Rural Economy Advancement Programme (REAP) Phase II

Posted on: July 1st, 2016

Rural Economic Advancement Programme (REAP) Phase II

Total Fund: Nu. 83.61m

Duration: Jan 2015-Dec 2017

Funded by: Government of India

Executed by: Gross National Happiness Commission Secretariat (GNHCS)

Sites: (Haa, Gasa, Wangduephordang, Lhuentse, Monggar, Tsirang, Samtse, Pemagatshel, Zhemgang,Sarpang).

 The Rural Economic Advancement Programme (REAP) is a programme developed by the Royal Government of Bhutan to target extreme poverty that may not be adequately addressed through broad-based development programmes. In the 10th FYP, GNHC implemented the programme in 10 villages as a pilot, of which two of the villages in Zhemgang were outsourced to the Foundation. For the 11th FYP, GNHC has identified 75 villages with high poverty incidences for up scaling of this targeted intervention approach.

The assessment of the REAP Phase I  and Tarayana ’s  contribution to the rural development and poverty alleviation in the most vulnerable communities in the country has led to the partnership with the GNHC in implementing the REAP Phase II. The GNHC Secretariate provided the REAP strategic framework and the list of villages that required interventions.

Upon discussion with the GNHC, Tarayana Foundation shortlisted 39 villages for implementation, based on certain criteria (existing field staff, understanding of the communities, areas of interest, and poverty ranking). Further, GNHC requested the foundation to take up 2 more villages, now making the total to 41 villages in 11 Dzongkhags.

Upon receipt of the Village Development Plans (VDPs) to assess the kind of interventions that have been identified by the GNHC, the Foundation’s programme team made the following observations:

  1. Activities chalked out in the VDPs are very generic and similar to Geog/ Dzongkhag plans.
    1. Input supply, training, group formation are the key features – mostly off-farm activities
    2. Complete value chain of crop/livestock production mentioned – even in cases where the gestation period is more than 2 years
    3. Supply of CGI sheets, toilet construction identified for few villages, but not linked to a holistic housing improvement
  1. Budget estimates seemed to be minimal and have not considered transportation of goods to the remote villages, and other related expenses

The Foundation suggested the implementation model to be the integrated, holistic approach, in the sites that were selected. This was agreed upon by GNHC, provided all the targets set were met.

As the baseline study for this programme was conducted in 2010, the ground realities would have changed since then; therefore, a new baseline study was proposed and carried out by the Foundation. Some of the findings from the baseline study were:

  • Number of households and population had increased in all the villages, thereby increasing the number of beneficiaries thus impacting the budget as the allocated amount for each village was based on the total number of households.
  • Some of the villages were clubbed together in the former survey, the actual number of village increased to 49 from 41 on the list
  • Villages that did not have roads in 2010 are now connected leading to reduction in time for material transport, but increasing the cost as motor transport is borne by the project.
  • Needs of the communities also differed as housing improvement was rarely mentioned in the previous survey. This is also to do with how consultation meetings and needs assessments were carried out. In the new survey about 600 new houses are to be constructed and 200 to be renovated.
  • Self Help Group formation and income generating activities continue to be one of the activities that all the communities are interested in.
  • The Foundation was requested to take on two villages Yosena and Wachey under Lunana gewog in Gasa. These two are the most difficult to reach and expensive in terms of service delivery.

The agreement for this programme was signed on 8th January 2015 at the GNHC Secretariat, Tashichodzong, Thimphu. The baseline survey was carried out in February and actual implementation followed after assessing the needs. To date, the following progresse have been achieved:

  • As of June 2016, a total of 123 houses have been completed, 49 renovated and 25 are under construction.
  • For the construction of the houses, the Field Officers facilitate in availing the lag thram after assisting in the land survey, getting timber permits and other clearance required from the Dzongkhag.
  • 304 toilets have been constructed so far in Samtse, Monggar, Haa, Lhuentse, Tsirang and Sarpang. Many are under construction in the different sites.
  • Kitchen gardens made in all the communities with the distribution of seeds, tools and conducting training in natu-eco farming. So far, 400 (300F100M)members have been trained in nat-ecuo farming
  • 70 Self Help Groups (SHGs) have been formed and are operational
  • These SHGs have initiated the following income generating activities: Nettle, wool, and cane & Bamboo weaving, wood crafts, Vegetable production, cardamom, fruits, and poultry. Almost all the groups have started earning income from the activities undertaken.
  • All the 70 SHGs are trained in financial literacy and group savings have been initiated
  • 15 work-sheds have been completed and many are under construction
  • Land management training was conducted especially for those communities where the terrain is very steep and experience high soil erosions
  • The following machines have been distributed to different sites: Power tillers, mini flour mills, maize grinders and rice hullers.
  • Fuel efficient cook stoves are also promoted in the REAP sites.
  • Solar/ Electric fencing is one of the common requirements in most of the sites, a 2.5 km of solar fencing has been completed in Lhuentse and a similar one is being undertaken in Monggar.
  • To address food security, upland paddy cultivation was promoted in areas with water scarcity
  • Water storage / reservoir tanks  were constructed in villages facing acute shortage of water. The climate resilient water harvesting techniques from NAPA project is being replicated wherever required in the REAP sites.