The story of Adivasi Tribal people in a south indian forest becoming self reliant – again! Part 3
Currently we are dedicating a percentage of Pink Namaste's proceeds to supporting a vibrant, well established and growing organistation called ACCORD (Action for Community Organisation, Rehabilitation and Development) ACCORD was born in November 1985 to help the Adivasi community of the Gudalur Valley in the Nilgiris district of Tamil Nadu to take control of their own lives as they were being cheated and exploited and might soon have disappeared off the face of the earth, as is the fate of so many tribal populations worldwide.
We are proud to be developing our partnership with ACCORD with a perspective on future collaboration of developing trade and mutually beneficial exchange.
Blog- part 3 Development programs- Health:
ACCORD began a multi-pronged approach:
On the activist side - community and cultural organisation, people power, legal training camps and advocacy.
On the developmental side - health, education, housing and economic development.
has right from it’s inception, always had two arms.
professionals or support team whose role is that of a catalyst.
2*The Adivasi team being trained to take the community into the challenges of the 21st century
This value was expressed by the Adivasi community as well. It was clear, from day one therefore, that ACCORD’s task is to make the process of change irreversible and sustainable. Hence, the strategy envisaged was to institutionalise the development programs, train the Adivasi youth to manage these institutions by providing necessary managerial and technical skills and to encourage the Adivasi sangams to govern these institutions.
HEALTH DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM
The health situation of the Adivasis was pathetic. There was an urgent need to prevent unnecessary deaths and provide health care. So, ACCORD launched the community health program in the villages – training Adivasi women on preventive health care, immunising and monitoring the pregnant women and children, and improving health awareness in the community. This intensive program immediately resulted in a dramatic improvement in the health status of the Adivasi community.
Eventually, the entire health program was hived off as a separate organisation called ASHWINI, which is at present covering over 220 Adivasi villages through 8 health sub-centres and the Gudalur Adivasi Hospital. All the nurses in the hospital and the health animators in the sub-centres are chosen from the Adivasi community by the village sangams. They were trained intensively by well-qualified doctors to provide comprehensive health care to the Adivasi community.
Today, maternal mortality of the Adivasi women in Gudalur Valley has been reduced to zero - thanks to the elaborate Ante Natal Care provided to all the AMS members. A systematic immunisation programme has succeeded in bringing down the death rate among the Adivasi children. The infant mortality rate among the AMS families is less than half of the national average. Given the extremely difficult physical terrain in the area and poor economic conditions of the Adivasis, this is no mean an achievement. This was possible only due to the sustained involvement of a large number of women and men in the Adivasi community at various levels. A wealth of knowledge and resource persons have been created in the Adivasi villages.
The Executive Committee of ASHWINI is comprised entirely of Adivasi members. The entire financing of the health program is being managed by ASHWINI independently through internal incomes, donor support and with the help of an innovative health insurance program.
Read about the economic development program in our next blog!