Monday, 30 September 2013

The Journey of Rubbish…in Naddi

This weeks Shenney Fun Club activity was organised by none other than the waste management heroes themselves – the SWASH team – and as expected environmental education and awareness was on the agenda.

More specifically the activity was focused on the different ways we can dispose of our rubbish and what the environmental consequences of each are.

Hence the first activity consisted of creating a big mind map of The Journey of Rubbish as shown in the photo below.

The use of photos also proved to be an effective tool to the mind map to life for the children, though we had a hard time sticking them to the damp blackboard!

This activity was then followed by a short educational music video in Hindi – An Anthem for a Garbage Free India – that the kids loved.

And of course finally what more could we do than to empty the rubbish bins! In theory it was a brilliant plan, however in practice is proved to be much more difficult!


Because most of the older children were absent the muscle power was to come from the interns as we lugged the blue bins all the way to the other end of Naddi.

Surprisingly this proved to be a hit amongst the children, they loved the excursion, especially rolling the barrels back down the hill!

As usual the activity had its ups and downs but all in all it should be considered a success as most importantly the rubbish made it safely to the bin!

By Veronica Noetzli, October 2013

Friday, 30 August 2013

Financial Literacy and Generational Change in India

A survey conducted by MasterCard this spring concluded that financial literacy in India is at the bottom of 16 countries in the Asia-pacific region, with Japan trailing behind in last place. The term financial literacy refers to the basic skills of money management – saving, investment, planning for old age – which according to this survey is severely lacking in Indian society. My financial literacy session last month aimed to raise awareness of such concepts among the women of JDM and Shenney community, as well as informing them of their economic rights and entitlements. There was a large turnout from both communities of women and girls of all ages.

I began by relaying some of the statistics on financial literacy; another survey, this time conducted by Visa, found that 34% of Indian women and 29% of Indian men claimed to have no savings. Similarly, it revealed that 43% of Indian women do not discuss matters of money management with their children, due in large part to their own lack of understanding. It is no surprise that in a society where women are less likely than their male counterparts to engage in paid work, and are therefore not expected to undertake decisions relating to the family budget, they do not educate their children in these matters. My own surveys conducted in July this year revealed much of the same; when asking women in the JDM community whether they had a household budget, many responded that they did, but that their husbands were the sole determinants of how this money was spent.

However, it seems that India’s younger generations are more financially aware than there elders. When I asked how many women owned a bank account, nearly all of the teenage girls raised their hands, whereas none of their mothers did the same. This was a more hopeful finding from both the MasterCard and Visa surveys, suggesting that across both the urban and rural parts of India, financial literacy is on the up. The internet is becoming increasingly accessible to India’s youth, providing information about financial services that was previously unavailable to older generations, and may offer an explanation for these trends.

I then informed the women that their own Self Help Groups fit most of the criteria for a bank loan. The Union Bank of India states that the group must have been in ‘active existence for a least a period of six months’, ‘have undertaken savings and credit operations from its own resources’ and have ‘maintain[ed] proper accounts/records’. Both of the Shenney and JDM treasurer’s had brought along their record books, showing that both groups of women consistently put in their share of 50 rupees a month. It may often seem that commercial banks are disengaged from the agricultural communities of rural India, but schemes like this show that large banks are becoming increasingly aware of the need to support micro-entrepreneurs. The statistics may, at first, look disheartening, but generational change is producing a new cohort of Indians more empowered in matters of financial literacy.

Anna Cooban, UK

JDM Self Help Group Project Manager

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Gardening in Rajhol

It’s only right to start this blog post by thanking the neighbors that made my farm possible. In our small village of Rajol, Himachal Pradesh, farming is the only way of life. There are a few shop owners and restaurant owners, but even they tend their farms after work. The day I started working in my field, all the neighbors came over to see what I was doing and to offer advice and assistance. The neighbor to the back of our house, Ramchander, helped me rent a hand tractor to till the field and sent his son, Teju, to teach me how to use it. The neighbor next door gave me a lesson in Indian fertilizers (khad) used to grow corn (makki). Finally, even the restaurant (dhaba) owner down the street weighed in saying that okra (bhindi) would be my best bet for vegetables to grow in monsoon season. The outcome of all this support: bhindi is my best vegetable crop and the makki I planted continues to grow at a steady rate.
While the growing okra is mutually appreciated crop between my neighbors and myself, the corn is a different story. The debate surrounding khad seems to be unending. My current understanding of this word, “khad,” is that it is the Hindi word for manure or compost. Where my knowledge is lacking is in the chemical make-up of this compost and whether there are artificial and chemical additives in it. My neighbors clearly think that my corn will fail without the khad and I am worried that might be true. However, this is an organic initiative and the benefits of fully organic farming may not be seen in this first experimental phase. The bottom line is, we need to investigate different varieties of khad, see what organic and chemical khad is available and probably apply organic khad in the cornfield.

Moving on from manure, the most interesting part of Indian monsoon farming for me has been the initial field preparation. In monsoon season in India, which generally lasts the months of June, July, and August, heavy rain is a daily expectation. In response to these conditions, farmers employ strategies for diverting water to and from different fields. Corn needs relatively dry soil, whereas rice needs to be submerged in water. Both of these crops are monsoon crops and grow simultaneously. To make this unlikely combination possible, rainwater is diverted from the cornfields through channels and is sent to the tiered rice paddies. These intricately contoured fields hold a consistent depth of one to three inches of water behind short walls surrounding the individual fields. This makes sure that the rice get plenty of water, and that the corn doesn’t drown. Similarly, the vegetables need to be protected by channels. These channels, when dug, elevate the soil level in the planting area slightly above the water level in the channels. Additionally, the soil dug from the channels is put on top of the area to be planted in. Since there is so much rain, the plants still get plenty of water but the roots are protected from being flooded out. Most importantly, however, the channels help to add a cool aesthetic element (water feature) to the garden separating each planting and each individual vegetable.
By Owen Jollie

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Making Healthy Choices... and Fun!

Last week in Naddi, we took over Fun Club (the after school program) in Sheney to teach the kids about what it means to be healthy and making healthy choices. The kids were all enthusiastic as we brainstormed what it meant to be healthy, but they were even more excited when we brainstormed unhealthy things, yelling out their favorite foods - ice cream, lollipops, chocolate! Eventually, we had the kids thinking beyond food and we began to talk about how happiness, work, and friends have to do with being healthy. Next we talked about "choices" and what it means to choose something. With folded paper and color pencils, we drew healthy choices on one side and unhealthy choices on the other - careful to avoid things that we did not have control over, such as the air we breathe or diseases we're born with.

Once the kids were thoroughly antsy, sick of sitting on the ground of the Fun Club room, we herded them outside to play a game about healthy choices. The kids lined up on one side of Sheney, divided into two teams, and we put the brainstorming poster on the other side with a line down the middle, dividing it into a healthy and unhealthy side. I stood in the middle with a stack of homemade cards - healthy or unhealthy choices on each (with an image, an English label, and a Hindi label). The kids had to hop on one foot to me, get a card, hop on the other foot to the poster, and stick the card in the correct column before hopping back to their team and tagging the next person. The relay race began with cheers and yells from both sides. (The kids can always be counted on to get a little competitive!) And as they hopped across the community, women came out of their homes to watch, smiling and laughing as the kids haphazardly jumped from one end to the other. At the end of the race - amid cheering, laughing, and overall confusion about which team actually won - we gathered around the poster to go over the cards. All the kids yelled whether each choice was healthy or unhealthy - vegetables, ice cream, sleep, water, visiting the doctor, visiting the dentist, fighting, going to school, cigarettes, soda, alcohol, many more - and we moved any out-of-place cards into the right column.

As the sun began to set and Fun Club came to a close, I pulled all the kids together outside and we pledged to make at least three healthy choices every day. "What should our healthy choices be today?" I asked. In the middle of the community, we did ten jumping jacks together, shouting the number of each one, choosing exercise for our first choice. Then I handed out lichis, and we stood together, peeling away the rough skin and sucking on the juicy fruit, choosing fruit as a healthy snack for our second choice. "What will be your third?" I asked, and everyone shared what they would do - push-ups, sleep, be nice to their friends, eat dal...

This simple activity may seem unimpressive to an outsider, but it was the first health activity with the kids and we all considered it a great success. Now they are beginning to think about health, what it means to be healthy, and how all the choices they make day-to-day affect their well being. Children are the future of course, and as this generation grows up, we want to ensure that the community will continue to thrive and develop even healthier lifestyles.

Betsy Hinchey
United States of America
Rural HealthCARE Project Manager
March – July 2013

Monday, 27 May 2013

Renewable Energy Workshop for volunteers and interns

Renewable Energy Workshop - Bio-Gas in Himachal - Part 1

As part of the ConservEN program, four of my intern colleagues and I recently participated in a two-day Biogas Workshop aiming to increase basic awareness of biogas plants and their potential as a renewable energy source in Northern India.
On the first day of our workshop, we learned how a biogas plant functions and why it may be a beneficial sustainable energy source for the communities we live in.
A biogas plant produces clean gas through the digestion of cow dung and non-woody biomass waste. The resulting biogas is used as a low-cost fuel for various energy needs. This workshop focused primarily on using biogas for cooking as an alternative to LPG (liquid petroleum gas), a limited environmental resource.
Biogas plant diagram (source:
Biogas plant diagram (source:
Biogas plants provide an extensive list of benefits. The input, most commonly cow dung mixed with water, has high levels of the greenhouse gas methane. After biogas digestion, however, the biogas plant emits the processed cow dung as waste with significantly lower levels of methane. This “waste” product can be used as a nitrogen rich, odorless organic fertilizer full of beneficial bacteria that’s easily absorbed by plants. Therefore, the biogas plant not only provides a sustainable source of cooking fuel, it also supports rural sanitation, organic plant growth, and greenhouse gas reduction.
The Indian Ministry of New and Renewable Energy provides subsidies for biogas plant construction, reducing the 30,000 rupee cost to roughly 20,000 rupees.
Extensive list of biogas benefits (Source: Indian Ministry of New and Renewable Energy)
Extensive list of biogas benefits (Source: Indian Ministry of New and Renewable Energy)
On the second day, we visited several working biogas plants in nearby villages. First, we visited the village of Charhi, where the head of the village, Mr. Dadwal, invited us into his home to study his biogas digester. 
Mr. Dadwal’s resilient biogas plant built into the ground.
Mr. Dadwal’s resilient biogas plant built into the ground.
This biogas plant was built 20 years ago for a cost of approximately five thousand rupees (roughly 100 US dollars), which was quite an important amount at the time. The biogas plant features an aboveground input tank to insert the dung mixture, connected to the underground concrete reservoir where anaerobic process occurs and produces the gas. The waste outlet expels the processed dung as pressure builds. They feed the biogas plant roughly five kg of cow dung each day from their one cow, producing two-three hours of biogas cooking fuel daily. The family uses up to two cylinders of biogas per month due to the reception of many guests, which is linked to the position as head of the village of the father.
The Biogas Workshop participants. From left to right in foreground: Gulshan (cultural liaison officer, far left), interns- Clement, Aureline, Katrina, Mandy and Adrien
The Biogas Workshop participants. From left to right in foreground: Gulshan (cultural liaison officer, far left), interns- Clement, Aureline, Katrina, Mandy and Adrien
The second visit took us to Mr. and Mrs. Shamsher’s home, near the EduCARE intern house in Maiti. Like Mr. Dadwal’s family, this family has an important role in the community as current village committee members.
Mrs. Shamsher kindly demonstrated how to use their 18-year-old biogas plant, a similar model to the plant in Charhi.
She mixed the dung in the inlet reservoir with water.
First, Mrs. Samsher added water to the dung in the inlet reservoir.
Then, she mixed the dung and water together and removed the stone that allows the mixture to enter the reservoir where anaerobic digestion occurs.
Then, she mixed the dung and water together and removed the stone that allows the mixture to enter the reservoir where anaerobic digestion occurs.
On the top of the concrete biogas reservoir, she opened a valve that released the gas into the gas line. Here you can see the gas line carried through the trees to their kitchen.
On the top of the concrete biogas reservoir, she opened a valve that released the gas into the gas line. Here you can see the gas line carried through the trees to their kitchen.
She also welcomed us into her kitchen where she uses three sources of energy for cooking: wood, biogas and LPG. According to her experience, the biogas flame is slightly weaker compared to the LPG and provides the slower heat best suited for cooking chapatti bread and vegetables. She uses the biogas for 75% of their cooking, up to 2-3 hours per day, with dung supplied from their three cows. One supplemental cylinder of LPG now lasts her 3-4 months. During the winter, she uses the stove more often because of the heat it provides to her home.
Her three energy sources for cooking (biogas, wood stove, and LPG) increases her self-reliance if biogas supply is low.
Her three energy sources for cooking (biogas, wood stove, and LPG) increases her self-reliance if biogas supply is low.
After visiting these two biogas digesters, we visited Mr. Ramesh’s Nirmayam Trust Organic Farm close to Maiti.
The farm applies organic farming, permaculture, and natural farming principles by growing several kinds of plants in the same area. This creates resistance to pests by increasing biodiversity.
The farm applies organic farming, permaculture, and natural farming principles by growing several kinds of plants in the same area. This creates resistance to pests by increasing biodiversity.
Natural building made of stone and clay plaster with a roof made of slate rock. Although concrete is becoming more popular, this style of natural building is still common in the local villages.
Natural building made of stone and clay plaster with a roof made of slate rock. Although concrete is becoming more popular, this style of natural building is still common in the local villages.
The farm holds up to ten cattle in the barn, but they aren’t currently processing the dung for energy use. This is a good example of the biogas plant potential in the area as biomass/dung is readily available.
Finally, we visited Dr. Anjan Kumar Kalia in Dharamshala at his renewable energy shop and information center. As a retired professor of Palampur Agricultural University, Dr. Kalia is a leading expert in biogas processes in India and has travelled extensively around the world to present his works in several environmental conferences.
Dr. Kalia’s renewable energy center displays and sells a wide array of sustainable energy options.
Dr. Kalia’s renewable energy center displays and sells a wide array of sustainable energy options.
He provided us with valuable, relevant information from his research on the current biogas use in India.
His statistical highlights focus on the state of Himachal Pradesh, where half of the ConservEN and EduCARE interns currently work:
  • Cattle to human ratio = nearly 1:1
  • Dung from these cows could fuel 319,482 biogas plants
  • 319,482 biogas plants = domestic energy needs of 1.24 million people
  • 45,000 biogas plants currently installed = only 14% of potential
  • Carbon credit can be sold by rural villagers with biogas plants to the International Carbon Market for reducing methane gas production
Dr. Kalia also provided us with advice and guidance on how to fix the issues Adrien encountered with his ambitious homemade biogas plant.
Dr. Kalia also provided us with advice and guidance on how to fix the issues Adrien encountered with his ambitious homemade biogas plant.
After two days of workshop training, we gained a deeper awareness of biogas production. Most importantly, we began to process and discuss the potential of biogas usage in the communities around our centers in Himachal Pradesh and Punjab.
Next, we plan to develop Adrien’s model of a biogas plant and gather additional knowledge on our communities’ need and interest in relation to biogas use. We’re excited to share our experience and knowledge at our REstore office, to open in the next month or two.

by Adrien Calvez Petit (France) and Katrina Sill (US)

Renewable Energy Workshop - Biomass in Punjab - Part 2

Recently, the interns involved in the Biogas Workshop held in Himachal Pradesh were treated to an extra day of field visits related to renewable energy in Punjab. The biomass plant visit was among the many highlights of this extended workshop.
Located near Nakodar, the Green Planet Energy Ltd Biomass Plant produces 7,000 kilowatts of energy per hour (KWh). Assuming the average house utilizes 3 KWh, this one plant produces enough energy to power 2,333 homes every hour. All of this energy is produced through the burning of biomass (organic) waste that would otherwise be burned in farm fields.
Full view of the biomass plant with the boiler on the left
Benefits of the Biomass Plant:
  • Alternative to burning biomass in fields, causing air pollution
  • Saves habitat and ground cover
  • Produces renewable energy – 2 KG biomass = 1 KW energy
  • Gives extra income to farmers – 1 rupee = KG of hay or biomass
Biogas Plant Process:
  1. Farmers sell biomass waste to the plant
  2. Biomass is dried and compacted
  3. Compacted biomass is loaded onto the belt, leading to the furnace (see Photo 2)
  4. Biomass is used as fuel in boiler, reaching temperatures of 700 degrees Celsius
  5. Boiler heats 30 tons of water each hour (of which 2 tons evaporates, 28 tons reused)
  6. The boiling water creates steam
  7. Steam runs the turbine at 7500 revolutions per minute (RPM)
  8. Turbine produces electricity/power by running the generator
Compacted biomass is loaded onto a belt leading to the boiler
Waste Products/Emissions from Biomass Plant Processes:
Of course, burning the biomass fuel creates waste fumes. The fumes contain particles of carbon monoxide, a poisonous gas for humans to breathe, and carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas widely considered to be contributing to global warming.
The workshop team in front of the electric static precipitator  (from left to right: Clement, Adrien, Owen, Gulshan, Biomass Plant Engineers, Ariel, Katrina, Mandy, and Sevil)

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Marginalised Community Empowerment through youth engagement and education

The MCE projects in Punjab have grown exponentially these past few months! We have now expanded and are working with another migrant camp in Hariana. Many of the people from this camp are closely related to the members of the Paro camp. Moreover, two years ago, we used work with the Hariana camp. So during our first interactions with them, their reactions towards us were totally surprising. We had a very happy welcoming and they showed themselves to be extremely open towards working with us again.
Elise with two of the young girls from the Paro migrant camp
MCE Project Manager, Iria  
The English and math classes that we have been conducting with the young women of the Paro community since last fall have continuously been improving. We have created worksheets and introduced English reading skills as a part of our lesson plans. We originally thought it would be a great challenge for us to teach reading to the young women,  as they do not know how to read in Punjabi – their own language, but as always, the women have surprised us! They were happy to learn and they really put in a significant amount of effort into it. Now, after a month and a half, they recognize almost all of the sounds of the letters, they are able to read simple words, and are even able to write some of them.
With math, we were also very pleasantly surprised. Addition was actually quite basic for them and with subtraction – they were able to understand it only after one lesson! So now we are just introducing more and more complex numbers, and they are starting to connect all of their knowledge. Moreover, something that is making us incredibly happy is seeing them help each other and teach each other at the camp. While we are not there, the older girls are teaching the numbers and the alphabet to younger children who don’t go to school
Math lessons
Math lessons
Unfortunately, the health and hygiene situation is still a big problem at the camp. We are still continuing our efforts to improve the living standards. We have had a couple of situations with two malnourished young women that especially brought these issues to the forefront. They were both feeling very weak; one even fainted and was on an IV. So we did a small informal survey with them and found out that, at least one of them was only eating once a day, and it was a very small amount of food. Moreover, both of them are currently breastfeeding and thus it is even more crucial for them to eat properly. In this context, we decided to create a nutritional workshop to do with them. It was a totally successful project! Even without a translator and the language barriers, we were able to conduct these workshops and have the women understand what we were trying to impart to them. We did the workshops in two days, in two different sessions; in the morning with the young women and in the afternoon with the mothers. The latter was highly motivated and eager to implement these healthier nutritional models. These workshops also enabled us to converse about these topics more freely and for it to become a central theme in our work. Now the migrants are showing us what they cook, giving us a taste, and we are able to directly assess how they are eating. Just from these immediate results, we say that it was a great success. We are so proud of them and of ourselves.
Last, but not least, the micro-finance initiative has begun! We have recently just over a month ago created a Self Help Group for the women in both the Hariana and Paro camps! In this project the women are supposed to contribute either 2 rupees a day, 15 rupees a week, or roughly 50-60 rupees a month. Moreover, in Paro, the men were also very keen on this microfinance project, and so we also established a SHG for them as well. We are hoping through these micro-savings we can teach the migrants more effective ways of financial management and savings. Since usually, it is not for the lack of money, but rather their usage of money that is the biggest problem contributing to their poverty. Furthermore, through these SHGs we would like to enable the women to feel more economically empowered and less dependent on their families and husbands. Soon after these developments, we eventually began discussions of forming more personalized micro-finance projects with them in the near future, such as creating a chicken coop to produce and sell eggs.
Natalie with some of the members of the SHG
MCE Project Manager,
Iria Paz
Iria Paz, Spain
Project Manager – Marginalized Community EmpowermentJanauri, Punjab; Mar-June 2013

Saturday, 30 March 2013

Self Help Group - 1-year Celebrations in Shenny

Self Help Group - 1-year Celebrations in Shenny - Mar 2013

The Naddi SHG and international interns celebrate together.

Self Help Group is a financial organization of a Womens Association based on mutual support both for community based supplementary financial as well as social needs. Each of its members saves a small amount of money each week or month, which is gathered in a common “bank”. This in turn encourages savings, and can provide its members with small loans at a reasonable interest rate for business purposes or in times of financial distress.

Self Help Group in Shenny was started with 16 women in April 2012. They all contributed to the SHG by giving 50 Rs each month during the course of a year. At the end of March, they reached an amount of Rs 9.600. To celebrate this first year of success, the organization decided to add RS 400 to the SHG to achieve Rs
10 000. After one year, the women are still motivated and have decided to use this money to create and set up new income generating activities.

The aim of this first year was to collect the money and keep it in the group managed informal "little SHG bank”.

The objective of the second year is to continue to collection of money, but also to create new business opportunities through loans funded by their own "little SHG bank” . Thanks to the profit made with these projects, they will also be able to pay their initial loan back.

End of the 1st Year Celebration:

To celebrate the success of the Self-Help Group in Shenny we decided to organize a “picnic” with all of the women involved in the SHG, and volunteer-interns in EduCARE India and its affiliate programs / orgs. After a quick presentation to go over the trajectory of the SHG, we honored all the women individually for their active involvement and contributions toward the SHG.  The women were very happy and proud to be complimented for their work.

By the end of the presentation, we proposed some ideas – based on personal evaluations and surveys collected – on how to use this money, and give them the possibility to generate an income. The reactions of the women have been above and beyond our expectations! They were very motivated and enthusiastic. Every single woman participated, and seemed really interested. There was a very positive exchange ideas and dialogue between the women and the interns.

Everyone working together to prepare a delicious Indian meal of puri’s and channa. To finish off this great day, we all shared in the preparation and then later eating of a delicious Indian meal

The Next Phase of the Self Help Group:
How will the women use the money they have collected?
The first project idea involves all of the members in the SHG. The idea is to create a ReStore,  a local shop, in main square of Naddi. In this ReStore, the women will sell their own hand-made products to the local community and tourists. This project will allow the women to earn money independently from their husbands, brothers, and father; and therefore enable them to increase their own economic empowerment and personal self-confidence by giving them the means to contribute to their household income.

In the first phase of production, the women are really interested in producing and selling knitted items, tailored clothes, and local accessories. At the same time they are also highly motivated to learn how to make jewellery and various baked goods. They would then add these items into the second phase of production.
In the next couple of weeks the women will begin their production of these items, and plan to open their shop by May!

Elodie Duvivier & Aureline Moye
Micro-finance interns from France
March/April 2013

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Sanitation and Waste Management during After School Fun Club!

Sanitation and Waste Management during After School Fun Club!

SWASH police showing way how to sort out and reduce the quantity of trash waste !

Sorting and learning which trash is burnable and not, and why

After School Fun Club has continued to focus once a month on SWASH (Sanitation of Water, Air, and Soil for a Healthy Village) project. During this activity, we teach the children how important waste management is, and how dumping trash or burning plastic and other mixed waste can be detrimental to the local environment and their health. This week, we organised another trash sorting / classification workshop with the kids of Shenny with participation of Sara and Melissa from EduCARE India team in the lead. The kids in Fun Club have started to get more aware of this initiative and would hopefully further sensitise others (their family members and the larger community in the village) to dispose of their trash in a responsible manner.

Friday, 1 March 2013

Starting of a Girls Club in a new village

After the success of the Girls Club and Young Women’s Association in Naddi, our volunteer-interns team is working to start up a new group in Himachal Pradesh village cluster at Maitee. As new international volunteer-intern members, the team-members had moved to Maiti at the end of January, 2013 to help initiate this new project.
Naina, Kate Davis - Canada (Girls Club and YWA Project Manager),
Laboo, and Auréline - France (Micro-finance Project Manager)
Since moving to Maitee they (Kate, working with our affiliate YWI; and Aureline working with affiliate MicroEmpowerED program) have spent the majority of their time getting to know the women and children of the community. Kate, from Canada remarks, "At first I was intimidated by this task because there had been no previous interaction with these families and I was worried as to how they would receive my presence in their village. After some casual visits and many cups of chai my worries soon vanished as I got to know the families.  Up to this point, there are about 15 girls with whom I regularly interact that range from the age of 6 to 20. The older girls have been helping me learn some Hindi and I help them with their English when I can. The children are so happy to teach me about their way of life in Maiti and they especially enjoy it when I dress in the traditional Indian Salwar Kameez outfit, saying that I look “Oh! SO nice!”." 
            In the next few weeks, the team has started to organise a room in the near vicinity of the intern house to use it as a common get together and activity room. A classroom at the local elementary school is also being put into use..The team-members will not only be able to assist the teachers with the English curriculum during school hours, but they will also teach skills for community based waste management and good case practices for environmental conservation amongst the children. In the afternoon they would be able to conduct Girls Club and After School Program activities. For Girls Club, the girls have shown a great interest in learning various life skills and practicing English. They have also said that they would like to do arts and crafts as well as organized team sports on the field out back.  We look forward to seeing these activities come to fruition in the next few weeks, and, support Aureline (from France) towards initiating a Young Women Association and Self Help Group there!

Main Road Square of Maitee village
A lline of houses of the marginalized and poor lie (beyond visual sight) behind the trees on the right extreme

Thursday, 28 February 2013

Our Chicken Coup - A successful model

Chicken Coup 

One of the first projects of micro finance in Naddi was the Chicken coop started by Cecile from france with the support and help of the EduCARE India staff and local partnership of Lata during her international internship program in Middle of 2012. The initial concept was to have a henhouse with chickens and roosters to produce eggs that can sold. The main goal of this project is to help a local woman become more economically independent and self-sufficient. With this project, she can sell the eggs, make a high profit and save the money they would have otherwise spent on buying eggs from the market.

The project started on 21st August 2012, with the arrival of 25 chicks, 19 hens and 6 roosters to the community. The animals arrived courtesy of EduCARE India  - ViKAS Centre - Young Women’s IDEA efforts and MicroEmpowerED’s loan to Lata. After 6 months the hens began to lay. In the beginning we found only one or two eggs per day, but as time went on the hens started to lay more eggs with increasing regularity. Around the 10th march 2013 Lata sold their first eggs. She decided to sell the eggs to the other families in the community. It has been easier for her, and the community is happy to consume eggs from a local, free range production.

Making a new chicken coup for the laying hens >>

Two months after the first egg, after the business has become fully established in the community and has proven to be lucrative, Lata will start to refund the loan for the initial investment. We decided together to apply a 0% interest for the loan. In fact, we aim to apply integrated microfinance, meaning that the returns for the loan will be reinvested into other social empowerment and micro-finance projects.

Elodie Duvivier
Micro-finance intern
France – 2013