Women Protect Land & Promote Self-Reliance, India

by Manavi

With the support of GlobalGiving donors, Manavi has been able to reach out to many women.

243 self-help groups (SHGs) have been formed in 17 village districts, with a total of over 5,000 women members. The women meet weekly to discuss issues affecting them and to turn in their weekly savings quota of approximately US $0.15. The savings can be withdrawn at any time and serves as an emergency fund when needed. They take out loans to support their farming and other related income-generating activities, which they pay back to the group.

The women receive training on organic farming and seed saving. The idea of worm compost has been very successful and communities gradually understand the importance of compost better with time. As a result the demand for building worm composting pits is increasing quite a lot. To meet this growing demand some banks have agreed to provide soft loans to the farmers for the construction of bigger compost pits. Farmers are not only creating enough compost to use in their fields, they are selling some too. Additionally the use of organic pesticides has enabled the women to control 60% to 70% of pests.

58 SHGs have been linked with different banks. Normally it takes six months to consolidate a formal relationship between an SHG and a bank. After six months of bank transactions, these groups are eligible for bank loans or other kinds of assistance.

25 SHGs have been able to mobilize financial supports from banks and Manavi, with a total investment capital of over US $16,000. Most of these groups have invested in activities related with agriculture, animal husbandry, trading of locally consumable items such as fishery, vegetables, fruits etc.

Federations of SHGs have been initiated in more than 10 districts. We are encouraging the federations to take up issues like atrocities perpetrated on women and adolescents, dowry cases, health & education related issues, and other village and district-level development projects.

Thank you for your support.

The seed march took place in March 2008 and covered six states of northern India: Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chattishgarh and Rajasthan. The march ended at Rajghat, New Delhi.

Throughout the seed march meetings with farmers, laborers, school and college students, agriculture scientists, political leaders, government officials and media were organized, engaging more people to this cause. During the meetings more than 50,000 farmers wrote letters to the government, depicting the harsh realities they face.

In addition, exchanges of traditional seeds were carried out. Manavi made efforts to exchange at least 9 local varieties of seeds. At the same time, Manavi exchanged information on the best practices that are adopted by local farmers.

In January 2008, Manavi staff traveled to Dehradoon to train farmers from Patori on preserving traditional varieties of seeds. In addition, Manavi, together with the farmers, are finalizing an action plan to carry out a seed collection march in six states, which will be organized in March 2008.

A large multinational company is planning to acquire land belonging to tribal community members and as a result, will displace them from their villages. Tribal members of more than 20 villages will be displaced without any proper compensation. Therefore they are organizing themselves to protest this action.


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Organization Information


Location: Dhumka, Jharkand - India
Website: http:/​/​www.idex.org/​partner.php?partner_id=5
Project Leader:
Katherine Zavala
Program Officer, IDEX
San Francisco, CA United States

Funded Project!

Thanks to 20 donors like you, a total of $2,475 was raised for this project on GlobalGiving. Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.

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