Training Community Resource Persons and Panchayat members in Tamil Nadu

18 Nov, 2020

The Biological Diversity Act, 2002 mandates establishment of Biodiversity Management Committees (BMC) at every local body in India. The objective of the Act is the conservation of biological resources, sustainable utilisation of its components and to ensure that benefits arising from Access and Benefit-Sharing (ABS) are utilised to fulfil the goals of the Act and/or shared with the benefit-claimers. BMCs in India embody the spirit of local self-governance, i.e., the Panchayati Raj system. Currently, there are 2,66,509 BMCs – at every village, taluka, district in India! The main function of a BMC is to document the People’s Biodiversity Register (PBR). Many functions of the BMC are quite technical which require a detailed plan for capacity development of its members.

The Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) Partnership Project took a systematic approach towards capacity development in 12 block-level pilot BMCs in 10 districts of Tamil Nadu. Beginning with a capacity needs assessment, it developed training modules for BMC members to support them in carrying out tasks mandated under the Act. The ABS project in partnership with a local NGO based in Madurai, the Covenant Centre for Development (CCD), also designed a unique programme to further encourage the communities to take charge of their BMCs and prepare the PBR. The programme focused on training Community Resource Persons (CRP) in data collection and conducting interviews of traditional knowledge holders, farmers etc., to prepare the PBR in the own villages. CRPs were involved in the documentation of PBRs in Kariapatti, Mandapam, Melur, Natham, Periyakulam, Radhapuram, Sanarpatti, Sedapatti, Thiruvattar block-level BMCs.

Who are Community Resource Persons?

Community Resource Persons are village-level community or extension workers who support various developmental activities. The National Rural Livelihood Mission of the Government of India developed this concept to mobilise women to self-help groups to undertake various livelihood activities. Many states have adopted this concept and trained women to become CRPs. The Tamil Nadu State Rural Livelihood Mission (TNSRLM) has created a pool of resource persons under various themes such as agriculture, animal husbandry etc. CRPs are categorised master trainers, and resource persons who will conduct training at state, districts and blocks. There are hundreds of women in the CRP networks in Tamil Nadu.

Project approach

The project has developed several communication tools and methods to train the BMCs in three pilot states. Training the trainers’ (ToT) programme for operationalising the Biodiversity Management Committees was one of them. The project collaborated with the State Institute of Rural Development and Panchayat Raj (SIRD&PR) in Tamil Nadu to design and implement the ToT programme. SIRD&PR is the apex institution for training, research and capacity development in the Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Department. The institute has over a hundred empanelled trainers for various government-sponsored programmes in the state. The ToT programme trained 50 trainers from various districts of Tamil Nadu on the aspects of the Biodiversity Act, BMCs, its functions, preparation of PBRs etc. The training was designed using participatory training methods and conducted over five days in two phases in Nov 2019.

The training of CRPs was conducted in October 2020 by certified trainers trained under the project’s ToT programme. Due to COVID 19 pandemic, the number of participants in each training was restricted to 5-8 persons. Thirty-five certified trainers conducted 3-day training sessions in 22 districts covering 35 villages. Training sessions covered topics such as, ‘what is biodiversity, its importance, BMCs, its functions, PBRs, ABS’ etc. Field visit to practice filling up PBR formats was also organised. A total of 271 persons including CRPs, Panchayat Presidents, members and BMC members in the villages were trained.

The training of trainers and training of CRPs has successfully reached a large number of people in villages across Tamil Nadu. This approach is one way to reach thousands of BMCs in a state. In partnership with Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, the National Biodiversity Authority, the ABS Partnership Project has developed six training modules, facilitator’s guide and training methods which will be published in the coming month.

A list of districts (villages) is below.

  • Ariyalur (Edayar)
  • Chengalpattu (Pazhayanoor)
  • Cuddalore (Nanamedu, Periyakallipattu, and Srineduncheri)
  • Dharmapuri (Indur)
  • Dindigul (Karisalpatti and Patchalanaicken Patti)
  • Erode (Bargur)
  • Kallakurichi (Avi Kolappakkam and Vanapuram)
  • Krishnagiri (Begapalli and Kaatinayanapalli)
  • Madurai (Saptur and Thangalachery)
  • Mayiladuthurai (Maraiyur)
  • Nagapattinam (Pallaiyur)
  • Namakkal (O.Sowthapuram)
  • Pudukkottai (Poovarasakudy)
  • Sivagangai (K.Vairavanpatti and Kulaththuppatti)
  • Tenkasi (Oormelazhagian)
  • Thanjavur (Neelagiri, Pattukkottai and Sethubavachitram)
  • Tiruvarur (Idumbavanam, Manjakkudi)
  • Tirunelveli (Kunnathur)
  • Tiruppur (Cheyur, Kuralkuttai and Nalligoundenpalayam)
  • Tiruvannamalai (Andampallam)
  • Trichy (Pettavaithalai)
  • Villupuram (Thiruvampattu and Vadakaraithazhanur)

Participants at a training in Pallaiyur Village Panchayat Office, Nagapattinam district. (Photo Credit: Mr. Doulos New Begin)

Participants at a training in Pallaiyur Village Panchayat Office, Nagapattinam district. (Photo Credit: Mr. Doulos New Begin)

Field visit organised as part of the training conducted by Mr. M. Paneerselvam at K.Vairavanpatti village,Sivagangai District.

Mr. Abhishek Tomar, IFS, DFO Villupuram awarding training certificates to CRPs trained by Mr. T. John Dougless Selvakumar at Avi Kolappakkam,Villupuram district. (Photo credit: Ranjithkumar A.)

Group of participants in the training conducted in Tamil Nadu (Total no. 271)

CRP training in the local newspapers


About the project

The ABS Partnership Project aims at strengthening the capacity of the National Biodiversity Authority, selected State Biodiversity Boards, Biodiversity Management Committees, as well as creating awareness amongst commercial users of biological resources and associated traditional knowledge for the effective implementation of ABS mechanisms under the Biological Diversity Act, 2002 in keeping with India’s commitments under the Nagoya Protocol for ABS. Read more

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