Alacrity was founded in April 1995 with a vision to promote conservation and awareness of the marine ecosystem in Kendrapara, Orissa, through the participation of local community and self-help women’s groups.
The main objectives of Alacrity are:
The focus of our activities is to involve local community members in conservation initiatives and to provide alternate sources of livelihood for people dependent on coastal and marine resources in and around protected areas. Our sea turtle conservation activities involve imparting awareness to fishing community members residing within the periphery of the Gahirmatha area. We have also established ‘eco-development’ groups within the region for conservation and protection of sea turtles and their nesting habitats, and for the conservation of natural resources including mangrove forests. Currently, 30 such eco-development groups have been functioning within the fishing communities of the region.
There are two major groups of people who live within and around the Gahirmatha sanctuary area. They include the Odiya speaking community and refugees from West Bengal and Bangladesh. These communities primarily depend on the mangrove forests within and surrounding the sanctuary area for their livelihoods. In the recent past, however, a large portion of the mangrove forest area was cleared for paddy cultivation in Jamboo and the Mahanadi delta area. This adversely impacted the fishing communities inhabiting the adjoining delta area who were harvesting sh from the river and from creeks. Expansion of agriculture by encroachment on forest lands also hampered their access to rewood and fodder from the mangrove forest area. With Alacrity’s intervention in the area falling under the Batighar gram panchayat, members of this community have expressed their desire to work with us in order to enhance their skills and explore alternate livelihood opportunities. Apart from illegal encroachment onto forest land, and the expansion of agricultural land, restrictions imposed by the Coastal Regulation Zone Management Notification (CRZ) have presented further hindrances to their access to resources in the area.
In addition to these activities, with the financial support of D.F.O. Rajnagar, Alacrity has imparted skill upgradation training programmes on tailoring and honeybee keeping. Our tailoring programme has bene ted around 80 fisherwomen belonging to eco-development committees. Alacrity provides training and equipment and regularly monitors the programme. The local forest department office has also been supportive of the initiative. Members bene ting from this scheme now earn between INR 1,200 and INR 1,800 a month.
The honeybee keeping programme implemented by Alacrity benefits around 60 fishermen and women, including the youth in the community. Alacrity invites experts in the eld to provide the necessary training and guidance, and provides beekeeping boxes. The sale of honey has proved to be a sustainable and viable alternate source of livelihood to the community.
Alacrity’s net mending programme, an initiative that is completely supported through financial contributions to the organisation, involves the youth in the fishing community. Currently, 25 young men and women have undergone training and are pursuing this option of securing a livelihood.
Alacrity receives financial support from the District Forest Office of Kendrapara to support its alternative livelihoods programme. Voluntary contributions from members and individuals, and local/state government donations are also sought to sustain other activities and programmes of the organisation.
Alacrity is happy to be a member of TAG. With our aim to conserve the olive ridley turtles in the area, in addition to horseshoe crabs, dolphins and the habitats they utilise, we hope to bene t from the experience of others who are part of this national network.
We are willing to contribute to the network’s growth by providing information on sea turtles in the area, and keeping members informed of our activities.
Contributed by Kalpana Mallik, Chief Functionary, Alacrity.
Contact information: Kalpana Mallik, Alacrity.
Postal address:ALACRITY, At/PO: Kapaleswar, District: Kendrapara, Orissa
Phone: +91 6727 220792; 221792
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; kalpanamallik@ gmail.com
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