In the earth quake of January 26, 2001 Saurashtra and Kutch were severely affected. Major rehabilitation and resettlement were needed. During this period we decided to work in Malia (Miana) block of Rajkot district. This area we selected after detailed survey and found to be fairly affected due to the earth quake and home to one of the poorest communities in the state needing immediate attention. The block had been severely affected during the earthquake and falls in Zone 4 of earthquake proneness. Relief and rehabilitation activities (including shelter, livelihood support, and other community asset creation) had been carried out by PVK and other partner NGOs. It is located near the Gulf of Kutch and forms a border to the Little Rann of Kutch. Given such a location, most of the villages in the block face salinity ingress and increasing desertification. Rainfall is erratic and the area falls in the arid zone. While the reconstruction of houses is mostly achieved in the block, there were still many unfulfilled needs of the community that arise from the ecological, socio-economic and political conditions of the block.
We started working with fishing community from 2003 in Malia block. This is traditionally estuarine prawn fishing. We found out that there were major issues related to fisheries sustainability, exploitation of fishing community, threat to fisheries from other activities in the region, lack of facilities like water, health and education. To attend all these problems we formed SHGs of women from the fishing community and after working with them for 2 years on different issues we supported the formation of a fisher women’s co-operative to attend issues related to community. Major activities our organization has carried out with this community are construction of Roof Rain water Harvesting system, Micro-finance for livelihood improvement. As an organization we also learnt a lot from working on fisheries issue. During this time period we came in touch with issues faced by fishing community in Junagadh, Porbandar, Jamnagar, Amreli and Bhavnagar districts of Saurashtra coast of the state.
Gujarat is a very important maritime state in the country. It is also leading capture fish producing state in India. We started discussion with the community regarding the problems and issues faced by them and looking for solutions. The method we have adopted is participatory planning process, where different communities participated in the process. Major issues of these areas are over-fishing, increased number in fishing fleets, lack of technical and scientific education on fishing, Pollution etc. During last 5 year of our work we have been able to create awareness regarding above issues in the community and now our process is concentrated on getting them involved in finding solutions of the problems faced by the community. PVK is working in important fishing areas like Veraval, Mangrol, Porbandar, Sutrapada, Wankabara, Okha in Saurashtra coast. Our activities in these areas are training to active fishermen, discussion with leaders, training to youth and children, training to women involved in fish marketing, linkages with concerned government departments regarding various issues faced by fishing community.