The Adivasi Innovation Hub - Latest from our partner organization Accord
The past few months have been a real roller coaster ride. The high point was the launch of the Adivasi Innovation Hub, which has been many months in the making. The low point - after having successfully staved off COVID 19 in the first wave, this second wave crept into the community in spite of our best efforts. Dealing with this became our priority – and all our energies were focused on dealing with this. Once again a coordinated strategy between the AMS, ASHWINI, Vidyodaya, The Shola Trust and ACCORD, in collaboration with the government, allowed us to meet the challenge head-on. And achieve the impossible – 100% vaccination of the community among other things.
The Adivasi Innovation Hub (AIH)
The core idea behind AIH is to enable the community to be economically independent and to change the economic base, which predominantly depends on daily wages. The AIH has already kick- started two Proof of Concepts – Adivasi Aadithya Amaippu, a solar energy enterprise in collaboration with SELCO FOUNDATION and an eco-friendly sanitary cloth pad unit– yet to be christened! Suggestions welcome.
Emerged from ACCORDs discussions with SELCO Foundation, was to explore possibilities of leveraging renewable energy based solutions for locations that didn't have access to the grid. We have 9 young Paniya youth aged between 18 and 23 committed to developing this entire initiative into an enterprise.
A small team of Paniya youth who have shown interest in photography and videography readily came forward to support COVID-19 relief operations. They camped at Gudalur and set up a Covid Crisis Centre. They are in constant touch with the community health volunteers to check if people have symptoms or other health emergencies at their villages - this enables us to detect needs early on. They also call patients who have been tested positive to keep track of their health status.
They have developed a number of videos and audio messages in Adivasi languages to create awareness about COVID-19 precautions and vaccinations.
The rations from PDS become available in the first week of each month and the community exhausts the rations in two weeks. Post that, they generally buy the required rations for the coming weeks. Given the lockdown and the community being cut out from daily wages, we anticipated food support that the community might need. We arranged for dry and wet rations to be distributed to the communities.
We are distributing the food rations as and when the demand for the same arises. We saw requests coming in from village elders who have not been able to go for daily wages, villages that have been isolated due to positive cases in that village and from families that do not have ration cards.
has been a tumultuous three months. Most of it dominated by our COVID
response. But as you can see this didn’t stop us from getting AIH off
the ground, recruiting new people and continuing to constantly respond
to the community’s needs – both short term and long term. While we had
to put on hold all the village meetings, the youth meetings and our own
team meetings – our work continued with the same vigour as always.
Through these difficult and unpredictable times, we drew strength from a variety of sources.
First of all, from the community who responded with faith and trust. Our amazing team on the ground pulled out all the stops and proved the value of our 35 plus years of work here in Gudalur. The support team backed our area teams and the community every step of the way. The committed officers of the government stepped out of their conventional roles and trekked from village to village often on foot. But, behind it all, our supporters came forward with all kinds of help both in cash and kind to keep us going. Many of you called in asking how we were and wishing us well. This meant the world to us, like having an arm around the shoulder.
A big thank you from the bottom of our hearts!