Monday, October 22, 2018



For many environmental hazards, women and children are the ones who take the brunt of the catastrophe. For instance, for acute drought condition, women have to tread miles to fetch a pot of water for the entire family, at times amidst scorching heat. On agricultural field, women are the most crucial victims of all forms
chemical pollution since they spend most of the time in the field as they do majority of cultivation activities.
At the home front women suffer most due to kitchen smoke, thereby become the victims of smoke pollution. Since most of the kitchen in the rural area are dependent on naked fire oven, they, it is estimated inhale smoke equivalent to ‘smoking 20 cigarettes a day’!
“Smokeless Rural Oven” is one feasible low cost solution to the problem. Many may think that this would encourage use of fire-wood, and , thereby augment further de-forestation ! Be assured that ordinary poor villagers use dry leaves, dry small branches, dried hay for fuel for the oven. It is the big eateries of the big towns who use bundles of forest wood for their kitchen!
Swadhina, supported by ERM has taken up a programme to promote Smokeless Rural Oven. The programme encourages “make your own oven”, so, in a sense this programme stresses more on technology transfer for a low-cost Or no-cost oven making.

Village Level Awareness:
The first step was to create awareness on the need for making such smoke-less oven. It was explained that this type oven has several advantages

-         it helps women from smoke pollution
-         it saves fuel, since with the firing of one oven-hole, the second hole uses residual  heat
-         there is no smoke inside the kitchen, thereby the kitchen remain clean from shoots.
-         these ovens can be made from available resources like mud and stones, available free.
-         the technology is so simple that women themselves can make without depending on outside masonry help.
During these village level awareness local language leaflet, printed in Bengali and Hindi were used which also elaborated on the design of the oven.

Addressing the Conventional Design Challenge:The Chimney Pipe: 
This was our primary concern because most of the design we found are using cement asbestos pipes. (We were having a hard time convincing villagers about the harmful environmental effect of  asbestos). Therefore after several rounds of consultation and design development, we have devised an environment friendly solution by way of using tin-earthen chimney- a kind of semi-terracotta pipe.

Making of  Rural Oven :

50 such rural ovens are being made initially in Jharkhand, by the users themselves, in Ghatsila, Mosaboni and Patamdah block of East Sinbbhum district.  The ovens are being prepared by the local women under the supervision of experts from Swadhina. This hands-on process is meant as a training for the women as well. So, that they can prepare new ovens themselves as well as repair any damages. The programme has witnessed a good response from the women.

These are ordinary women who took extra-ordinary leap towards a better life. We are with them. 
What about you ? 

Documentation & Presentation

Wednesday, July 25, 2018


ERM : Swadhina Initiative -
Plant Trees, Save Environment

As a follow-up of Environment Awareness programme, a tree plantation effort has been initiated.
Therefore, those who attended our Environment Awareness Meet held recently, got involved in tree plantation in their own homes. Each woman participant were provided with 5 useful tree plants  namely mango, jamun, guava, amla and papaya. In all 300 plants were planted. Following are the details of the recipients: 

KADAMDIH village, Ghatsila Block, East Singbhum  District, Jharkhand
Karmi Kisku, Srimati Kisku, Sangita Hansda, Baso Hembram,  Pushpa Hansda, Anjali Majhi, Shaboni Hansda, Sumi Kisku, Dumni Majhi, Sabitri Majhi, Antami Soren, Chandmoni Soren, Kapura Tudu, Lakshmimoni Tudu, Ruibari Majhi, Bali Hansda, Bodej Hansda, Noha Tudu, Ruibari Murmu. They all belong to Santhal Tribal community.

BENASOLE village, Mosaboni Block, East Singbhum District, Jharkhand
Phulki Hansda, Jhano Hansda, Kunta Kisku, Mani Biruli, Raimati Hansda, Gurubari Biruli, Jamuna 

Soren, Rani Soy, Sukurmoni Hembram,  Gurubari Bodra, Basmati Soy, Rabdo Hansda, Singha Hansda, Bali Soren, Chintamoni Hansda, Rishi Murmu, Panmoni Soren, Baha Murmu, Yeshoda Mardi, Phulmoni Hansda, Lalita Purti, Biranga Banra, Saraswati Hansda, Kunti Munda, Sarti Soy, Mongodhani Tuti, Punam Banra, Kajal Purty, Kapura Tudu,Sonamoni Alda, Sumitra Purthi, t Bodra, Lakskmi Tiu, Jayanti Bari -  they belong to Santhal,  Munda and Ho tribal community.

Soma Karmakar, Arati Das, Manisha Patar and Lakshmi Shundi belonging to scheduled caste and OBC community who got the plants.


Tuesday, July 24, 2018


Animal Health Camp

Every year in the area we are active a large number of domestic animals perish due to various health hazards, which means not only loss of animal resources but people also suffer great financial loss since the animals provide the livelihood support for the families.

To combat the situation, Swadhina conducts regular animal health camp in the working area.

On July 12, 2018 one such camp was held at Bordih village in Patamdah Block, a quite remote village.

The camp was conducted by two popular local vets namely Sri Sristidhar Mahato and Sri Ladu Ram Mahato. The treatment was  for de-worming.
1.       Fifteen Sheep and twenty goats were administered albendazol.   Eight cows were administered medicine for worms.  Over 150 chickens were administered piperzine

Cow Vaccination Camp: 128 cows vaccinated

Cow Vaccination Camp:  128 cows vaccinated
Every year cows suffer from  haemorrhagic septicaemia and black quarter diseases  and poor farmers lose their animals. Cows are dear to them and are the main support for all agricultural activities. It is a great help if timely vaccination can be administered so that these animal resource do not fall prey to various diseases.
Hence  3 vaccination camps, on HSBQ,  were organised by Swadhina,  in the remote areas of Borabazar Block of Purulia district of West Bengal, which is in the border region of Jharkhand state.

- On 28 May 2018, a camp was held at Taladih village organised by the local Swadhina Women’s Group from 10 in the morning till 3 in the afternoon under the able leadership of Ms. Usharani Mahato. 37 cows were vaccinated.

- On 29 May 2018 another camp was held on Bongorah village which was held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. On this day 46 cows were vaccinated.

-Finally on 30 May 2018 a camp was held at Hatnadih-Bulandih village in which 45 cows were given vaccination.  Local vet Sri Laduram Mahato conducted these camps.

                                                                  documentation by

Monday, July 23, 2018


WOMEN'S RESOURCE CENTRE A Centre at the village level augmenting women's empowerment effort of Swadhina Village Womens Groups at the grass roots.

Saswati visiting Latia WRC, Mosaboni, Jharkhand
Swadhina’s one of the main stake is the concept of Women’s Resource Centre.  In all the working areas there are WRC which is primarily a support centre for women’s  empowerment and livelihood enhancement activities .

WRC is run by local Swadhina Village Women’s Group. Each WRC covers one or more such local village groups. Each WRC is managed by a local volunteer staff of Swadhina. What are the functions of a WRC ?

1.   -  It is an oraganisinsg point  for Swadhina campaign materials - like posters, flex, banners, charts, flash-cards on social issues, for the use of local women’s groups,
Kadamdih WRC

2.    - It provides documents and forms for various welfare schemes of the government or other organisations, especially relevant to women and children development,

3.     -It displays the dates of forthcoming public events like Aam Sabhas, Development Meetings, Block Level Events etc . on a Notice Board and Blackboard,

4.     -It holds a tin-trunk library of simple-to-read books, magazines, booklets relevant to the women’s groups

5.     -It  stores study materials, cut-outs, pictures,  and other audio-visual materials

6.     -It is also the regular meeting and event room for the local Swadhina Village Women’s Group.
-    -It is the place where Mahila Nabodoya (women's social learning)  a two hour classes five days week held for social awareness building and literacy promotion for local village women. 
Taladih WRC, Purulia district, West Bengal
 Following are details of the WRC:

1.     LATIA WRC is located at Latia village which is near Mosaboni and Ms. Papiya Sharma is the in-charge here. This WRC covers 3 Village Women’s Groiups - Latia, Badiya and Dungridih villages in the Mosaboni Block, in East Singbhum of Jharkhand State.

2.     SOHDA WRC is located at Surda Crossing which is on Mosasboni-Tata road and
Bhabesh Kumar Mahato is the in-charge. This WRC covers Sohda village which is  about half a kilometre away and it is in East Singbhum district in Jharkhand state.

Motihari WRC, East Champaran,  Bihar
3.     KADAMDIH WRC is located at the crossing of Kadamdih and Amainagar in Ghatsila Block in East Singbhum district of Jharkhand state. The WRC covers the Swadhina Village Women’s Groups of the two villages. Karmi Kisku is the in-charge.

4.     BORDIH WRC is located in the village of Bordih, in one of the rooms in Swadnhina field office, in the Patamda Block of East Singbhum in Jharkhand. Women from in and around the village are covered through this centre. Basumati Mahato is in charge of this WRC.

Bordih WRC, East Singbhum, Jharkhand
5.     DHARGAAN WRC is in West Bengal state, in the district of Purulia, in the block of Barabazar. It is also accessible from East Singbhum district of Jharkhand as it is located at the border area. Usharani Mahato manages this centre.

6.     TALADIH WRC is primarily a tribal majority village in the district of Purulia in West Bengal. It belongs to Burrabazar block. Usha Mahato is the Centre-in-Charge.
      It coversTaladih, Bongora and Charrih villages.

7.      MOTIHARI WRC is Belbanwa area of East Champaran District of the state of Bihar. The area is an amalgamation of different castes. Vetran social worker Rambhabala Srivastav is in charge of the WRC in the area.

8.     INDIRANAGAR WRC is in Betnoti-Mayurbhanj district of Odisha and located near the forest region. Nirmala Sahu is a powerful local leader and in charge of the WRC.

Sohda WRC, East Singbhum, Jharkhand 

9.     BHURUDABANI WRC is in the tribal and forest heartland of Mayurbhanj district of Odisha state. Manorama Tudu is the WRC head here.

10.            VELLIYAVILAI WRC is located as a support to the women of the local fisher-folk community in the Nagercoil region of the state of Tamil Nadu. D. Suganthi is a well-known local woman leader and WRC in-charge.

- Diptendu Mukherji


Swadhina/ERM Training - Smokeless Earthen Oven

Swadhina/ERM Rural Environment Awareness & Action Effort
- Training Rural Women on  Dhumraheen Chullah 
    (Smokeless Earthen Oven) 

One of the most important aspect in rural life is the cooking procedure. While a large part of our rural folks still use firewood-fed oven they face several hazards. 

Gathering of soil and mixing is the first step
Softening of the soil with legs is the next step
Since most of the cooking task is accomplished by women, naturally they face the brunt of it. 
1 .Health Hazard: It is estimated that the smoke emanated and inhaled by women in a day is equivalent to puffing 20 cigarettes ! Hence something definitely need be done in this front. 

2.Pollution: This is obvious that the smoke also produce large scale smoke pollution for the children playing around the home, and, all other
giving it a shape of oven definitely is an art
family members. Alternatively, by using this oven, two cooking pots can simulta-neously be used, thereby saving 
on fire-wood. It is also important to note that the rural poor use dry tree branches, dry leaves and hay as fuel, and, they do not use
Gradually taking the shape of a rural oven
timber, neither they harm or tinker with forest resources. 

The first step towards this programme is rural technology transfer, hence we are identifying interested village women and providing them with hands on practical training in their house. Karmi Kisku, Srimati Kisku,  Sarthi Soy among them have picked up the skill very well. During the period of reporting, aready eight families have been practically trained on Smokeless Oven making, with locally available resources like stone and soil

                                                                                                            Documentation by: 

Friday, July 20, 2018


SWADHINA/ERM : Training On Organic Farming:
A two day training on Organic Farming was held at Ghatsila area on 8th and 9th April, 2018. The programme started with registration of participants who were invited from among the

working villages of Swadhina of East Singbhum, Jharkhand. The participant arrived at the venue at 9 a.m. Introducing the programme of the workshop Ms. Saswati Roy, Secretary of
Swadhina explained that this training is a very important one because of it is very crucial for all of us to safeguard ourselves and as well as our earth. Organic farming at one hand save our health in the sense it can provide us with chemical free vegetables and fruits. On the other hand it saves the health of the earth from the pollution which happens due to over use of chemical fertilizers and chemical pesticides.

Thereafter, Ms. Smriti Sarkar conducted an interesting session on Organic Farming using the Training Booklet named “Jaiba Chaas” prepared specially for training on the subject. She explained that Organic Farming helped all lives present on earth – human, animals, birds, and fish, by way of providing them with required safe food and nutrition. Moreover it helps preservation of ecological balance, sustain healthy environment and repair the damage already caused by the so called modern forms of hybrid chemical based farming.

Ms. Rina Acharjee, the next facilitator expained on “compost fertilizers. Explaining her personal experience on this she said Swadhina had earlier helped villagers to make a large number of compost pits in Patamdah rural area in the East Singbhum district. This can easily be replicated in this area, she added. Explaining the technical details she said it should be ideally 3 feet long, 3 feet broad and 3 feed deep pit. All available waste like dry leaves, hay, paddy husk, cow dung, chicken or duck droppings and, anything that is naturally available. It should then be covered with lose soil, after adding a little water just to make it moist.

Hereafter there was a lively session on the question raised by the ERM team “what are the organic fertilizers the Swadhia using at present ?”. Yeshoda Mardi, one the village participant and also who herself maintain an kitchen garden explained various types of fertilizers. She was one of the 6 participants who attended Organic Farming training held in Tirupati. Some of the fertilizers were using: “Rotten Fruit and jaggery”, “Fermented Rice”, “Egg Shells”, “Rotten Fish”. For pesticides, simple things like neem leaves, tobacco leaves, common village oven ash etc.

Ms. Sreemoyee Bhattacharya, ERM made a very interesting power point presentation on organic fertilizers and pesticides and the immense benefits we get through them.

There was a very informative discussion on Green Revolution which was fostered in India a few decades ago. No doubt it helped producing high quantity of food grains in the country, and, it also provided great profit for the farmers. But the irony is that it also made long range damage to the soil due to heavy usage of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

The second day session was held on May 9, 2018, at the Benasole village, a few kilometer away from Ghatsila. The session started with a small ceremony as this was the birth anniversary of poet and nobel laurette Rabindranath, and the participants sang together the poet’s song “ Aguner Parashmoni”.

Sri Laduram Mahato who was supervising earlier the Kitchen Garden programme of Swadhina in the area explained the formation of the garden. He explained that there is a need for
maintaining a specific area for the garden. The recommended size is 24’x14’. Each bed should be 4’ broad. There should be 2’ passage in both the sides and  middle. It is suggested that there should be bamboo made fence all round, and, discarded fish-net is available in the market for nominal cost. This net can be used for covering to prevent small chiken harming the saplings. Soil should be made very lose and “Rotten Fruit Fertilizer’ with half cup : one large bucket  ratio can by sprinkled with hand, a week before sowing the seeds. The idea of kitchen garden is to have many varieties of vegetables – the idea is not quantifying the yield. But to have limited number of plants of many varieties so that there is regular vegetables in the kitchen for all in the family ! A few marigold can be planted on the sides which will prevent insects and pests. Neem water can be sprinkled from time to time to prevent the invasion of insects and pests.

Each participant was given a small seed packet as a token of involvement.

The training came to end with the participants singing together a social song.

The participants were : Yeshoda Mardi, Lalita Purty, Sarth Soy, Kapura Tudu, Saraswati
Mardi, Dipika Soren, Champa Murmu, Sunita Murmu, Jamuna Soren, Bali Soren (Benasole),  Soma Karmakar, Sabia Sundi, Mari Bari (Fouzi) Karmi Kisku, Sulekha Kisku (Kadamdih)
Papia Sharma (Latia) Madhumita Sarkar (Mosaboni) Supriti Murmu (Burudih), Rina Acharjee (Purulia), Laduram Mahato (Hurumbil), Saswati Roy (Ghatsila), Smriti Sarkar (Kolkata), Sonia Bhattacharya, Sreemoyee Bhattacharya, Soumi Ghose (ERM)