO BIRDS and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) during second week of August 2004.
The project is implemented by a network of 7 PNGOs (Parnter NGO) at the field level, one PNGO being responsible for managing one Implementation Team, consisting of a Professional Team (4 members) and Village Coordinators.
At the project level, the Nodal NGO i.e., BIRDS has set-up a Project Management Team to provide technical support to the PNGO staff. PMT consists of Subject Experts in relavant disciplines supported by Process Monitoring Managers and Support staff. Formation, capacity building and putting up self-sustaining Groundwater Management Committees at the habitation, Hydrological Unit and PNGO level is the responsibility of the PNGO. PNGOs also make sure that necessary linkages are built up between the GMC and government departments for post-project sustainability of interventions. BIRDS is governed by its Executive Committee (EC). The Project Steering Committee (PSC) monitors the overall implementation of the project and provides advise and helps in linkage building to the Nodal NGO. Figure 1.1 shows the structure of the project organization.
Because of the changed developmental policy of the Government of the Netherlands, there is a phasing out of all projects presently funded by the Development Cooperation Division of the Royal Netherlands Embassy in India. As part of the phasing out process, the funds allocated for implementation of three projects, including the APFAMGS Project, have been transferred to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of United Nations (UN). BIRDS was asked to revise the project document submitted to the Royal Netherlands Embassy to suit the FAO format. BIRDS has prepared a new project document of APFAMGS Project and submitted to FAO in the month of March 2004. RNE has formally closed the project from direct funding per April 2004. The proposal submitted to FAO for continuation of the project is presently under consideration. At the time of writing this report, BIRDS and the Project Partners (PP) are running the project with funds from other sources, waiting for the formal approval of FAO.
As in case of CHETANA, BIRDS acts as Nodal NGO for the APFAMGS Project. The donor transfers entire funds through BIRDS, which in turn are routed through 7 partner NGOs to finally reach the communities in seven operational districts, apart from procuring services of four technical support agencies.