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Development of herbal gardens to help rural women in Tamilnadu, India

Requested by

Foundation for Research and Sustainable Development (FRSD)

Who are you trying to help? What issue are you trying to address?

India has, according to statistics, the highest rates of malnutrition although it is basically an agrarian country producing surplus food. Rural economy has not improved despite several measures by the Government to improve the conditions of farmers, rural artisans and indigenous communities in Tamilnadu, India. There are several reasons for this miserable condition such as over exploitation of ground water and natural resources, subjugation of rural women, dependence of external assistance, dependence of erratic monsoons and political situations. FRSD strongly believes that there is inextricable link between poverty and malnutrition in rural areas served by us.

Recently the State guaranteed women a voice in the local administration, a profound breakthrough in the position of women in rural areas due to the ruling party headed by a woman. Rural women suffer disproportionately from the burden of utter poverty Rural and indigenous women play a crucial role in local economies and the health and well-being of their families in our region. Women who are educated are more likely to have fewer and healthy children. But poverty makes them vulnerable to diseases and they become victims of circumstances. FRSD feels that rural women must be empowered to combat the underlying causes of poverty and poor health through income generation programmes, awareness building aimed at “Endogenous Development”. We shall address the issues of poverty, unemployment in rural areas.

What is your project and how will it help?

Goal of the project:
To empower poor rural women for poverty reduction and improve their livelihoods in rural Madurai District through income generation activities that are linked to biodiversity conservation.

Objectives of the project
a) To enumerate 50 poor rural women and form a Self Help Group to participate in the project from remote villages in Madurai District, Tamilnadu, India.
b) To train them on promotion of kitchen herbal gardens for sustainable income from the sale of medicinal plants grown in the herbal gardens and facilitate marketing of herbal plants grown by women groups.
c) To enhance and diversify income generating alternatives for poor rural women through awareness generation programmes on minor millets, natural resources and biodiversity in the Western Ghats Mountain areas
d) To raise awareness of key stakeholders on the need to enhance community involvement in medicinal plants cultivation and promotion, revival of minor millets to combat malnutrition and poverty.

a) Create a Herbal Nursery in Cholavandan for the provision and supply of indigenous medicinal plants to promote kitchen herbal gardens by rural women
b) Setting up a Demonstration Herbal Garden with native herbs that will inspire local women groups and farmers which will lead to an increased knowledge of medicinal plants biodiversity of the region
c) Training of 50 poor rural women in a village on kitchen herbal gardens, agro techniques, marketing of herbs and maintenance of the gardens organically and induct another batch of 50 women during the second half of the project period i.e. after six months.

Rural communities will be educated on their connection with the environment and their relationship with Mother Nature and the ways to utilize the local biodiversity in a sustainable manner.

Monitoring and Evaluation:
FRSD will approach the Gandhigram Rural University, Gandhigram, a reputed national university nearby for technical inputs, guidance, expertise, monitoring and evaluation of the project. Monitoring and mid term evaluation will be carried out at the end of six months.

Location of the project:
Five villages, Cholavandan block, Vadipatty taluk, Madurai District, Tamilnadu, India. Beneficiaries targeted : 100 Poor rural women from five villages in Cholavandan block, Madurai District, Tamilnadu, India. We will ensure equal opportunities and gender equality in villages.

How can other people partner with you on your project?

People can partner with our project through:

1) Volunteering: Local Voluntary organizations (NGOs), Rural Women Groups and the local Panchayats (elected Administrative bodies) can participate in the project. Since it is a community based intervention, the project will attract more participants like indigenous traditional medical practitioners and herbal traders.

2) Funding: Partners can help us by providing funding support for the cost of training, purchase of equipment, seed money to participating women, arrangement for marketing indigenous medicinal plants grown in the kitchen herbal garden and for meeting administrative costs for one year.

3) Expertise: We are also in need of funding for and technical inputs on biodiversity conservation of native herb endemic to mountain regions.

Please detail the resources that you need.

FRSD needs $ 5,000 to realize the goals and objectives of this project.

We also request potential partners who are willing to support our project to provide guidance on biodiversity conservation of rare and endangered herbs in situ and ex situ.

Technical and scientific inputs are for conserving native plants in home herbal gardens, sacred groves of temples, community gardens will be appreciated.

Further information

Contact details

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Partnership types

Project funding

Regions / countries / territories

Asia: India

Global issues

Community development; Job creation and enterprise development; Gender issues


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