The name Bundelkhand may bring to mind the famous Bollywood historical bio-pic “Bajirao Mastani”, where Mastani was born to Bundelkhand’s Maharaja. But what is less known is that the 13 districts of Bundelkhand (seven in Uttar Pradesh and six in Madhya Pradesh) are among India’s 200 most backward districts list. Eighty percent of the people here depend on agriculture and livestock rearing for their livelihood. Bundelkhand has been affected by severe drought for several years, so much so that the farmers have become day laborers and struggle to get enough food for their own families. What is startling is that many farmers in these villages have not been able to take up sowing at all. A survey of 132 villages by Parmarth Samaj Sevi Sanstha points at widespread loss of crops due to drought. This has affected lives of farmers in various villages in the area and increased the number of deaths and farmer suicides.
Problems Faced by Farmers
- Heavy burden of loans
- Crop failure due to drought, un-seasonal rain & hailstorm
- Lack of access to farming schemes and programs
- No knowledge of best practices in soil & water management
- Poor and marginalized families are not able to purchase vegetables, pulses, fruits and other nutritious food for consumption due to increasing prices of these items in market.
- Deteriorating health due to lack of nutritious food
With the help of grants from Asia Initiatives and Healing Lives and the dedicated work of our on the ground partner Parmarth Samajh Sevi Sansthan [PSSS], SIF has initiated various programs to improve the health of farmers and their families, make them self-reliant for their food needs, encourage economic saving schemes and promote awareness on hygiene and nutrition. Our projects in Bundelkhand include:
- Community Kitchens
- Health Camps
- Kitchen Gardens
- Self Help Groups
- Drought Relief
Asia Initiatives : 42 villages of Madhowgarh & Rampura Block of Jalon district
Healing Lives : 5 villages in
Villages: 1.Nandanpur 2.Koriya 3.Nadiya 4.Vangayn 5.Kanti
In August 2016, Parmarth, with support from Save Indian Farmers established community kitchens in 3 villages – Panchampura, Kaudia & Jagatnagar of Jatara Block of Tikamagarh of Madhya Pradesh. Grains, flour vegetables, oil and spices were provided at these community kitchens through SIF, and the villagers gathered to cook and eat together twice a day. Processes for running and managing the community kitchen were setup such that community members work in the preparation of meal as well as managing the fuel wood.
After a prolonged phase of hunger and malnutrition, the balanced diet served has had a pronounced impact on their BMI and overall well-being. Coming together as a community also strengthened their ties and sense of belonging in difficult times.
|Sr. No||Village||Start date||Till date||Beneficiaries|
The aim of the health camps is to promote wellness-seeking behavior in the long term and build awareness regarding healthy habits, waterborne diseases, common ailments, TB, HIV/AIDS, family planning, nutrition, hygiene and sanitation. The focus is to improve awareness, provide health services and encourage community members to utilize the resources available to them.
- To provide services to meet the immediate health care needs of the marginalized groups
- To offer comprehensive health services – curative as well as preventative
- To strengthen public health care system and mobilize support in conduct of health camp programme
Reproductive health education sessions are organized where members are made aware of several reproductive health issues like, immunization, diet of pregnant women, antenatal care, post-antenatal care, etc. with various chart posters, modules of reproductive health education to sensitize targeted community. Those sessions were conducted by female health workers from ANM, ICDS & Asha. Diet charts were also prepared for pregnant women. 124 women and adolescent girls attended these sessions.
Self Help Groups
To strengthen the economic & social condition of women from the vulnerable communities of Project Area, Parmarth facilitated the formation and strengthening of Women Self Help Groups.
During SHG meetings, members discussed monthly savings and inter loaning, family health, nutrition and reproductive health issues. They also discussed social security related Government Schemes and the processes to get benefits from those schemes. Some members are regularly taking initiatives to receive benefits from those schemes for themselves and for their neighbors by raising issues in gram panchayat meetings and interacting with village level government service providers.
April – May 2017: During this reporting period, 3 New SHGs were formed. Total 33 SHG groups with 378 members are formed till now by the intervention of the project. Bank Accounts for 5 SHGs are opened in this reporting period. SHGs’ group meeting are organized on monthly basis. In the period of two months, 63 meetings were organized in which 613 members participated. The total savings of SHGs in this reporting period was 30,410 INR and total year to date savings of SHG is 72,990 INR.
July 2017: During this reporting period, a total of 18 Self Help Group meetings have been organized with participation from 284 women members. During these monthly meetings the total savings of all SHGs have been reported as Rs. 14250/-. Also 7 New SHG has been formed with the membership of 70 women.
August 2017: During this reporting period, a total of 28 SHG meetings were conducted in 28 villages with participation from 267 women members. A total of Rs.14050 was saved by these SHG groups. Bank accounts were opened in Allahabad UP Grameen Bank for three SHGs (one SHG from Asahana Village, one from Tor village and 1 from Maharajpura village). Also, 7 new SHGs with 22 women total were formed in 2 villages.
Nutritious food intake is needed for healthy lives but economic status of the families act as hurdle in accessing nutritious food in their regular diet. For many years, the Bundelkhand region has become synonymous with drought and disaster. Poor and marginalized families do not enjoy nutritious food intake due to year-long food insecurity.
In February 2017, Asia Initiatives approved a grant for a Social Capital Credits (SoCCs) kitchen garden project in 6 locations in Jaluan district of Bundelkhand to benefit 1200 women directly and a larger population of each area indirectly. Parmarth recruited one project coordinator and one nutritionist, and Social Capital Credits training was provided to them. By April 2017, 13 community kitchens were established, and a supervisor was recruited to monitor and document the progress.
Our major goals for promotion of Kitchen Gardens are:
- To ensure access to nutritious food intake in families
- To increase the income level of families
- To promote measures of water use efficiency through kitchen garden
- To provide a healthy, comfortable and beautiful environment
- Safe recycling and management of household wastes through composting or as animal feed as well as by utilizing waste water.
Benefits of Kitchen Garden
- Income and enhanced rural employment through additional or off-season production
- Increased availability of food and better nutrition through food diversity
- Environmental benefits from recycling water and waste nutrients, controlling shade, dust and erosion, and maintaining or increasing local biodiversity.
- Enhanced Health & nutrition status of targeted families
- Enhanced Economic status of women members
- Reduced Incidents of malnutrition and anemia among infants, adolescents & women
- Check on water logging problems in villages.
April-May 2017: In order to enhance nutritional status of the communities, green vegetables are made available in their regular diet by promoting self-made community kitchen gardens. Waste water from water sources and houses are purified using jute filters and utilized for irrigation in these gardens. During this reporting period, 6 new kitchen gardens were established and 32 previous kitchen gardens were maintained. Bio fertilizers and IPM Methods like Amrit Pani and Jiva amrit are used. Seasonal vegetables like Pumpkin, Guard, Chilly, Tomato, brinjal etc. were produced. Around 1088 kg production was gained in a month. 16 SHG Members are earning around 600 rupees per month from kitchen garden by selling vegetables.
July 2017: 04 new kitchen gardens were established in 3 villages i.e. Haidalpura, Teehar and Ramhetpura. In these 4 kitchen gardens, sowing of spinach, Coriander, Ridge Guard, Lady finger, Sugar beets and radish was done. While establishing kitchen gardens, the focus is on Amrut Mitti (nutrient-rich soil), which has abundant and diverse microbial life to support healthy plant growth. It is simple and inexpensive to prepare using kitchen waste and cow dung, and gives effective results.
August 2017: During this period, 6 new Kitchen Gardens were established in Maharajpura, Kanar, Dhamna and Himmatpura villages of project area. Plants of spinach, coriander, tomato, chilly, brinjal were sown in these kitchen gardens. Residents were sensitized and motivated towards using domestic waste water as well as organic manure for good quality vegetables in their respective kitchen gardens. A follow-up was done of the 30 kitchen gardens in 16 villages of project area to ensure proper implementation and maintenance.
Total 38 Kitchen Garden were established by the project affecting 274 beneficiaries.
30th Apr 2017: A village Cleaning campaign was conducted in the villages of Soneypura, Damna and Tihar on the eve of International Labor Day (01 May 2017). Around 120 people from these communities participated in cleaning public places as well as sources of drinking water like hand pumps & wells and traditional water bodies like ponds. During the campaign, 16 hand pumps and 2 ponds were cleaned, apart from the grounds of primary schools. The villagers decided to repeat this activity every month through labor contribution.
21st July 2017 : On the occasion of Groundwater Week, an awareness rally was organized and an awareness session conducted for school children to sensitize the village community to protect ground water through rain water conservation. 84 children participated in this event, and sapling plantation was done outside primary school premises.