KJBF's strategy for ensuring community participation and their ownership over the process of development includes:
Needs Assessment: Understanding the needs of the area and the communities is the first step towards developmental action.
Scientific Field Studies: Since secondary data such as maps, reports etc do not always give an accurate picture of ground realities; KJBF undertakes scientific studies to understand the soil and water conditions of the project area. Development interventions are planned in accordance with the ground realities and the needs of the community.
Community perspective: Participatory methods such as Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA), small group discussions, village meetings etc. are used to assess needs, arrive at solutions, decide community contributions and develop an appropriate plan of action for the developmental interventions. Since the community is involved in the process of decision making, there is greater ownership over the development initiatives.
Community Empowerment: KJBF empowers the community to take charge of the process of their own development through:
Enhancing Awareness: Personal and group interaction, Village meetings, Gram Sabhas, field based demonstrations and exposure visits to learn from the experience of other farmers, are some of the common methods of enhancing awareness regarding development interventions. Popular media like films and street plays are used to create awareness about issues and motivate farmers to take up new ideas. Thematic celebrations and popular talks by Guest Speakers also enhance their understanding of developmental issues.
Focussed Training: Special Training programmes on self development, institution building, financial management etc are organized to impart the necessary knowledge and skills to the community. Training sessions on Project cycles enables the community to understand the implementation plan and also monitor the progress of the process. Technical training enhances their confidence during the implementation stage.
Training and Livelihoods Resource Centre: KJBF has developed the Training and Livelihoods Resource Centre at Manohar Dham Dattapur, Wardha as a demonstration model for enabling the community to comprehend the functioning and impact of the developmental intervention. Exposure visits to the Centre motivate farmers to adopt a suitable model in their own farms. The Training Centre has a well equipped Training Hall, educational charts, and field demonstration plots such as horticulture and improved fodder plots. KJBF has also demonstrated the positive impact on groundwater recharging by interlinking four percolation tanks and two wells in Dattapur. Some other models such as Roof Rain water harvesting structure (RRWHS), micro irrigation devices and biogas have also been displayed to sensitize people about their use.
Community Participation: KJBF elicits participation from the community in various ways.
Village Volunteers: KJBF identifies trains and provides financial incentives to Youth from within the community to work as KJBF's extension volunteer. A Village Volunteer (VV) is usually responsible for supporting the implementation of developmental interventions in the villages. Being locals, these VVs know the ground realities, can connect better with the community, motivate people and provide regular monitoring support.
Village Committees: A group of motivated people from within the community volunteer to be on Village Committees (VC). These VCs are informal bodies responsible for motivating people for taking up specific projects and monitoring the progress. The VCs are also responsible for collecting the cash and overseeing the labour (shramdaan) contributions from the community.
Community Institutions: KJBF identifies supports and revives existing, often defunct, village level institutions. KJBF also initiates new institutions such as separate Self Help Groups (SHGs) for men and women and lift irrigation societies (LIS). These formal groups support individual members to take on income generating enterprises and helps in providing irrigation facilities to the farmer’s land respectively. Revival of LIS is also done by KJBF by providing financial and conceptual support. Byelaws have been facilitated to evolve in the LIS to lessen the chances of being defunct. Women's SHGs have supported members to undertake farm based alternate livelihoods such as dairy farming, cultivating kitchen gardens, vermicomposting and biogas. Non-farm based alternate livelihoods are also being actively explored.
Community Contribution: In order that the community takes ownership over the developmental intervention, KJBF collects community contribution in cash, material and/or labour (shramdaan) on the basis of previously defined norms for common property and private resources. The amount and mode of contribution is usually worked out with the village community through a participatory process.
Networking: KJBF networks with other development, government, research and funding agencies in order to learn and share experiences as also collaborate on certain initiatives. Sharing of experiences is also done through workshops, seminars and Public events.