A programme to celebrate and spotlight the communities of Meghalaya for their good work across various sectors of rural development and livelihood enhancement was held at the State Convention Centre, Shillong on 19 December 2022. The unique programme was aimed at enabling communities from all corners of the state to share their knowledge and transmit lessons and information on a variety of subjects from traditional knowledge, natural resources management, and entrepreneurship to financial inclusion and community organization and aiding in the transformation of individuals and communities.
A total of 12 communities and individuals were felicitated and provided with a platform to share their best practices and innovations. The programme was organized under the IFAD support Megha-LAMP project, exclusively for the communities, by the communities with the support of the Meghalaya Basin Management Agency (MBMA).
In his address, Chief Guest Dr. Vijay Kumar D., Commissioner & Secretary of the Government of Meghalaya, stated his delight at being able to participate in the mutual lesson-learning experience. He informed that when the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Singh Modi visited Shillong the previous day, the State Government had shared a compilation of success stories of Meghalaya. The Prime Minister was observed to be very appreciative of these practices implemented in collaboration with the communities across various sectors. At the community level, organizations like the MBMA are working to highlight these interesting stories and articulate them to the outside world.
Kumar added that it is important to note that the work of the externally aided projects of the government of Meghalaya is being recognized at the highest levels. For instance, the Megha-LAMP project was supposed to end in December 2022 but has instead been extended by the government of India by another two years with additional financing of USD 20 million to expand on various best practices. He cited the example of the Khasi Mandarin which made headlines recently when it was exported to Dubai for the first time and now stands on special display at the LuLuHypermarket Mall there. The initiative was entirely done by the Ganga Integrated Village Cooperative Society (IVCS Ltd.) from South Garo Hills with minimal facilitation by the government, which is testimony to their capabilities.
Also present were Shri. Gunanka DB, Joint Secretary, Government of Meghalaya, and Additional Project Director of the Community Led Landscape Management Project (CLLMP), officials and representatives of various line departments and agencies of the State Government, and community members from a number of villages and groups.