SEDS, the Social Education and Development Society, was founded in 1980 by Rajen Joshua and Manil Jayasena as a grassroots development NGO, motivated by the desire to help the poorest of the poor in the drought-prone area of Anantapur District in Andhra Pradesh. In the early days, the main focus of the work was on community development by way of non-formal education and small loans to skilled target communities like cobblers, basket weavers, blanket weavers and others.

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.

Today, SEDS is working through an integrated rural development approach with an emphasis on women’s empowerment, watersheds, re-a-forestation and natural resource management. This is within five Mandals in the southern part of Anantapur District, in south western Andhra Pradesh namely, Penukonda, Roddam, Gorantla, Somandepalli and Chilamathur. In these 5 mandals SEDS currently supports 125 villages, being some 12000 women and their families, 980 Self Help Groups (SHGs), 120 Village Organisations (VOs) & 5 Mandal Samakyas (MMSs) .

Through its sustained efforts SEDS has made a significant impact on the lives of the people in the area and the local environment. The SEDS slogan “Towards a greener tomorrow” has become a reality.

Monday, February 22, 2010

General Community Health Camp Gummayyagaripalli in Gorantla Mandal 21-02-2010

On Sunday the 21st of February, Gorantla Mandal had its health camp. The venue was organised by the Vara Lakshmi village organisation of Gummayyagaripalli at the elementary school of Gummayyagaripalli, one kilometre from Gorantla town. This place was chosen because of its central location regarding the surrounding villages. Sixteen villages were covered in this program.

In the morning

At ten O’clock people started filling the school ground and their details were noted down, name, village and sex. Getting registrated

Subhamma, the Village Health Worker and sixteen staff members of SEDS had made good arrangements. There was plenty of fresh water and a shamiana was set up to provide for shade. At twelve thirty the doctors and nurses arrived at the school. A little bit later than stated but this was because of an emergency operation that the doctor had to perform.
Dr Sha-Nawaz-Khan

Head of the delegation was Dr. Sha-Nawaz-Khan. In total ten members of the Shanawaz nursing home from Hindpur came to help . The doctor started this program of helping the rural poor in memory of his wife, late Mrs. Uzmath. This was his 54th camp and for this one he approached SEDS in helping with the facilitation and mobilisation of the people. Because of the organisation’s close affiliation with the communities it was quite easy to bring out a large number of people. The program lasted till six O’clock in the evening.

Everybody had a urine test and their blood pressure checked to look for common diseases.
People were very interested in the urine test

Checking bloodpressure

In case of need a blood test was also taken. After this everybody had a talk with the doctor and got their medicines. In total 466 people received a health check up. The medicines, worth Rs. 30,000 were sponsored by the doctor and his nursing home.

The flyer and related press articles

Saturday, February 20, 2010

SEDS' Stakeholders Meeting for the Gold Standard

On the eighteenth of February 2010 SEDS conducted the Stakeholders Meeting for the Gold Standard Premium Quality Carbon Credits in Penukonda. Beneficiaries (the people who will get the biogas unit installed on their land), local politicians, government representatives, people from other NGO’s, All were invited to attend this meeting. The meeting is a mandatory step in the process of acquiring the Gold Standard for our CDM project. Developers of Gold Standard projects are required to use a bottom-up and integrated approach that puts particular emphasis on incorporating feedback from local stakeholder consultations. But why the need of the Gold Standard? - The gold standard certification allows the sale of CERs at a premium price.

The carbon market is just developing and still immature. Prospects can be very fluid and as the latest climate conference showed, there are more uncertainties than certainties. This is where the Gold Standard comes into play as it brings an assurance to this market. It is a kind of quality control seal that sets out the highest standards in the carbon market. Projects that wish to attain this seal of approval must not only reduce carbon offsets but also invest in sustainable development. With the Gold Standard requirements host governments and local communities can be sure that the implemented project reflects their priorities as it will make a contribution to sustainable development. And with the Gold Standard project developers will be sure their credits will fetch the best price on the market. On the other hand, the purchasers of these carbon credits will know that their investments will carry an environmental and social integrity in its heart.

During the meeting different stakeholders voiced their opinions regarding the project. The spokesperson for the forest department was lyrical on how this project will save trees in the future. A representative from the government lamented on how the state had tried to undertake the same project in the past but had failed miserably. They were just fulfilling the set target number. The construction work of the biogas units was very poor and once built there was never any monitoring put in place. Result is that there is not one functioning government built biogas unit in the state. Now, he promised, the authorities will take lessons from our project as they have done with our watersheds.

There was advice from the people of ADATS with whom we have been involved for this project (see: CDM field visit with ADATS). They told the beneficiaries that there might be negative reactions from the richer people in their communities. “Out of jealousy they will say bad things. They will laugh at you picking up dung, telling you that you will be living in a bad smell, saying that the biogas unit will explode. Well these are lies. Do not listen to them as they know nothing! Once this project is working you will not only have free gas but you will also receive money for properly using it.” Who will be laughing then?

After this there was the time for input and questions from the beneficiaries who had come in large numbers. Their questions ranged from problems regarding a proper building site, to will the biogas units need to be clean out regularly.

* “The ground is pure rock where I live, what can I do?” –“ No problem the unit can be built in a more suitable place, even a hundred meter away if necessary”

*“Why do we need to clean out the tank?” – “As you pick up dung and put in the tank sand will also come along. After some time this sand will accumulate in the tank and a tank full of sand will not bring forth the needed amount of gas.”

In the end the visitors were asked to fill in an evaluation form about the meeting. They had to give their opinion and state any reservation they might have against the project. All these evaluation forms will be collated with the minutes of the meeting and printed and displayed in public for everyone to have a final look at the project.

Now the process for the CDM project for 5000 biogas plants has reached registration stage and we await this process and forward financing to initiate and take this forward.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


On Sunday February 14th, SEDS organized the yearly health camp for the school kids and sponsor kids. At about 9 o’clock all the school kids started the Arts & Crafts activity in the dining hall of the school. They had to work together in small groups to cut out and decorate human bodies. While this was going on, children were called in turn to get in line for the medical check up, that was held in the classes on the ground floor of the school. The children were divided into groups according to age and went to see the doctor specialized in examining that age group. Most of the teachers of the school were present to help the staff members at the counters with the attendance check lists and the children’s medical files.

When all the kids were checked, the first groups of sponsor kids were led from the gate to the dining hall. The school kids then went to the first floor of the school to play games and get health and first aid classes from the teachers, Haseena and Rehanna. The children were taught about the importance of cleaning their teeth, bathing twice a day, keeping their surroundings clean, drinking pure water and other things.
After that they went to the playground where Jules and Aude, the two world cyclists from France entertained them with local and own games while facing the burning sun. As a last activity, the children were invited to the games room to see a movie, where Raju made sure that everything ran smoothly.

It was a nice and exhausting day where teachers, volunteers and children worked together. The elder children, who either helped with the activities or were responsible for a group of about 53 children, did a great job and I was again amazed by how serious the children take their responsibilities and the maturity they show.


Friday, February 5, 2010

Republic Day

26th of January, Republic Day in India. Something to look forward to especially since Children’s Day in November was so great. We gathered by the school in the morning and made everything ready for prayer and the speeches.

With some guidance from the teachers, Madhan from 10th class lead the prayer with the help of the voices of the older girls who sang the songs with the children.

During the prayer, teachers and staff members joined us and it ended up being a busy occasion. Which is logical I suppose since Republic Day is – as I learned through the children’s speeches – the Day on which 61 years ago, the new Indian Government officially declared the independent Indian Constitution. The children’s speeches were a part of the speech contest and were nicely delivered with trembling voices. Madhan talked about how he wanted corruption in India to come to an end, which won him the prize of best speech for the higher classes. Jyothi’s speech was short but powerful and she deservedly won for the lower classes. The flag was raised by one of the staff members under the marching of Madhan who apparently practiced it for days. I was happy to see how important this function is for them and how they have an eye for every detail, from the songs, to the marching and the decorations. It felt like they honor the struggle that was fought for an independent India by making sure that everything is as perfect as possible. And it was obvious to see that as a school, as staff members, as Indians, it brought them together. I could not help but think that as a sometimes cynical European, I take these things for granted. It was a cultural eye opener.

After the ringing of the bell and dividing of the groups, we all ran towards the playing court and the games room to start a morning of running, skipping, hopping, ball throwing, water plashing and much more. Judging from the huge smiles on the children’s’ faces and the enthusiastic cries that came from all around, I am pretty sure everybody had a great time. I certainly know I did.

The teachers did their part in leading the games and making sure their group changed activities on time. And with all that excitement a fair amount of chaos is definitely there. But for those of us who love India and the chaos and energy that surrounds you where a lot of people come together, this experience are again one to savor. At the end everybody played water games together and I learned that teachers also argue about who gets the most candy.

Lunchtime came and after that we all went back to the school for an afternoon of drama, hosted by our all-round entertainer and volunteer Martin. All the school children played their part in creating a world full of jokes, magic tricks, falling donkeys, sweet nursery rhymes and songs. Even though some of the dramas were in Telugu, I laughed because of their dedication, their vivid expression, laughter and enjoyment. At the end, prizes were distributed to the winners of the drawing and speech contests, the sports games and the most fair play player of the day, which was little Sai Prasad from 1st class.

As a conclusion, it was a day on which we all worked together to enjoy ourselves and each other and celebrate the victories of the past. The fact that I could experience this in an NGO that still is committed to the upliftment of the rural poor, and which reminds me daily, of the battles that still need to be fought and how much some individuals are willing to do for this cause. This made it all the more meaningful for me, and I felt very proud to be a part of it.

Anneleen vandenbossche


Thursday, February 4, 2010

SEDS in the news: A Unique ID Project

A miniature UID project in AP

By N Vasudevan Feb 01 2010 , Bangalore

While Nandan Nilekani is busy with the Unique ID project, a miniature replica has

been implemented successfully by Social Education and Development Society (SEDS), an NGO, in the drought-prone Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh.

Bangalore-based Wolf Frameworks has developed a software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution — Census Information Management Solution (CIMS) for SEDS. Using this application, SEDS has profiled and generated unique identification numbers for more than 40,000 members in the district.

Manil Jayasena Joshua, CEO, SEDs said, “We rely on data, its relationships and analytics/reports heavily to serve the rural and under developed community effectively. CIMS gave us quick, anytime, anywhere, and secured access.”

SEDS conducts surveys regularly to track real-time population, resource, programme statistics, and a road map of how their programme is working and its resultant success/failure.

The NGO uses Wolf’s solution to collect, relate and consolidate data into a central repository and automates the process of data analysis, presenting reports and charts on different metrics. The application also imports the previous data records maintained in Microsoft Access Databases and spreadsheets.

Sunny Ghosh, director & CEO of Wolf Frameworks said, “CIMS solution demonstrates the ability of our framework to manage thousands of records online and the ease of use with which non-sophisticated users are now able to leverage Wolf cloud computing technologies – OnDemand.”

Ghosh said, “Looking at the scale in which the National UID project is planned, many technologies will be involved that will work together. If there is going to be a strong collaboration perspective, we are open to share our system and technology.”

Source: http://www.mydigitalfc.com/opportunities/miniature-uid-project-ap-002

Food Security Program

In order to enhance food security for its rural communities SEDS is helping small remote villages in setting up their own provision shops. All villages in these rural parts of India have their little shops where you can buy bidis, biscuits, sweets and sometimes bananas but small settlements often lack a decent provision shop. Village organisations have now started setting up their own shops in an effort to alleviate this problem.

Take the village of K. Maruvapalli. The closest town where people can go to purchase food and household articles is Hindupur. It will easily take the women half a day to do their shopping. Now the Village Organisation has taken up the project of starting its own provision shop. There you can get all the things you need like soap, spices, dhal, detergents, salt, sugar, vegetables, etc... .

This way the women save time and money. Money saved for transport and also for purchasing the goods because the shop buys in wholesale so the prices are actually lower than in Hindupur. Next to this the store also has a credit service of fifthteen days for its customers.

What is SEDS role in all this? Well the management of the shop is done by the Village Organisation. SEDS’ function is mainly to facilitate these women, we give ideas, teach them about bookkeeping and tell them how to plan ahead for purchases. Basically we put structures in place and hope that by doing this the women will be able to run the shop by themselves in the future. Three shops have already been opened.