Andhra Pradesh and Orissa states are the most backward states in India. Nearly 22% of the population of the states is tribals, whose position is probably the worst in the entire country. Ecological degradation, erratic rainfall and a high risk of drought in the area have resulted in food insecurity, increasing out-migration and periodic deaths from starvation. Ecological imbalance is now seriously undermining the livelihood patterns and increasing vulnerability. A small land base, low agricultural productivity and low incomes have led to rising indebtedness, trapping tribals into a vicious circle of exploitation. The life of the tribals is increasingly vulnerable due to a persistent lack of assured entitlements to their resource base. Land alienation has deprived them of their land; forest legislation has turned them into encroachers on land they have always used; and they have also been disproportionately affected by displacement due to mining operations, irrigation projects, wildlife sanctuaries, etc. These have led to social discontent and unrest which provide fertile ground for extremist activities which only more meaningful development of the tribal areas can combat.
To ensure that the livelihoods and food security of poor tribal households are sustainably improved through promoting a more efficient, equitable, self-managed and sustainable exploitation of the natural resources at their disposal. To achieve this, Holy Cross Social Service Society has implemented several programmes with an objective of enhancing and enabling the Adhivasies in regards to develop their quality of life and livelihood to ensure the food security in a sustainable approach.
Project 1 : TRIBAL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMM THROUGH SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURAL PRACTICES:
More than 80% of rural population in Andhra Pradesh depends on agriculture. But due to lack of knowledge, care and skills, the agriculture is not giving good yields/results. Hence, people are migrating to coastal areas or to the cities. In other hand, by using more chemical fertilizers and pesticides the agricultural lands day by day loose its fertility and after some years, become barren and it will not be suitable for cultivation. Chemicals are not only affecting land but also to the water, atmosphere, birds, animals which are eco friendly to the agriculture.
Until the natural resources are conserved / protected the situation in the villages is not improved. The farmers need to revive the situation and should create positive atmosphere to agriculture for which farmers are required needed knowledge and skills. Hence, Holy Cross implemented agricultural program for the sustainable development of tribals.
The overall strategy of the Programme focuses on empowering the tribals and enabling them to enhance their food security, increase their incomes and improve their overall quality of life through more efficient natural resource management based on the principles of more productive environmentally sound agricultural practices. This project was funded by IGSSS, New Delhi.
The following activities were organized under this project.
1. FORMATION AND STRENGTHENING OF TRIBAL WOMEN FARMER CLUBS:
During this year, we had been successfully formed 20 tribal women former Clubs with 340 tribal women in 20 villages. Objective of this intervention is to bring all women farmers in to groups for collectiveness, sharing experiences among them and reflect on. Besides of forming Groups, HCSSS has also extended its support by emphasizing the importance of self-reliance, improving the capacities of women formers and maintaining proper records. The members in the group are organizing village meetings for every month and discussing on problems identified in the fields, have been interacting with the department staff such as AEO (Agriculture Extension Officer), Agriculture Officer and field assistants. They have been sharing information pertain to department provisions and measures for different problems emerge out from the fields.
The following topics are discussing in the regular meetings at village level
- Inter sharing among the women
- Sustainable way of farming
- Integrated pest management
- Immediate action on problems
- Latest information pertaining to agriculture
As besides of forming these tribal Women former groups in the villages, HCSSS has empowering these women members through perception of their role in the economy and decision making. General awareness was created on different issues like Land and Forest Acts. Gender sensitization, legal rights of women, prevent atrocities on tribal women etc.
2.TRAINING ON SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE TO WOMEN FORMERS
During this year, major events were held to motivate the tribal women formers on the methods of sustainable Agriculture. Two days training programs on Sustainable Agriculture were organized at our target villages in Bhamini Mandal. For these trainings 100 women farmers were selected from 20 project villages. The women formers were motivated for about the low cost technology used for the higher and sustainable yield from their agricultural plots. The topics covered by the resource persons during the training programs are:
- Non Pest Management
- Organic farming-Vermi compost
- Water management
- Integrated Pest management
- Crop – water management
All these trained women farmers were gained sufficient knowledge about intercropping, crop rotation and the usage of bio-fertilizers replacement of chemical fertilizers. In the valedictory session, all the participants were expressed that this training has given rich experience to them about these methods for sustainable agriculture.
3.TRAINING ON LEADERSHIP TO MEBMERS OF CBO’S:
HCSSS has organized two days trainings for 100 members of CBO’s on Leadership & Group Management at our target villages. All the importantant issues were discussed that related to their group activities and other local issues during these trainings.
The topics covered by the resource persons during the training programs are:
- Development of Leadership qualities ( The qualities of good leader should have managing the group activities)
- Decision making: The systems and procedures followed by the groups and review of it.
- Conflict resolution: In group functioning, Mechanism and leadership in managing the conflict.
- Savings and credit functions: Calculation of interest on savings, internal loans, repayment, period fixations etc.
- Secretarial aspects: In maintaining the records, accounts, minutes of meetings and managing other secretarial work of the groups.
- Group Approach: To sustain and improve quality of life.
4.TRAINING ON ORGANIC FORMING TO WOMEN FORMERS
The tribal women farmers are to be motivated for the low cost technology and organic farming method. They use extensive chemical fertilizers to reap a high yield for the present and unaware of the future consequences like soil fertility damage, air and water pollution, high investment etc.. For this program 100 women farmers were selected and given two days trainings at our target Villages. The women formers were motivated for the organic farming and cultivate the crops without any chemical fertilizers. The timely monitoring by an agriculture expert from the local will be facilitated as a resource person for the training. Trained women farmers become aware of organic farming and vermiculture technology. All these women farmers were gained sufficient knowledge about the advantages of organic farming practices in their agriculture. In the valedictory session, all the participants were expressed that this training has given rich experience to them about organic faming techniques for sustainable agriculture.
5.LEGAL TRAINING ON LAND AND FOREST TO WOMEN FORMERS
Two days Legal Training programs were organized with 100 tribal women formers at our target villages. The important resource persons were invited for this training programme is Mr. M.Nageswara rao (Retard Forest Ranger), Mr. Ch. Sugrivulu, (Retired Agriculture Officer), Ms. Indira, (Social Worker). The topics covered by the resource persons during the training programme are: land and forest issues like land alienation, deforestation, forest management and to settle the title deeds of the small land which they hold since many years.
All The trained women formers were motivated for about the acts of land and forest and gained the knowledge on the rights over the scheduled area, and their rights.
6.QUARTERLY REVIEW AND PLANNING MEETINGS OF CBOS:
The thrust under this component has been building the capacity of primary stake holders through constitution of different community based organizations and strengthening them with regular hand holding support. Not only developing the preferred skill of individual beneficiaries but also developing them in terms of managing the community based organization and the programme activities. Along with the capacity building of the primary stake holders, sufficient training programmes have been conducted for the secondary stake holders such as the staffs of the NGO.
For the community group the focus trainings and exposures conducted are as follows:
- Concept clarity on the programme
- Institution building
- Roles and responsibilities of each capacity/ entity
- Leadership and Group Management
- Concept of thrift and credit
- Record keeping
- Skill up-gradation for specific land based NRM and other off farm activities
- Sensitization of PRI members at mandla level and other line department officials
We organized exposure trip for 150 women farmers towards gaining knowledge on sustainable agriculture. The team visited the successful interventions of Mr. Applanaidu, Applagraharam Village of Snathakaviti Mandal such as Organic farming, Vermi compost units, natural pest sides and fertilizers and Kitchen Gardens. He is a progressive farmer practicing organic farming with a wealth of experience in sustainable agriculture spanning 10 years.
This type of get together was helped these women farmers to share each and other experiences and gain valuable exposure on organic farming and low cost technology used for the higher and sustainable yield from their agricultural plots etc. that will help them to generate a much better yield and more income. Further visited Sri Vari plot and Ajola at Kondkunkam village of Laveru Madnal. This exposure had helped them to learn and adopt various systems in cultivation.
Project 2: INNOVATIVE INCOME GENERATION SYSTEMS FOR EMPOWERMENT OF TRIBAL WOMEN
The result of the understanding of critical Poverty position led us to go in for mechanisms that will supplement the income of women and their families. Several micro enterprise activities are prompted mainly among women and we have adapted the most popular mechanism available right now in the development field i.e. revolving fund to the tribal women those under a -cute poverty.
Under this project, we had conducted village wise motivation (Grama Sabha) camps where we had identified beneficiaries through personal interaction and organizing meeting with them and asses their need. We have successfully identified 10 landless marginal tribal women from 10 SHG’s and conducted training program to all these beneficiaries on their problems and pre- planned academic exercise. The result of training the beneficiaries has gained self confidence and motivated to work as a Snghas. We have also purchased 10 milk Kettles and distributed to all the 10 beneficiaries as the revolving fund which is recoverable with out interest from them. The impact of the program is that the 10 tribal women created sources of earning money other than the regular systems of that predominately being farming system. This project was funded by DWS, the Netherlands.
Project 3: SUSTAINBLE EMPOWERMENT OF ADOLESCENT GIRLS THROUGH VOCATIONAL TRAINING
With a small step taken towards making Adolescent girls self sufficient, Vocational Training and Education Center was started by Holy Cross at Gajapathinagaram village of Bhamini Mandal to provide training in Tailoring (Fashion Designing) and Computers to adolescent girls from villages in and around Bhamini. Significant progress has been made by Holy Cross in Improving adolescent’s capacities, their nutrition growth and physical skills, knowledge, life skills, livelihood skills and parenting skills through this project.
Our Vocational teachers have provided skills in Tailoring (Fashion Designing) and Computers. This training helps the girls to get some form of income to their families and at the same time learn some form of vocational skill that can help them be more self reliant. The training in Computers helps the girls to become a computer literate so that when they move to higher education they can easily access the computer without any fear and helps the girls to getting self employment. This program has gained them skill training and were much more beneficial for the adolescent girls and many girls started individual units.