Interview of Manil Joshua, CEO, Founder Member SEDS NGO Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh

 

Interview Manil Joshua SEDS Anantapur

1.       What are the rural development initiatives undertaken by SEDS? 

·         Afforestation

·         Vocational Training Programme

·         Food for work programme

·         Self Help Groups for women

·         Water shed programme

·         Dry land horticulture and reforestation

·         Natural Resources Management

·         Safe Drinking Water & Repair of Hand pumps

·         Health and Sanitation Programme

·         Flood relief programme

·         Fish Fingerlings

·         Balwadi Centres

·         Kitchen Gardens

·         Plantation

·         Land and Agricultural Development programme

·         Community organisation

·         Old people programme

·         Sustainable Agriculture

·         Tank Desilting

·         Child Sponsorship programme

·         Education

·         Biogas

·         Low Carbon Farming

 

2.       How many women have benefited from SEDS’s gender initiatives? What are the gender interventions?

 

·         About 40,000

·         SHG’s, Biogas programmes, Vocational Training programme and watershed

 

3.       How many watersheds have been developed by SEDS? What is the approximate catchment area for these watersheds?

 

·         22 water sheds and 27170 sha of catchment area

 

4.       How much area of rural afforestation has been undertaken by SEDS? What are the kinds of usufruct trees planted up by SEDS in these areas?

 

·         45000 hectares

·         Tamarind, Neem, Pongamia, Glyricidia, Erythrina, Mango, Guava, Bher, Acacia, Aurcliformis, Badam, Coconut, Sapota, Jamoon, Custard Apple, Palmyra, Flous, Stylosanthus hamata, Eucalyptus, Casu Rina, Pithacas, Toddy, Khus Khus, Bogenvella, Alovera, Marri, Cassia Siama, Tecoma, Jamlam etc..

 

 

5.       Any agroforestry initiatives / interventions? If yes details of acreage, kinds of trees, number of employees and beneficiaries. Any soil conservation measures undertaken?

 

·         Counter trenching, Bunding, pitting, bund plantation and Horticulture plantation

·         45000 hectares

·         Neem, glyricidia, accasia, Pongamia, Erythrina, Mango, Guava, Bher, Acacia, Aurcliformis, Badam, Coconut, Sapota, Jamoon, Custard Apple, Palmyra, , Stylosanthus hamata, Eucalyptus. Casuarinas etc.

·         30 employees and approx. 2500 beneficiaries

·         Counter bunding, check dams, gully checks, spill ways etc..

 

6.       For how long has SEDS been active in these areas?

 

·         40 years

 

7. Please explain in simple language how SEDS played a critical role in replenishing ground water table in desertified Anantapur. How long did it take to replenish ground water table? What methods helped in this ground water replenishment?

 ·         As Anantapur is the second most drought prone area in India and much of its natural resources are depleted, it soon became clear that environmental problems would have to be tackled first, if peoples’ livelihoods were to be made sustainable. Starting in 10 villages near the small town of Penukonda a scheme of pioneering work was developed which aimed to empower local communities and improve their environment. Initially small nurseries were started for homestead plantations and planting of avenue trees along village roads. Re-a-forestation and more sustainable agricultural practices were introduced. From 1990, SEDS started using a more participatory approach, through the formation of Community Based Organizations. Involving the communities more in the effort made them actual stakeholders in the development process of the region. Throughout the years the scope and area of the work increased and the fruits of the sustained efforts became visible in the greener environment and the enthusiasm of the communities.


 ·         Natural Resource Management, especially watershed management, was the first initiative that SEDS was involved in. Anantpur was the second-most drought prone area in the country. Barren land and loose topsoil made growing crops a very difficult task. The first task was to conserve the little rain that the land received. At first, trenches were dug at the base of hills where it had been observed that rainwater washed down.

 

 

·         Gradually, vegetation began to grow around the perimeter of these check dams. More check dams were built and the groundwater levels began to rise. With more water, local varieties of vegetation were introduced to bind and preserve the topsoil. With better topsoil, the crop yield improved.

 

 

 

8.       Please profile the SEDS’s interventions in the fields of agroforestry, menstrual hygiene gender perspectives, rural education, soil conservation and restoration of soil nutrition / restoration of sweet water and treatment of brackish water in the ground water table if any…

 

·         Food for work programme, Watershed management, Community Organisation, SHG, Child Sponsorship programme and plantation programme

·         Hand pumps and Bore wells Drilling and repair, Safe drinking water programme

 

 

9.       Any interventions in dry land farming and micro finance? If yes please put in a nutshell. And connect me to the beneficiaries in all fields / interventions as I need loads of voices / quotes.

 

·         Pot irrigation, Drip irrigation, Mulching, water storage ponds, water harvesting ponds etc.

·         Beneficiary details are not available

 

10.   Ecological benefits of watershed management, rain water harvesting, ground water replenishment for man and beast.

 

·         Ground water level and soil fertility increased, cultivation area increased, Forestry developed, livestock increased and Natural resources developed etc. Drinking water trough sunder drought relief work was taken up

 

11.   Any interventions in livestock farming and poultry? Microfinance in this area? Please network me with beneficiaries.

 

·         Ram lamb programme, Giri raja chickens distribution for SHG’s

·         Finance to the SHG groups for the Milch animals

 

12.   Dry land farming and millet / lentil farming for rural populace of Anantapur? Beneficiaries?

 

·         Approx. 2500 acres of dry land farming was done

·         Foxtail millet was promoted on a large scale

·         Beneficiaries data not available

 

13.   How many people were employed in watershed management and how many have benefitted? Statistics and contact details of beneficiaries please.

 

·         300 members and 50000 beneficiaries


Interviewed by Malini Shankar Director Digital Discourse Foundation 

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