To organise, to form a union, to become an alliance, is a fundamental of human social behaviour. Farming is one of the earliest examples of sustained collective livelihood. This missive relates some early exciting experiences of associations of farmers that are emerging from amongst tribal communities, which constitute some of the most disadvantaged in India, and the work that these organisations and other partners have made towards poverty alleviation through support for aquaculture.

The three State-level Workshops were held in West Bengal, Jharkhand and Orissa in October 2002. The aim and objectives of the workshops were to contribute to “giving people a voice” in policy-making processes that have an impact on their livelihoods, to understand a process for transacting institutional and policy change, to provide feedback on case studies and to review emerging “indicators of change” and provide input into the subsequent Stakeholders Workshop.

This paper is about a process and practice which is bringing representatives of tribal communities in three Indian states together with district, state and national government officials, around the issue of aquaculture services provision. The project comprises a series of visits, fieldwork, workshops, case studies, a consensus-building process, literature research and documentation. Among its aims are building shared understandings of government services provision among recipients, implementers and policy-makers, and facilitating an equitable dialogue towards policy change.

The workshop objectives were to understand a process for transacting institutional and policy change, provide feedback to “finalise” six case studies which document experiences of rural aquaculture services provision from the perspectives of representative recipient and provider groups, to review emerging “indicators of progress” to feed into a consensus-building process and to provide input into a subsequent Policy Review Workshop. It contributed to giving people a voice in policy-making processes that have an impact on their livelihoods.

There are many “stakeholders” involved in the development of schemes to support tribal people to undertake aquaculture. These should include tribal people, researchers, policy-makers and others. Stakeholders often face a situation in which different people have conflicting views. Such differences can be over the appropriate goals of a scheme, the types of outcomes, who should be helped and in what way, or the merit and worth of particular activities.

The six case studies published here grew in concept and content throughout the Project period. To follow the progress of the Case Studies, excerpts have been taken from previous Project documents, and adapted for the purpose of showing how they changed from an initial idea to the form in which they appear here and were presented finally at the Policy Review Workshop in Noida, Delhi, in April 2003. Each of the studies is different in focus and format. 


The aim of the Policy Review Workshop, as with all project activities, was “contributing to ‘giving people a voice’ in policy-making processes that have an impact on their livelihoods”. The workshop objectives included: Through six case studies, stakeholder statements and a street-play, understand the experiences of rural aquaculture services provision from the perspectives of recipients and providers; review the process for transacting policy change and lessons learnt; and make recommendations for policy change based on project outcomes.

This report, at the request of NRSP, highlights “research learning and new thinking” arising from project R8100. It considers the project’s process from a strategic viewpoint, which is summarised in a conceptual matrix. The main features of the process’s overall strategy considered in more detail are a strategy for bringing through the voices of poor people – described as facilitated advocacy, with the role played by the project being one of “making it easier for people to speak for themselves”.


The meetings and this document discuss the lessons learnt by project R8100 and consider how the follow on project might take these forward. This document combines the minutes of the Delhi meetings and the Stakeholder meeting in Ranchi, and captures as stories the summary of project R8100 and the visit to Jabarrah. The objectives of R8334 are presented, with comments on these recorded, and the project flow chart and proposed revisions to it are included.

Three consecutive State-level Communications Strategy Workshops were held in the capitals of Jharkhand, Orissa and West Bengal states. The aim of the workshops, as with all project activities, was to “contribute to ‘giving people a voice’ in policy-making processes that have an impact on their livelihoods.” The specific objectives were to review and orient participants to the project’s four outputs and to draft a state-level communications strategy, including ideas for a monitoring and evaluation process.