Major Activities from April 2011 to March 2012
Our project is focused on the development of indigenous people by building the capacities of the scheduled tribe community members, mobilizing adivasi communities, campaigning for land/forest rights, networking for constitutional rights, and expanding of organizational development strategies with grass-root level action and with government departments and documentation. During the period, we have addressed many issues and achieved several impacts in our long-term goals.
Community-based awareness programmes on compulsory Education for All Children and reducing school drop-outs among Scheduled Tribe Communities;
Empowerment of Tribal women through promotion of self-help groups and leadership development with the SC/ST welfare departments;
Environment Awareness and conservation of natural resources with school children;
Legal awareness on implementation of Bonded Labour System Abolition Act 1976 and advantages of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act 2005, Forest Rights Act and MFP collection to reduce poverty and village development;
Community-based training programmes for tribal women’s livelihoods development.
Increase in educational awareness among the Adivasi communities in the working villages.
Increase in teacher’s attendance and supporting with cooperation from community participation.
Nearly 75% of the tribal children are regularly attending school.
Child Rights Clubs which focus on the UNCRC are operating in almost every working village.
Linkages with banks are increasing in tribal areas with savings and credit systems in place. Women are gaining confidence, hope, mobility and solidarity.
Various income generation activities are implemented which is providing sustainable income to the tribal families and increased women’s voice in their families because of the regular income sources.
Collection and marketing of non-timber forest products is implemented in 27 areas in four states.
Tribal movements are formed and they are now advocating with welfare and other departments for economic development and participation in the Collector and MLA offices.
Integrated tribal economic activities with government departments and conducted awareness on tribal farming systems, using natural fertilizers for agriculture and regeneration of community-based ecological conservation for challenging poverty, activated people’s action against land alienation, migration and industrial pollution to secure sustainable economic activities.
Major Activities from April 2012 to March 2013
Awareness Education for ST Communities:-
Organising learning centers in the targeted tribal villages with people’s participation. Running learning centres in all the working villages and improving literacy rate with the implementation of UNCRC for tribal children rights. Apart from daily tuition and studies we give knowledge to the children about the child rights and rights over the environment and through exposure trips.
Integrating government programmes along with our activities through education for all schemes and special importance will be given to girl child rights. Conducting awareness meetings, cultural & sports competitions to the children for the improvement of their talents and promotion of continues formal education.
Special classes for the children on personality development skills and for promotion of youth leaders to address the development issues. Educating the children regarding the climate change and global warming and also motivating them in tree plantations activities to save the resources for the best of future generations. Formation and strengthening of parent teachers associations and promoting every village with 100% literacy and “0%” school drop-outs in line with UNCRC.
Environment Conservation meetings and workshop on Climate Change:-
Creating environmental awareness among the villagers, grass-root level organizations, panchayat raj institutions and the general public; Promoting conservation of nature with community participation by emphasizing on the importance of eco-system for the best of future generations; Strengthening capacities of the community-based organisations, self-help groups, children and youth associations, farmers’ forums in the field on environmental protection and natural resource management for the sustainability of future with eco-friendly world;
Supporting for Biodiversity protection, Ecological balance, Water Resource Management, and encouraging every one participates in conservation of environment and forest resources
Implementing community-based and eco-based employment generation activities and promotion of people’s action to use the environment with sustainable methods;
Leadership Training Programmes:-
We have conducted training programme on leadership qualities and for the importance of rural and tribal leadership in this current socio-economic situation. The meeting was organized in Tirupattur on 23 September 2012 in which about 62 community level leaders attended at the programmes. We talked about the history of leadership skills and various examples of freedom struggle and current political and economic leaders. The members of the training programme was divided into 6 groups and asked them to take role play for different situations as leaders and their dynamics. These participants were asked to perform their role during the emergency situation in their village, during caste/communal violence in their location, during disaster and how they can react, and to such others. The meeting was very useful and followed that we have conducted public meeting on the eve of International human rights day. This was very useful and community leaders motivated to work in their village for the benefit of all the people.
Training on Government Schemes with State Planning Commission and Tribal Welfare Department
State-level first Planning meeting of the Government of Tamilnadu on Tribal Development to improve their economic situation and prevent migration, forced labour, bonded labour and implement alternative livelihoods activities for STs. This was held on August 23-24, 2012, Conference Hall, STATE PLANNING COMMISSION OFFICE, Ezhilagam, Chepauk, Chennai-600 005.
Smt. Shantha Sheela Nair, IAS, Vice-Chairman, State Planning Commission, Government of Tamilnadu, Chennai, Shri. R.Christudos Ghandhi, IAS, Additional Chief Secretary & Development Commissioner, Government of Tamilnadu, Chennai, Smt. M.P. Nirmala, IAS, Secretary to Government, Cooperative, Food and Consumer Protection Department, Government of Tamilnadu, Chennai, Dr. S. Vijayakumar IAS, Commissioner, Rural Development Department, Government of Tamilnadu, Chennai, Shri. P. Sivasankaran IAS, Adi-Dravidar Welfare Department, Government of Tamilnadu, Chennai, Shri. Gridar, Director, Tribal Welfare Department, Government of Tamilnadu, Chennai, Smt. Christopher Nelson I.P.S (Rtd), State Planning Commission, Government of Tamilnadu, Chennai, Dr. K. Krishnan, Executive Director, Foundation for Sustainable Development (FSD),
Tamilnadu, Shri. Fr.K.Kumar, Director, Social-Watch, Tamilnadu, Chennai, Smt. S. Vasanthi, Community Coordinator, Adivasi Solidarity Council, Tamilnadu, Smt. R. Rani, Cultural Team – Head, Dholkattai Cultural Troop, Irula Community, Shri. Venkates, Information Officer, Adivasi Solidarity Council, Tamilnadu, Shri. Maharajan, President, Tamilnadu SC/ST Employees Welfare Association, Joint Directors, and Adivasi Community leaders are actively participated.
Decision and Resolution:
Current situation of Tribal Communities and Dalit communities are discussed with details. The state government analyzed the gaps between development departments and the tribal people. Tribal representatives are presented the socio-economic conditions of the tribal people in Tamilnadu including the issue of prevalence of bonded labour situation even after 66 years of independence. Role of various departments and secretaries are presented and reviewed the performance. The meeting was focused on the schemes and laws that are there for tribal development and what actually feel about the implementation of such schemes and laws.
After, detail discussion, the following decisions and proceedings are taken for further follow-up in presence of all the above participants;
1. The Director of Tribal Welfare Department of the Government of Tamilnadu has to sit with the Krishnan & Team of Adivasi Solidarity Council team members and plan together. During that planning meeting, let the FSD knows what are the government programs for tribal development and similarly, the FSD should present suitable tribal development programmes to the department according to the need of tribal people. Both, the government and tribal groups headed by FSD has to come for a common understanding and jointly work-out strategies for tribal development in Tamilnadu in order to reach the above said purpose.
2. The FSD have to prepare a concept note and plan on alternative livelihoods development activities for the budget of 20 crores (Rupees 200 Million) and submit the concept note and economic activity plan to the Government of Tamilnadu.
3. The Adi-Dravida Department shall help tribal people to buy land and development their economic and agricultural activities and the state can provide support for obtaining land.
4. The Tribal Sub-Plan with the amount of over 300 crores has to be re-worked after detail consultation with the people at the state level in another meeting.
5. There will be another state-level consultation will be organised during October 1st week at the state planning commission and will discuss about the detail action plan for tribal development with the participation of tribal leaders and NGOs. Mr. K. Krishnan of FSD has to make a list of people (NGOs/Adivasi Leaders) who can be invited for that state-level consultation on Tribal development where we will plan on tribal sub-plan projects and ensure that no tribal people will be forced for migration or bonded labour situation.
6. The Rural Development Department will give importance to the tribal’s livelihoods.
7. The state will write letter to all the District Collectors on enforcement of Right to Education Act – provide ST Community Certificates, Bonded Labour Abolition Act – note to including RDOs and implementation of Forest Right Act for tribal land rights and NTFPs.
8. The Addl. Chief Secretary Dr.Christodas Gandhi, will give some ideas and inputs for preparing the concept note and alternative livelihoods that can be implemented by the Tribal Welfare Department for the adivasi people of Tamilnadu.
Major Activities from April 2013 to March 2014
Educational Development of the Tribal Children:-
The Foundation for Sustainable Development (FSD) is playing a distinct and effective role in building-up education in general and particularly for the educational rights of the rural and tribal children with rights perspective. FSD has very long experience in Adult Education Movements and done commendable work for educational development of the rural and tribal communities. In the case of tribal literacy, the campaign on school enrolment for total literacy was started among the villages where FSD is working. About 36 villages are covered under this school enrolment campaign for increasing regular attendance, reducing drop-outs, eradication of child labour, preventing early marriage and promoting compulsory education for all including girl’s literacy by using the Right to Education Act (RTE). This is promoting child rights among the rural and tribal people.
We have organized educational campaign starting from planning meeting with staff members and volunteers, and filed programme with peoples’ leaders, community members, government representatives and other local people are also attended in these meetings. The campaign was given more importance to the girls’ literacy. Community level actions on the importance of total literacy and need of collective action to achieve the goal are given more significance. Community level meetings are organized in the villages of Naickaneri Hills, Jawadhu Hills, Pernambut Block and border areas of Chithoor District with mass meetings along with lots of cultural programme and awareness songs on education and its advantages.
There are several strategies are used for building awareness on education and promotion of child rights. Public meeting with parents, children, youth, self-help group members and with panchayat leaders to discuss the educational status of the rural communities, collective effort to send all the children into schools, distribution of educational awareness materials, and appreciating school-going children etc. As part of the Campaign a team of people from FSD is doing some kinds of events on every day. That is organizing village meetings on literacy movement, meeting school teachers to admit all rural and tribal children, preparing all the children to go to schools, meeting with SSA-Government Staff to give special importance to the rural and tribal children, encouraging parents on education and motivating children to get high score of marks and asking them to obtain scholarships and other activities.
Development of Self-Help Groups for Livelihoods:-
We have promoted an activity for Community-based livelihoods development with tribal women’s participation through formation and promotion of the Self-Help Groups with the involvement of 700 tribal women in Naickaneri Hills.
Majority of tribal women rely on irregular and unstable work such as collection of non-timber forest products, wood cutting, house workers, forest workers, labour in brick-kiln units, construction and agricultural labour, the prospects of personal and financial security and well-being remain unviable. These occupations leave little in the way of personal development and economic stability and leaning them into absolute poverty. Therefore our organization is taking some steps to address poverty issues with collective action of tribal women through income generating strategies, building capacities and facilitating people to challenge poverty. In this process, we have formed about 27 self-help groups (SHGs) in the areas of Naickaneri hills and conducted meetings for these SHGs. The key functions of the SHGs are given below;
1. Development of women’s groups as “Self-Help Groups” in all the villages for promoting mutual support and sharing and collective cooperation to overcome poverty;
2. Involving in small savings and organizing meetings based on monthly or fortnightly and recording minutes of the meetings. Maintaining of various registers such as membership register, resolution registers, savings & credit register, bank books, loan repayment register and others;
3. Paying equal subscription on monthly basis and obtaining loan from banks as per the government procedures and systems;
4. Focusing on Poverty elevation with the support of government loans, schemes and obtaining bank loans and sharing with group members as per the minutes;
5. Obtaining loans from Banks and from the Tamilnadu Government Poverty Eradication Programmes such as the Puduvalvu Society for poverty reduction and involving in different income generation activities for the family development;
6. Participating in women’s rights meetings and women’s right day programmes;
7. Increasing self-help among the women members and support to group members only;
8. Distribution of Revolving Funds for various income generation activities and functioning as per the loan details and repayment as per agreement;
9. Exchanging different Income generation activities to other SHGs and collaboration with Banks, BDOs, and Government Departments.
10. Providing first preference and importance to the money and economic development and not for the human rights and community empowerment.
Through these actions, we are promoting community-based actions to reduce poverty, hunger & starvation and to fight against injustice collectively by involving in small savings and meetings for employment generation activities. We also create awareness through mass meetings and workshops and educating the local community on various poverty eradication schemes of the state government and central government such as the Tribal Sub-Plan, Scheduled Caste Special Component Plan, National Rural Livelihood Mission Project, National Rural Employment Guarantee Act and facilitating the tribal community to utilize such resources for their livelihoods benefits. Promotion of Self-Help Groups for livelihoods development among adivasi communities is helping for overcoming poverty. Activities such as cow rearing, goat rearing, vegetable garden, poultry farm, vegetable shops, small petty shops, provisional stores, herbal garden, firewood sales and others; These activities are undertaken by our SHG members which are supporting for their livelihoods empowerment and reducing poverty in the tribal area with the support of FSD organization.