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.

Friday, July 30, 2010

SEDS in the news: SEDS: story of a green revival

The Hindu 20/07/2010

Staff Reporter

ANANTAPUR: The once bald mountains and barren valleys in the five Mandals of Roddam, Penukonda, Chillamathur, Gorantla and Somandepalli in Anantapur district are now teeming with greenery and life. More than 20 years of sincere effort in the direction has paid rich dividends.

Dense forests have been raised and massive shade giving and fruit bearing trees developed into a canopy covering thousands of hectares in what were once forest lands devoid of greenery. As one traverses through the length and breadth of the five mandals adopted by Social, Education and Development Society (SEDS) in the Penukonda revenue division, it is unbelievable that such massive forestation work has been done by a low profile NGO founded by Rajan Joshuva from Kerala and Manil Jayasena Joshuva from Malaysia.

They both met in Anantapur district and by providence got married. Soon after their marriage, they settled in a remote village called Anandapuram in Penukonda mandal and by their hard work and sheer dedication they built a set-up which uplifted the underprivileged on the educational, social and environmental front.

“We faced stiff resistance and blind opposition to the forestation drive from the locals. They cut down the trees planted by us and offered no cooperation as we opposed tree felling by the locals; but our persistence, perseverance and patience paid off and ultimately they began to understand the seriousness of our cause,” said Rajan Joshuva, executive director of SEDS.

Environmental police

SEDS was not only able to successfully raise 2.2 million living trees in the five mandals, but were able to transform every villager into an environmental policeman. Today if any outsider came with any ulterior motive , the villagers act as policemen and drive them away, Mr. Joshuva remarked.

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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Stakeholder Feedback Round

Dear All,

We completed the Gold Standard stakeholder’s meeting for the “SEDS Biogas CDM Project for the Rural Poor" on 18/02/2010. We thank all of you who were present for the meeting and gave us your valuable inputs.

In accordance to the guidelines of the Gold Standard, a Stakeholder Feedback Round should be conducted, which covers all issues raised in the local stakeholder consultation meeting and how due account was taken following the stakeholders’ comments.

A report of the stakeholder meeting has been prepared which describes about the stakeholder meeting conducted and the sustainable development indicators. This document can be downloaded from


Through this email I encourage you to kindly download these documents and give your valuable comments and suggestions on the Local Stakeholder Consultation report. Your valuable comments will help us in achieving sustainable development of gold standards for the project. I request you to submit your valuable comments and suggestion in the next 60 days i.e. by 09-20-2010

Looking forward to your feedback on the Stakeholder Consultation Report.



Monday, July 19, 2010

SEDS in the news: NGO brings about a change in lives of villagers

The Hindu, 30/06/2010
Staff Reporter

Social Education and Development Society (SEDS) on the forefront of creating ecological consciousness.
SEDS currently supports 125 villages, with some 12,000 women and their families, and 980 SHGs.
Over the years more than 2 million trees have been planted on the barren lands of Anantapur
Anantapur: Social Education and Development Society (SEDS), jointly founded in 1980 by Rajen Joshua and Manil Jayasena, has made a big difference in the villages in Penukonda revenue division.
During its three decade of service to people in the region, it has created an ecological consciousness to such an extent that the people themselves act as ecological policemen effectively checking tree felling activity by outsiders.
Among the multifarious activities undertaken by SEDS, aforestation and avenue plantation is the most successful programme in the region apart from livelihood, agriculture, education and other training and equipping programmes.
SEDS is working through an integrated rural development approach with an emphasis on women's empowerment, watersheds, reforestation and natural resource management in five mandals including Penukonda, Roddam, Gorantla, Somandepalli and Chilamathur.
SEDS currently supports 125 villages, with some 12,000 women and their families and 980 SHGs. Through its sustained efforts the NGO has made a significant impact on the lives of the people in the area and the local environment.
Vocational Training Centre (VTC) offered training in different trades including tailoring, embroidery, carpentry, welding and fabrication, two-wheeler repair and domestic electrical wiring and were eventually employed in various places.
The NGO integrated all these livelihood activities in a sustainable agriculture programme, with focus on training to farmer groups using Farmer Field School Methodology.
Dr. Rajan Joshua told The Hindu that he and his wife Jayasena and the SEDS team had done pioneering work and today enjoys a sense of achievement and satisfaction that their work has paid dividends.
He attributed the success of SEDS to the active participation of people.
Waste lands development had been undertaken on a massive scale including re-afforestation by planting tamarind, neem, pongamia and jatropha plants that have an additional value.
Over the years more than 2 million trees have been planted on the barren lands of South Anantapur.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Tank desilting

In the working area of SEDS the desilting of tanks has been a regular feature in its activities since the early nineties. SEDS took up this pioneering role to help the farmers improve their lands. The buildup of silt in the tanks is a result of water erosion. Every year the monsoons wash away tons of earth silting up the precious water bodies. In our region most of the soil end up in the numerous tanks in the area.

The benefits of tank desilting are twofold. First it increases the water holding capacity of the tanks. Tanks that are heavily silted lose out on a lot of stored water. This water is needed to irrigate the fields of the farmers and a decrease in the holding capacity results in fewer lands being irrigated This means a smaller harvest and a direct reduce in income for the farmer. So by doing the desilting, SEDS is directly contributing to the livelihood of the farmers who live downstream of the tank.

A previously desilted area in Mavatur

Secondly - and the mean reason for desilting - the excavated silt is applied on the fields of the farmers . The silt is much more fertile and has better water retaining capacity than the common red soil on which the farmers cultivate. All this helps in increasing the yield of the farmer.

Silt in the field of a farmer

In Mavatur there was a strong interest of the people to remove silt the tank. SEDS already worked here in 2007/2008. A village meeting was conducted with SEDS and it was decided that digging would take place during the second and third week of May in three different places. 106 people in the area benefitted from the desilting. They divided 2109 tractor loads of silt between them. The local contribution of the community was Rs. 209820, while SEDS contribution was Rs. 195198.

Mavatur tank

Excavating the tank

In Cherukur the tank silt went to the people in Budipalli. 42 people divided 1258 loads of silt. The local contribution of the community was Rs. 130680, and SEDS contribution was Rs. 164136.

Cherukur tank

Demarcation of the site

A Puja before beginning

Work in progress

Silt in the fields