The Development Programme of ARUDECS is centred on building sustainable institutions and livelihood opportunities for the tribal communities. The tribal households are dependent mainly on agriculture, forests and livestock for livelihood. But, the declining forest resources, compounded by primitive agriculture practices like shifting cultivation, and mono-cropping have put the agriculture and livestock based livelihoods at risk and led to shrinking water resources. This has largely affected family income leading to rampant migration to nearby towns and cities leaving their productive lands deserted. Also they are cut-off from the mainstream society due to poor roads and communication, health and education and safe drinking water, which do not allow them to absorb technological and financial facilities, being provided by the government.
The Tribal Development initiatives of ARUDECS is designed without compromising on the traditional rights enjoyed by these tribal households on the forest and forest based livelihoods. The livelihood strategies have been evolved as a result of continuous interaction with the tribal households, including tribal farmers, women and youth population in the tribal hinterlands of Ahamalai hills in Theni District, Tamil Nadu.
ARUDECS implements all its interventions through Group/Institution promotion, it also facilitates regular interaction of tribal families in the villages, help them understand needs and priorities of each family, sharing of resources, joint planning and execution of programmes, setting norms for self-regulation. The development framework integrates multiple interventions targeted on a tribal family so as to enable them to overcome their impediments and move out of poverty and vulnerability they have been facing for many years.
The village level organisations promoted by ARUDECS in the tribal villages and their network at the district level work for promoting convergence with the local line departments and other resource institutions for the successful implementation of the development projects. Different types of community organisations promoted by ARUDECS in this region are:
People’s Movements and Community Networks
ARUDECS supported the Bodi and Ahamalai Adivasi Paliyar Federation (BAAPF) that was uniting Paliyan Tribes and building their capacity, knowledge and skills. BAAPF has around 15000 members across 20 settlements. ARUDECS has supported around 400 families to access Family Ration Cards and ID cards which are needed to access benefits from the Tribal Welfare Board.
Bodi and Agamalai Adivasi Youth Sangham
ARUDECS supported a Gandhian youth movement that organized and supported young people to assert their rights. 20 village groups have been formed and 100 young people have been trained in leadership skills and conflict resolution.
Friends of Paliyan Tribes and Western Ghats Forum (FPWG)
This collaborative forum established in 2008 brought together organisations and individuals committed to the conservation of the Western Ghats. The Forum shares and collectively plans conservation initiatives, particularly in relation to climate change mitigation. ARUDECS holds seminars and trainings on reducing deforestation and in March 2019 a two-day environmental awareness campaign on bio-diversity was held involving a fruit tree planting campaign supported by the Ministry of Environment and Forests.
Paliyan Tribal Women SHGs
Community groups or Sangams (SHGs) have been organised in 30 villages with around 350 members. Groups meet regularly to set up savings schemes and to identify common problems and discuss solutions - they then act collectively to represent their problems to appropriate authorities
Village Development Councils and Farmer Interest Groups
For uniting the tribes and empowering them in managing themselves, Village Development Committees have been formed in 10 villages. In addition, Farmers Interest Groups have been created in 6 villages, enabling the tribal farmers to pool their produce/collections together and go for direct marketing of their products to fetch a better income.
The Institutions promoted by ARUDECS work in convergence with the relevant line departments in the district for sustainability. Federation will interface with Panchayat bodies, banks, agriculture, animal husbandry and horticulture departments, Tribal Welfare Department, District Rural Development Agency, Academic and Research stations in the district that are relevant to the Project and for working together on various interventions proposed and for dovetailing of their services, wherever possible.
The Tribal Community Organisations promoted by ARUDECS, by converging with such institutions, access their specialised services related to their livelihood and other civic development needs and get specific welfare schemes and programmes meant for tribal farmers, women and children.
Registered Office: No. 114 Old Colony, Erasakkanayakkanur (Po), Chinnamanur (Via), Uthamapalayam (T.k), Theni Dist, Tamil Nadu Administrative Office: No.2, Dr. Manavalan House, Doctors Association Street, Panorama Nagar, Bodinayakkanur - 625 513, Theni Dt., Tamil Nadu
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