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.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

CDM progress

While SEDS staff sat together for the CDM meeting of December, in South Africa world talks on climate change struggled to overcome a rift on the future of the Kyoto Protocol (and CDM). In Durban, the European Union is trying to forge a coalition of the willing behind its plan in order to put pressure on the world's top three carbon emitters - China, the United States and India - to sign up. None are bound by the Kyoto Protocol, the only global pact that enforces carbon cuts. Washington says it will only pledge binding cuts if all major polluters make comparable commitments. China and India say it would be unfair to demand they make the same level of cuts as the developed world, which caused most of the pollution responsible for global warming.

The conference is finished with an agreement that the EU sets a 2015 target date for a new deal that would impose binding cuts on the world's biggest emitters of the heat-trapping gases, a pact that would come into force five years later. The climate agreement is saved, the climate on the other hand…

SEDS is working hard on the CDM project (Clean Development Mechanism). By building well-functioning biogas systems, SEDS can yield a whole range of benefits for their users, the society and the environment in general. The major benefits SEDS is focusing on are the following: saving fossil fuels, saving time collecting firewood, protecting forests, saving money, improving hygienic conditions, producing high-quality fertilizer and improving the rural standard of living. SEDS realizes that they cannot reduce the global climate change, but they believe in the fact that they can reduce the local emissions and save the local environment. At the same time SEDS is doing research on the social and economic impact of the CDM-project, because they believe in the positive impact of biogas-installations on households.

Last month SEDS identified 977 new beneficiaries for biogas installations. The excavation of the pits is done and construction is going on. The digging of the pit can either be done manually with labor or use a mechanical excavator. Sand, bricks and granite chips (jelly), cement and hardware are provided by SEDS after the pit is excavated. In the mean while several tractors, trucks and bullock carts are transporting material to the people seven days a week.

Public awareness of the biogas-installations

Digging the pit