Women’s Self Help Groups

Pitchandikulam Bio-Resource Centre (PBRC) is working with twenty-seven women’s self help groups (SHGs) within the Kazhuveli bioregion and along the Coromandel Coast.

These groups allow women to have a safe space to address pressing issues, to attend useful training sessions and to take an active role in the development of the community.

The groups frequently come to visit to both Pitchandikulam and the Nadukuppam Environmental Education Centre, where they can see examples of medicinal herbal gardens, organic agricultural production, indigenous forests, nurseries, alternative energy in action and spirulina production, as well as a number of other resource materials and displays.

A major component of our work with these groups involves providing training and setting up income generation projects that the women can develop in their own villages. Training workshops are conducted for each group in the areas of:

  1. Organic farming principles
  2. Tropical Dry Evergreen Forest (TDEF)
  3. Vermicompost production
  4. EM (effective micro-organisms)
  5. Integrated pest management
  6. SRI (system of rice intensification)
  7. Nursery training
  8. Spirulina production
  9. Tailoring
  10. Compressed earth block production
  11. Medicinal plants – herbal medicine preparation
  12. Health and hygiene
  13. Nutritional awareness
  14. Family planning and child care awareness
  15. Micro-finance initiatives
  16. Income Generation Projects (IGP)
  17. Women’s empowerment

Many of these groups establish kitchen herbal gardens and use herbal plants for medicine preparation after attending these workshops. As a result of receiving training in these groups, community members are beginning to utilise organic farming methods on their own land and to grow crops with success. Plantation of TDEF species in their villages and setting up indigenous nurseries as income-generating activities help to conserve the biodiversity of the region.

Pitchandikulam helps these groups to access government and micro-credit schemes which are of great benefit to SHGs and communities in general. Through careful monitoring and training, Pitchandikulam staff ensure that the internal administration of the groups is well maintained and any issues are quickly addressed. Women also participate in workshops on bookkeeping, leadership and team building. Frequent meetings and evaluation by staff help to sustain these groups.

A Women’s Centre has been recently constructed at Nadukuppam Field, which enables woman’s SHGs to meet independently in a safe, stimulating environment. It provides them with the opportunity to expand their horizons and interact with other women and sections of the community – as well as being a hub of information and knowledge. The Centre and its activities encourage women to implement sustainable practices in the village and farming community.

To see more information about our Rural Women’s Enterprises, please click here.