Eco-Development Committees (EDC) Benefits

The overall initiative towards revitalising our tribal communities began with understanding the deep need of their own involvement in the process. The prevalent social and economic structure had forced a majority of its members to resort to fishing, poaching, and illegal wood-cutting as a source of income. Concerted efforts were thus made to ensure that their dependency on the forest would reduce as only such a shift in lifestyle would discourage the illegal activities and more financial avenues could be opened up for their benefit.

Eco-Development Committees (EDC) were formed in different villages, with locals themselves striving to find innovative and alternative livelihood methods, and driving the discussion on the various needs and desires of their own communities. Those who were initially forced to participate in illegal activities now became part of the solution itself. Many involved in smuggling, poaching, debarking of cinnamon trees etc. have pledged to conserve the beauty and diversity of their surroundings. Now they are part of the patrolling group of the Forest Department and help chase away poachers and illegal wood cutters. Along with lending a hand to the Forest Department officials, many tribals provide aide to tourists who wish to explore the many secrets and hidden trails that adorn God's Own Country.

The EDCs helped market these communities directly to the whole world. A Bamboo Rafting Programme for tourists too was initiated keeping in mind the upliftment of the tribal community through such tourism-related activities. The EDCs were also empowered to collect and market pepper directly. More community integrating activities included the Tribal Trekkers' Eco-Development Committee and a Periyar Tiger Samrakshnan Eco-Development Committee. These actually helped government officials collect census data and aid in scientific research into floral and faunal life. VasanthSena, a self-help group for women, regularly aids the authorities by providing constant patrols of reserve areas. All of these initiatives recognized the legitimacy of the tribal community in the forests and ensured that the link between these communities and the forest is never violated, while healing them slowly to integrate with the ever evolving world.

  Introduction of Eco development ProjectOngoing Project  



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