Tribal population traditionally have their habitation in or around the forest mosaic landscape and there has been a symbiotic relationship between the tribal community and their surrounding natural ecosystems. The degradation of the natural ecosystems not only shrank the livelihood opportunities of these communities but has also affected their food and nutrition security and has also disrupted their community institutions.
Tribes in India, although having a significant population of more than eight percent are still the most marginalized. The conservation of biodiversity, soil and water benefits tribes in the area of sustainable livelihood.
Lack of enough nutritious food cause malnutrition among the tribes. The education level of the tribes is lower compared to the non-tribes of the country. Therefore, there is an urgent need to build the capacity of the tribal community through different methods of education and skill development.
The capacity building program aims to improve the well-being of tribes in the given landscape through raising awareness, training, and skill development. The process facilitates and speeds up the process of Transfer and Adaptation of Technology to improve the quality of life and well-being of the indigenous tribal community.
The fundamental need for survival and sustainable human development of any rural tribal community requires conservation and better management of natural resource like the forest, water, livestock, and soil as interdependent components of the ecosystem.
SJSM’s approach to Sustainable Tribal Development focusses on developing the capacity of the tribal community with a particular focus on women and youth, to develop appropriate social norms and institutions for conservation of the natural resources, community empowerment and community-led social actions for conservation-based sustainable livelihood developments.
Tribal Development (Katakari Tribe)
The Katkari tribe belonging to Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group (PVTG) and is considered the most poor, neglected and isolated amongst all adivasis, residing on the village outskirts along mountainsides or in forest land. Illiterate, ignorant and superstitious the Katkari tribe barely survived on traditional seasonal fishing, selling forest produce and timber, and were completely alienated from mainstream village community. Issues like poor health, malnutrition, lack of access to government schemes deprive these tribal community of basic necessities of living.
Migration for work and survival is rampant among the tribal families. It was Shramjivi’s persistent efforts that majority of Katkari’s under its project area – over 29000, have gained an identity, voting rights and ration supply through public distribution system. Formation of women’s and men’s self-help groups have enabled them to save for purchase of rations and other essentials. Trainings and generation of local livelihood supports arrested migration to some extent. Efforts are on to empower Katkaris through information and knowledge inputs, building bridges to close communication gaps with mainstream villagers.
Katakries are Traditional river fisher folks. But Increased pollution levels in rivers affected their livelihood. Shramjivi Janata Sahayyak Mandal Introduced reservoir based inland fisheries (IF) as an alternate source. It has promoted 13 tribal fishing cooperatives (887 members) and established fishing rights over 18 water bodies (water spread area of 489.60 ha) from Poladpur and Mahad block of Raigad district. There was requirement of at least 23.52 lakh fingerling size seeds per year. But the main hurdle was of quality and quantity seeds of Indian Major Carp (IMC) and Common Carp (CC) for stocking in the water bodies. Hence SJSM has introduced the innovation of “Low cost circular Carp Hatechery” at Khaire, Tal. Mahad, Dist. Raigad.
To develop own means of securing funds for personal and livelihood needs, and reduce dependency of Katakries on other financiers “Savitri Tribal Credit cooperative” was promoted by SJSM. It was envisaged that it will be a viable alternative to free the tribal from bondage and exploitation from money lenders, and at the same time learn finance management and proper utilization of their own hard-earned money for self and community betterment. Loans provided from this cooperative is at very minimal interest rates and only for the livelihood promotion. The office holders trained and guided by Shramjivi.