SOS Children’s Villages of India (SOSCVI), India’s largest NGO dedicated to the holistic development of children without parental care and children at the risk of abandonment, organised a tree plantation drive at Mawbseiñ village in Ri-Bhoi to help farmers and the local population mitigate climate risks and protect their livelihoods.
The drive witnessed the planting of 650 saplings early last month.
The drive was organized as part of Family Strengthening, an outreach programme of SOS Children’s Village Shilong. The objective of the programme is to ensure sustainable livelihood of families and thus, continual parental care of children in the families.
SOSCVI has also organised a capacity building programme on environmental sustainability for the villagers with the support of Botanical Survey of India (BSI). The programme, attended by the village head and members of self-help groups (SHGs), facilitated interactive sessions between scientists from the BSI and the local population on the importance of trees in protecting catchment areas in hilly regions and thus increasing the water table.
Talking about the tree plantation drive, Sumanta Kar, Senior Deputy National Director, SOSCVI, said that “Though more than two-thirds of Meghalaya is still forested, the state needs development of tree and forest cover like any other part of the country, if not more, in order to conserve its rich biodiversity, and protect its fragile geo-environmental setting. In the background of climate change, there is a real threat of increasing mean annual temperature, variability of rainfall pattern and seasonal shift in weather pattern – all can have a destructive effect on agriculture, the mainstay vocation of Meghalaya.”
The plantation drive and environmental sustainability meet led to heightened awareness among people about the importance of trees for their livelihood, and environmental sustainability.
SOSCVI intends to take the tree plantation drive to other parts, especially rural areas, of the state in the future.