February 2015

The 2015 ride raised funds for ACCORD  to support our ongoing work to build up the self reliance of the adivasis of the Gudalur Valley. This year our focus has been on the promotion of Community Governance and activities to gain more  control over the Local economy.

So the major activities (among many others) this year included:

– supporting the adivasis in various ways to navigate through all the procedural hurdles needed to implement the Forest Rights Act. The Forest Rights Act is an attempt to correct a historical wrong by recognising the rights of tribals over forests. Previously they were seen as encroachers in forest and were frequently and severely punished for doing simple things like collecting honey, or grasses to thatch their roof. Things they did for centuries. This Act changes all that and we are working very hard to ensure its proper implementation.

– Accessing government schemes and benefits. We found that many adivasis are not able to access basic government welfare measures like ration cards, community certificates, MNREGA, etc. Many don’t have birth certificates – an absolute must to establish their identity.  So the focus this year was to ensure that ALL adivasis were able to access these various schemes and provisions.

– Savings and community banking: We have begun the process to start community banking – a programme by which adivasis can save their money in a common pool and access it as and when they need it. Hopefully this will grow into a full fledged bank over time!!

ACCORD thanks everybody involved with GoMAD last year for supporting our work and making the tour a grand success!