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.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

SEDS: Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) Project

A Zen temple located in northwest Kyoto, Japan is known for a rock garden of fifteen boulders, placed so that, when looking at the garden from any angle, only fourteen of the boulders are visible at one time. According to the locals, only the truly enlightened are able to view the fifteenth boulder. Thousands of kilometers westwards, amidst the baking boulders of Anantapur, fifteen SEDS staff members watch a group of masons put the finishing touches on an igloo made of bricks. An enlightened effort was required to see a possible connection that would benefit all those involved.

In 1997, the Kyoto Protocol was drafted to help reduce the effect of greenhouse emissions. The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), defined in Article 12 of the Protocol, allows a country with an emission-reduction commitment under the Protocol to implement an emission-reduction project in developing countries. SEDS is the link between such international treaties and local development on the ground through its Biogas CDM Project. The project activity is to set up 5000 biogas plants (digesters) of 2m3 capacity each for single households in the 5 divisions of Anantapur District in which SEDS operates, and in this way replace Non-Renewable Biomass with biogas for cooking and hot water heating. SEDS links carbon credits traded in the Euro zone to non-polluting cooking fuel for villages, benefiting all those involved in the project.

A truly creditable venture.

[The article originally written by Amit Manikoth, for SEDS's 30 years celebration. This is simply a reproduction.]