• From working at the coal mines in East Jaintia Hills to starting his own sustainable venture, the inspiring story of Pynwanshuh War

    In the year 2014, when NGT banned rat hole mining in Meghalaya, deeming it as ‘illegal’ and ‘unscientific’, the livelihood of several people who were directly involved in the practice wereaffected. While some community members faced the brunt of being unable to earn a decent livelihood, others took up alternative and more sustainable forms of livelihood. This is the story of Shri. Pynwanshuh War from East Jaintia Hills District, Meghalaya who did not allow the NGT ban on rat hole mining to affect his livelihood. Instead, he used it as an opportunity to switch to a more sustainable means of income generation, while becoming a role model for others to follow.

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  • The traditional cake of the Khasis-- Pusaw

    Whether eaten hot and steaming as part of every meal, or made into cakes and crepes and eaten with sweet red tea, rice occupies a central place in Khasi cuisine and indeed the cuisine of all tribes in Meghalaya. But the unique thing about rice dishes in Meghalaya is how their taste varies across different regions of the state, deriving as much from the innumerable indigenous varieties of rice grown here as from a particular recipe.

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  • From being a home maker to an entrepreneur, the empowering story of Balje N. Sangma from South West Garo Hills

    Almost a decade ago, Balje N. Sangma was a home maker, who occasionally tended to paddy and vegetable farming mainly for self-consumption. Today, this woman in her thirties has beautifully grown into an entrepreneur who is successfully running a tea stall at the block office of Betasing Block in South West Garo Hills District and dreams of owning a piggery farm one day. Her husband still works as a Chowkidar at the Office of the Deputy Commissioner, but is no longer burdened by the responsibility of being the sole bread earner for the family of seven.

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  • From being only a farmer to owning a food processing unit, the humble rise of Neta Pohthmi

    Neta Pohthmi is known in his village for being cheerful and positive, and for always being optimistic about everything in life. The Padu Village local lives with his wife and their three
    children. Having had no access to formal education, he worked as a farmer and later as a shopkeeper where he sold biscuits. His life, however, changed after he decided to become a
    partner with the Meghalaya Basin development Authority (MBDA).

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  • The story of how a daily-wage-earner took control of his life by starting his own piggery unit in Meghalaya

    Twansing Kharshiing is a 30-yr-old entrepreneur who resides in Laitmawpen Village of Mawphlang C&RD Block. The village depends mainly on agricultural activities for
    their livelihood, given the fact that there is unavailability of employment opportunities here.

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  • Ram pump intervention from MBDA eases water woes of Mawphanlur village


    Meghalaya is home to Sohra and Mawsynram which receive the highest amount of rainfall in the world but despite this, many parts in the state face water security problems. Mawphanlur is a village in West Khasi Hills known for the numerous crater lakes atop the hill but due to the inability of the community to harvest rainwater, the village faced problems with water availability. Shri Nicholson Jana, headman of Mawphanlur village stated that it is the school children that suffer the most as they have to walk long distances to fetch water in addition to travelling to schools. This drudgery wastes a lot of time and also causes children to focus on other things apart from school work. Meghalaya Basin Development Authority (MBDA) in partnership with Nagaland Empowerment of People through Energy Development (NEPeD) and GIZ came up with a comprehensive solution and gave the village a hydraulic ram pump.

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    Jaintia Hills is a major coal producing area in Meghalaya with an estimated coal reserve of about 40 million tonnes. Sutnga, Lakadong, Musiang-Lamare, Khliehriat, Loksi, Ladrymbai, Rymbai, Byrwai, Chyrmang, Bapung,Jarain, Shkentalang, Lumshnong, Sakynphor etc. are the main coal bearing areas. Extraction of coal in Meghalaya has been done by primitive mining method commonly known as ‘rat-hole’ mining.

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  • The success story of Midalis Lyngdoh who is creating Meghalaya’s Kiwi haven in Nongspung

    Nongspung village in East Khasi Hills District of Meghalaya is beginning to garner attention
    from a number of people from within the state and outside as it is now involved in the
    farming of an exotic fruit called Kiwi. A fruit which was initially imported from other parts
    of the state to the markets of Meghalaya is now available roughly 50km from Shillong in this

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  • Tackling climate change & restoring forest cover—Meet the Green Warriors of Meghalaya’s North Garo Hills district

    Bamboo is often known as the miracle plant owing to its wide ranging benefits. Bamboo trees assist in fighting climate change more effectively as compared to other hardwood trees by taking in more CO2 and producing more oxygen. This makes it a valuable partner in fighting climate change. Depending on the species, bamboos can be harvested in one to five years. After harvesting, virtually every part of the plant can be used to make a wide variety of products.

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  • The success story of Meghalaya’s Dilseng Sangma, an entrepreneur who started his business through YouTube tutorials

    Areca Nut holds an important place among the commercial crops of Meghalaya with the state being placed at the 5th position in the production of Areca nuts, producing 3.3% of total production in India. Areca nut is grown in East Khasi hills, Jaintia hills, West Garo hills and East Garo hills regions of the state. It is consumed in fresh, cured and dry forms along with betel leaves and lime.

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  • Hosterwell Lapasam- Not just your average farmer but Innovator of the manual rice winnower

    Hosterwell Lapasam is a 68-year-old rice farmer who lives in Sohkymphor village, East Jaintia Hills District. Finding manual winnowing of rice grains the traditional way extremely difficult, he came up with an innovative solution to lessen his workload. The innovator developed, designed and built a rice winnowing machine which has been able to cut down the process of winnowing by a substantial amount of time. The machine can winnow and dry 15 sacks of rice in an hour. The machine which is extremely easy to use does not need a lot of physical strength and can be operated by women and children alike. 

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  • The success story of Bah Wallamkupar Lyngrah- Headmaster, Innovator and Poultry farmer

    In the rural villages of Meghalaya, it is not an uncommon sight to see backyards rearing poultry. Poultry rearing is one of the most common practices in Meghalaya.  This is accounted to favourable weather conditions for rearing birds. Apart from the usual agricultural practices, certain allied services such as poultry rearing give additional income to families.

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  • From teacher to entrepreneur- Kong Syrpailin Warjri’s inspiring story of hard work and determination

    Kong Syrpailin Warjri’s journey to becoming a successful entrepreneur did not happen overnight. She had her own share of hardships. Although, she was a hard-working woman, Syrpailin was also pressed by circumstances. She has a large family of 10 members and had been working as a teacher under the ad hoc grant-in-aid for 2 years. Her salary was only Rs. 600 per month. Needless to say, running a family of 10 with this meager amount was not realistic.

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  • From coal mining to piggery, Sunshine Ryngkhlem’s sustainable journey to prosperity

    Piggery in Meghalaya is an age old, traditional livelihood activity that has been the sole source of bread and butter for generations of households in the state. For some, this activity has provided fortune while for others, it has been just enough for sustenance. Whatever the case may be, piggery is an intrinsic part of the culture and history of the local people and has been so for many generations.

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  • The unique handicraft of Purasinga in South West Garo Hills – ‘Not every nuisance is a waste’

    Purasinga Village in South West Garo Hills district of Meghalaya is located about 55 km from Tura and approximately 365 km from the state capital, Shillong. In this village, water hyacinth, also known as Eichhornia crassipes, exists in abundance and can be seen growing in ponds and other water bodies, or in areas where paddy cultivation has been abandoned. The case of the water hyacinth in Purasinga is unique, as not long ago, the plant was viewed as a nuisance because it contributed to blockage in drainage systems. This highly regenerative plant has also adversely affected the biodiversity in the village’s ecosystems.

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  • Chibait Papiah’s ongoing journey to finding success

    Chibait Papiah is a poultry farmer from Sohkymphor village in the East Jaintia Hills District of Meghalaya. He is a father of a two year old daughter and used to previously work at Airtel. He left the job to start work as a daily wage earner which he continues to do so till date.

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  • The success story of Bah Marius Tlang, a farmer from Umrasong

    Bah Marius Tlang is a resident of Umrasong village in the East Jaintia Hills District of Meghalaya. He is a father of ten children – 9 boys and 1 girl. All except his oldest child is not pursuing studies. Before he registered at the EFC, he made a living working by transporting rocks from the mines. He started raising pigs and further got involved in agriculture. Bah Marius’ economic situation before the EFC was quite dire and found it very difficult to fulfill the basic needs of his family.  

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  • Reviving an age- old tradition: Tynnai Handicraft

    Reviving an age- old tradition: Tynnai Handicraft

    Handicraft holds an important place in Meghalaya's traditional, social and economic space. For centuries, handicraft has been the mainstay for creating various household items such as domestic tools and decor, and to a certain extent it continues to be a part of the lives of people especially in the rural communities across the state. Items such as baskets, furniture, beds, floor mats, wood carvings, and flower pots made of bamboo and cane products are some of the highlights of what the communities of Meghalaya are capable of producing.

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  • Smoky Falls Tribe Coffee: Taking Meghalaya’s high quality indigenous coffee to the world

    Smoky Falls Tribe Coffee: Taking Meghalaya’s high quality indigenous coffee to the world

    Meghalaya, with its altitudes of over 4,000 feet above sea level across many places and a unique climate, has been producing some of the most distinctive high quality coffee in the country. Commercial plantation of coffee is relatively new and limited in Meghalaya and dates back to 1954 when coffee gardens were first established by the Soil and Water Conservation (S&WC) Department at Umling in Ri-Bhoi district, Lumshnong in East Jaintia Hills district, and Tura in West Garo Hills district. Today, it is grown in 6 districts across the state, covering a total area of approximately 300 hectares with an estimated yield of 200 metric tonnes in 2016-17.

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  • Kriseni Marak-- Building an enterprise on Flowers in North Garo Hills District

    Kriseni Marak-- Building an enterprise on Flowers in North Garo Hills District

    Kreseni Marak is an entrepreneur from Gokulgre village which is located in Resubelpara Block of North Garo Hills District. North Garo Hills is a relatively new District that was created only in 2012. Its economy is mostly agrarian or rural based and horticulture is a key sector where most people are engaged in. In the past, North Garo Hills has had to grapple with various developmental challenges including inadequate road connectivity, lack of proper communication facilities and poor access to good medical services. However, despite these challenges, Kreseni has been able to work her way into becoming a very successful entrepreneur in her district.

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  • The success story of Layland Marak who pioneered Aloe Vera Processing in Garo Hills

    The success story of Layland Marak who pioneered Aloe Vera Processing in Garo Hills

    Shri Layland Marak is an entrepreneur from Ganolgre village under the Rongram Community and Rural Development (C&RD) Block, West Garo Hills, who is engaged in a unique business of processing and sale of Aloe Vera products through a Self Help Group (SHG) named Chizingjang. Aloe vera is a tropical plant which is widely known for the range of health benefits it offers. Layland is considered a pioneer by the people of his village and is attributed to be the driving force behind the Chizingjang SHG and its aloe vera business. Many vouched by his excellent leadership skills and praised him for his commitment and contributions towards the development and transformation of Ganolgre. Today, his efforts have taken the SHG to new heights and he hopes to create more opportunities to support his fellow community members so they too can achieve their dreams.

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  • The story of Kong Sketina and ‘Nongrwe Iamonlang’-- A ray of hope in West Khasi Hills, Meghalaya

    Nonglwai is a small village located in West Khasi Hills District, 16 kilometres from the district headquarter, Nongstoin. Having 126 households with a population of 887 people, agriculture and livestock rearing are the main livelihood activities of the people of the village. Due to meager income from these activities, people still rely on the traditional barter system to engage labour for their farms in exchange for goods and services. Life is tough for many residents of Nonglwai.

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  • Of Trials and Errors-- The story of Bindaram Momin, an apiculture farmer from Meghalaya’s North Garo Hills District

    Bindaram Momin is an apiculture farmer, well known for making honey in Chitchotcheng a village in North Garo Hills district of Meghalaya. His honey is popular amongst the locals and this is presently his primary source of income. But back in 2006 he had spent most of his time on his paddy fields, making a meager living by growing and selling paddy. His two daughters along with his three sons helped at home by collecting firewood from the nearby forests while his wife spent most of her time in the kitchen.

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  • How a group of individuals are sustainably reviving a nearly 300-yr-old village in Jaintia Hills

    Ryntihlang CLF-- Agents of Change

    Every village in Meghalaya has stories of individuals or groups who have gone out of their way to bring about significant change. Travelling around Meghalaya, it is not uncommon for one to hear tales of community members who have worked tirelessly for local development and to improve the lives of people in their communities. The Integrated Basin Development and Livelihoods Promotion Programme (IBDLP) aims to nurture such change makers across Meghalaya and help them in their efforts to transform their local communities. Here we present the story of the Ryntihlang Cluster Level Federation under Cham Cham village cluster, a stellar example of how a group of individuals has been to come together to effect significant social and economic change at the local level.

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