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Improving development effectiveness through programme convergence The Government of India is investing huge amounts in rural development, agriculture and animal husbandry schemes, as is the Government of Madhya Pradesh, which supports additional schemes. 'Converging' MPRLP's rural development programmes with these schemes can make them more efficient and cost effective, doing more to transform the lives of the poor.

What is convergence? For MPRLP, convergence means working with partners, agencies and programmes that have common goals, a shared understanding of the issues and problems and the potential to have a real impact on reducing poverty. As part of its drive towards efficient convergence, MPRLP integrates its activities with government schemes, such as the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act and the Agriculture Extension Reforms Scheme (implemented by the Agriculture Technology Management Agency), and acts as a catalyst in bringing together initiatives to improve the lives of remote communities.

Photo: © MPRLP

NREG: an example of convergence The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) provides a safety net programme guaranteeing up to 100 days of employment a year to every household. The Madhya Pradesh government appointed MPRLP as one of several agencies implementing the NREG in MPRLP project villages. This provides a major opportunity to enhance the livelihoods of poor families and demonstrate the benefits of integrating programmes with common aims. In this way, the scheme improves people's livelihoods by employing the jobless to tackle the root causes of chronic poverty, such as deforestation and soil erosion.

How MPRLP works with the NREG MPRLP brings the NREG to bear in two areas: improving watershed management and conserving soil and soil moisture. To improve degraded watersheds in 148 communities, MPRLP worked with NGOs to help Gram Sabhas develop detailed plans for

"MPRLP integrates its activities with government schemes" The way ahead 

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Improve the delivery of rural development programmes through integrated plans, budgets and approaches that link with existing government schemes. Consolidate and disseminate learning from MPRLP's work. Link villages with departments responsible for the schemes and help them access benefits. Build on strong working relations with the World Bankfunded District Poverty Initiative Project (DPIP). Engage fully with the National Rural Employment Guarantee (NREG) Act. Strengthen the role of the Learning Forum in sharing information and knowledge that can inform government practices and policies.


improving soil and water conservation and management. Villagers, supported by teams of engineers and community organisers, then carried out the work under the NREG. This collaboration has had a considerable impact, improving over 75,000 hectares of watersheds by, for example, building 1103 wells, constructing new irrigation channels, planting trees, and constructing soil and water conservation structures along watershed slopes. MPRLP monitors the work to check that it is done properly and that NREG requirements are met. Work to conserve soil and soil moisture is based on household needs. Hundreds of thousands of useful trees and shrubs, such as mango, guava, bamboo, mulberry and awala, have been planted on bunds between fields in all project districts. These agroforestry plantings will provide fruit, fodder for livestock and fuel, as well as conserve soil and soil moisture and reduce pressure on forests.

Convergence to improve livelihoods The watershed and agro-forestry initiatives converge with district and state plans and other MPRLP activities that enhance livelihoods. For example, in Dindori, MPRLP, the Forest Department and the Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation Ltd. (TRIFED) worked together on sisal agroforestry and installed two sisal fibre extraction plants. Self-help groups use the fibre to produce sisal handicrafts, which TRIFED then helps to market.

Developing effective convergence policies In Madhya Pradesh, the state government has an ambitious programme to integrate all rural development programmes. The State

Achievements 

Partnerships formed with the state Department of Agriculture to reform agricultural extension in seven districts through the Agriculture Technology Management Agency. Partnerships formed with the state Department of Agriculture to provide vegetable seed kits and training. Partnerships formed with the Integrated Tribal Development Programme on sericulture, lac and lift irrigation pumps. Partnerships formed with the Total Sanitation Campaign to raise awareness. Partnerships formed with the Backward Regions Fund to identify infrastructure needs for district planning. Partnerships formed with the Public Distribution System to ensure effective delivery of quality food grains. Partnerships formed with the state Forest Department to ensure the planting of economically important plants on field bunds to provide additional sources of income, as well as to fight climate change.

Learning Forum brings together those working to reduce poverty to share their experiences, learn from each other and, where appropriate, develop a common vision, policies and strategies.

"Agro-forestry plantings will provide fruit, fodder for livestock and fuel"

Photo: © MPRLP/Sandeep Khanwalkar

Contact Telephone: +91-(0)755-2766812, 814, 815 Fax: +91-(0)755-2766818 Email: Website: MPRLP is funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID). This publication does not necessarily represent the views of the Department for International Development.

MPRLP Update series no.10: Programme Convergence  

The Government of India is investing huge amounts in rural development, agriculture and animal husbandry schemes, as is the State Government...

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