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.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

SEDS in the news: SEDS for pro-poor biogas project

The Hindu, Wednesday, Dec 01, 2010

SEDS for pro-poor biogas project

Anantapur: Social Education and Development Society (SEDS), a grassroots NGO in Anantapur district is making arrangements to setup a pro-poor biogas CDM project. 5000 ‘gobar' gas units will be built in 5 mandals as part of the project, Director of SEDS Rajan Joshua informed in a press release.

The use of biogas as a cooking fuel brings an improvement in the overall quality of life. The primary objective of the CDM Project is to provide clean and smoke-free cooking environment.

It reduces the drudgery of rural women and time and money saved can be used by them to undertake other activities. As part of the project, revenues will flow back to the people after fulfilling the initial 7 year crediting period, 80 per cent of all future CER revenues will be paid out to each of the women running the biogas units.

The remaining 20 p.c. will be set aside in a long term fixed deposit account and to pay the salaries of SEDS staff, cover all costs of repair and to provide grants to end users facing a shortage of substrate.

Staff Reporter