Sunday, July 31, 2011

SEVAI-SHGs show the way in organic farming

Women SHGs in organic farming in SEVAI
SEVAI’s experience working with Self Help women farmers and entrepreneurs shows time and again that women are essential to economic development, especially in rural and agricultural economies. SEVAI also learned that by bringing an awareness of gender issues to the development process ensures that interventions produce sustainable results for women. The self help group women development as promoted by SEVAI is to promote greater integration and institutionalization of the perspective of women its programs to more effectively achieve development goals. SEVAI offers trains the women SHGs in dissemination of best practices; identifying and sharing emerging development issues with differential impacts on women; and creating programs and activities to address new and emerging issues. SEVAI has proven its ability to perform required tasks of empowering women farmers and other entrepreneurs to succeed in the economy. Paddy farming has gained popularity along the Andanallur, Amoor and Lalgudi Blocks of Trichy District with more than 2,000 women becoming cultivators of paddy farms. Support from the SEVAI prompted women to form self-help groups. This led to group farming, which helped women prove their competence.-Govin

Adolescents Peer relationships and friendship- Dr.K.Govindaraju.

Adolescents in SEVAI Centre Shanthi School
Adolescents Peer relationships and friendship helps adolescents develop the skills to resolve conflict and disagreements effectively said, Dr.K.Govindaraju, Director of SEVAI, in a seminar organized for the teachers of SEVAI Shanthi Matriculation Higher Secondary school recently. Dr.K.Govindaraju added, “Peer acceptance represents social status or popularity within a large group, whereas friendships represent relationships based on mutual respect, appreciation, and liking. Early adolescence is a time characterized by friendships that share more common feelings and are more supportive than when children are younger. At the same time, adolescents who have more mutual friends are more likely to be accepted by their larger peer group. Peer acceptance and friendships are distinct constructs and contribute to adolescents’ development. Peer acceptance has been shown to be associated with greater feelings of belonging and fewer behavioral problems in adolescents, whereas, friendships have been shown to directly influence feelings of loneliness. However, both peer acceptance and friendships similarly provide adolescents with self-esteem and improved psychological adjustment. Peer relationships and friendships become more important as children grow into early adolescents. Adolescents’ friendships are associated with self-esteem and contribute to forming self-image, are related to social competence and enhanced leadership skills. Some concrete ways to promote a high quality of peer relationships/friendships in adolescents include: Nurturing social skills including anger management, fairness, and sensitivity, Allowing adolescents to develop companionship skills through literature, sports, games, and music, letting youth know and practice how to express their thoughts and emotions in socially acceptable ways, Encourage adolescents to take the perspective of others, Teaching adolescents the importance of self-disclosure and responsive listening skills, Giving opportunities for adolescents to develop empathy, Helping adolescents develop the skills to resolve conflict and disagreements effectively, Providing adolescents with opportunities for peer tutoring, Being prepared to talk with adolescents about their peers/friends whenever they have trouble with their peers/friends”.-Govin

Traditional mat weaving generates profits for rural women in SEVAI projects.

SEVAI SHG women in mat weaving process
Traditional mat weaving projects were established by SEVAI, which gave women the opportunity to learn new skills, in particular business development skills, which have allowed a local mat production units to develop. Several of these mat weaving projects are now entirely self reliant in Trichy District of Tamilnadu.SEVAI’S community-based projects aimed at alleviating poverty, creating sustainable village economies and revitalizing the rural sector. SEVAI self help groups realized that merely availing credit for consumption purposes would be of no consequence in the long run. They decided to deploy the loan availed into productive assets and in income generating activities. The Amoor group identified 'mat-weaving' as the traditional livelihood opportunity and undertook the mat weaving activity. Mat sticks, used in the manufacture of grass mats, are grown locally, generally by the SHG’s families. The women members purchase their own raw materials with their money. The role of middlemen in this region is very limited and insignificant. The transaction of the sale is always made on payment in cash, never on credit. Prices of raw materials are put according to their units of sale. Mat sticks are sold in bundles. Cotton yarn and powdered dyes (both vegetable and chemical) are sold according to their weight in grams. Prices may vary a bit during difficult seasons due to the abundance or scarcity of supplies. However, the supply is kept more or less steady throughout the year.  Each member earns Rs. 3000 - 4000 as a net income per month and this has led to recognition of the group members at the village level and also among other SHGs.Govin

SEVAI Mettumarudur School ensures girls have access to quality education and health care.

Adolescent given quality education in SEVAI
SEVAI team works to elevate the interests, needs, and rights of adolescent girls. The opportunities adolescent girls shape their lives and the lives of those around them. SEVAI Support in Mettumarudur School ensures girls have access to quality education and health care.  Education has a long history of successfully working to design, execute, manage and evaluate participatory, community-based initiatives to advance the conditions of girls and women. SEVAI Education’s programs help girls enroll and stay in school and help women gain access to or create new educational, financial, and social resources in their communities. SEVAI strives for the all round development of the child. Children bubble with boundless energy and seek to express themselves in manifold ways. A carefully streamlined programme of SEVAI is organized once a week to develop latent talents SEVAI Education programs help girls and women improve their own lives, the lives of their families and the conditions in the communities. For parents - and especially mothers - this means creating conditions that ensure their daughters have equal access to basic education, are able to make informed decisions about their futures. By improving educational opportunities for girls and women, SEVAI Education helps young girls develop skills that allow them to make decisions and influence community change in key areas. Reaching youngsters at an impressionable age before they become sexually active can lay the foundation for a responsible lifestyle, including healthy relationships and safe habits. SEVAI reaches out to youth through specially developed Adolescent Education Programme focused primarily on prevention through awareness building. -Govin

Cement Block Technology offers a speedier, cost effective, environmentally sound alternative to conventional walling materials-K.Sakthivel, SEVAI.

Gender Equity in building technology transfer in SEVAI,Sirugamani
SEVAI provides opportunities to rural women members in leaning and applying the Hollow Cement Block Technology as it offers a speedier, cost effective, environmentally sound alternative to conventional walling materials. Sakthivel of SEVAI Building centre of Sirugamani says, “It is based on the principle of densification of a lean concrete mix to make a regular shaped, uniform, high performance masonry unit. Hollow Cement Block Technology can be easily adapted to suit special needs of users by modifying design parameters such as mix proportion, water/cement ratio and type of production system. It is an effective means of utilizing wastes generated by stone crushers, quarrying and stone processing units. The technology has high potential in areas where raw materials are easily available. The specifications and the characteristics of a concrete block depend on the machine used to manufacture concrete blocks. The most common size of solid concrete blocks is 300x200x150mm. The basic raw material is cement, fine aggregate and coarse aggregate. Very little water is used. This is possible only with mechanized compaction and vibration and gives the block high quality in spite of the lean mix, which uses very little cement. Weight of a concrete block is about 18-19 Kgs. Hollow Cement Block technology is  Cost effective compared to other traditional walling systems, Maximum utilization of wastes and local resources, Structural performance can be engineered, Decentralized local production and  Offers business opportunities. Concrete blocks are usually produced using a semi-mechanized stationary type machine. The other production systems are - manual moulds that require hand tamping, a mobile semi-mechanized egg-laying machine and fully mechanized system that combines compression and vibration. High quality machines provide optimum vibration in the mix so that the ratio of cement used can be reduced substantially without compromising on the strength of the blocks. The machine also compacts and consolidates the mix so that the blocks are uniform in size and attain desired physical properties. The blocks are cured for a minimum period of 14 days, before they are ready to use. On an average 600-800 blocks can be in 8 hours by 1 skilled and 6-8 semi-skilled workers. Concrete blocks can be used like any other masonry unit to build foundations, walls, arches and corbels, etc. A typical concrete block is equivalent to 4.5 bricks, thus construction is faster than with other masonry units. The mortar used is also, less which results in cost saving. Concrete blocks have been extensively used in combination with conventional roofing systems like RCC, RBC, GI sheets, ACC sheets etc. They are also compatible with other materials like fired bricks, dressed stone and compressed earth blocks for composite wall construction. Acceptability of concrete blocks is very high in urban areas for all types of buildings. They are very popular as a long lasting, low maintenance and investment for institutional and industrial buildings. The permanence of a cement-based product is making concrete blocks a preferred choice in rural areas as well”.-Govin