Women from the SHGs have become a strong force to reckon with as is evident from their interactions with the local administration and law enforcement officials. They also command respect in their villages as they have been instrumental in organizing campaigns against social ills. This force needs to be properly utilized to bring about all-round development among the more marginalized communities of the society and that is precisely what this project aims at accomplishing. Volunteers will be trained to monitor the status of maternal and child health with special focus on pregnant women and children under the age of 5 yrs. Commencement of rural enterprises will be encouraged with the money saved through the savings group. Skill training and marketing linkages will be provided for enthusiastic enterpreneurs. Destitute women will be given shelter and they will be trained will skills so they can stand only their own legs. A campaign will also be organized to bring justice to these women through the existing governmental and non-governmental frameworks.
All of these activities are only possible with the availability of strong leadership among the SHG women. Suitable candidates will be identified and their leadership qualities will be honed. In addition, the weekly SHG meetings will act as a vehicle of generating awareness regarding issues of concern to the women, the village and the rural society as a whole.
During past activities of Abhijaan involving organic farming training, around 38 KMs have been formed. These KMs will be setting up seed banks where a portion of the seeds will stored away during each harvest for use in the next harvest. During this proposal, Abhijaan will be providing the KMs with the initial seeds for the seed banks. In addition, the organic farming training will be continued at the 3-acre demonstration farm that Abhijaan will be using to showcase various organic farming and other agricultural techniques. The fertilizers for this farm are made (through various techniques such as composting) from manure from the accompanying demonstration dairy. This is of great importance since the farmers are finding their lands degraded through the extensive use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. 2-3 farmers from each KM will be imparted training on various agricultural techniques.
These activities will be supplemented by the encouragement of home gardening and community kitchen gardening. In addition, new agricultural produce such as mushroom cultivation, honey, etc. will be encouraged in order to increase the income generation capacity of the agricultural activities. Central to these activities is motivating the village youth towards agriculture and agro-based enterpreneurship. This will help reduce the flow of work force from villages to cities, thus strengthening the rural economies.
Finally, sishu manchs (SMs) are being formed with school-going children to educate them on the importance of science and generate awareness towards local environmental issues. Nature clubs will be organized where activities will be undertaken to preserve the local eco-systems.