Some of our recent achievements are as follows:
- After our successful effort to protect and regenerate the ‘Timbaktu’ agro-forest habitat, we engaged with local communities on the same theme, resulting in the establishment of the Kalpavalli Tree Growers’ Cooperative and the ‘Kalpavalli Community Conservation Area’ (KCCA). The KCCA now covers 9,000 acres of contiguous village common lands and serves as a critical biodiversity reserve and wildlife corridor. The KCCA is arguably one of India’s largest community-led environmental restoration sites and is home to endangered wildlife such as the Indian Grey Wolf, Black Buck, Leopard, Sloth Bear, Hyena etc.
- We are enabling thousands of rural women, constrained by layers of discrimination, to become financially self-reliant and challenge prevalent gender bias from a position of strength. We have set-up four women’s thrift and credit cooperatives grouped under the ‘Mahasakthi Federation’, with its members pooling their savings, providing loans to each other and taking up leadership positions. As on November 2018, the Mahasakthi Federation had 22,231 members and a capital base of 25.16 crores.
- We have organised 2,068 small holder farmers (as on November 2018) working on around 12,000 acres of land into the Dharani Farming and Marketing Cooperative (Dharani FaM Coop), which procures, processes and markets their organic produce under the brand name ‘Timbaktu Organic’. They are certified organic under the Participatory Guarantee System. The cooperative, now a profit-making entity, is popularizing traditional, nutrient-rich millet crops and has established a significant presence in the organic food market in south India. In 2017-18, Dharani had an annual revenue of Rs. 3.05 crore.
- The Collective’s Enterprise Development programme, initiated in April 2016, is making rapid strides. The Timbaktu Shop (owned by Dharani FaM Coop, managed by the programme staff, and which sells three brands – Timbaktu Organic, Timbaktu Weaves, and Timbaktu Handcrafted Soap) has achieved incredible sales in the eight months since it was setup in April 2018 at the Chennekothapalli-NH44 junction. The producers behind Timbaktu Weaves and Timbaktu Handcrafted Soap are the Bhavani Weaving Unit – comprising of young rural women from difficult circumstances, and the Militha Livelihood Unit – comprising of 10 Board members of the Prathibha Cooperative of Persons with Disabilities).
- Since 1992, we have supported around 1,500 underprivileged children to get access to primary and secondary education in a safe and protective environment through the privately-run, free-of-cost ‘Nature School’. At present, the Collective runs a small residential school for 51 children from disadvantaged families – called the Prakruthi Badi in Timbaktu, as well as the Children and Youth Resource Centre in Chennekothapalli. As part of its Mogga project, an outreach programme to local children that focuses on ecological rights, the Collective reaches out to 2,010 children who are members of 48 Balala Sanghas in 42 villages. In addition, the Collective’s Navayuvatha project for youth reaches out to around 60 individuals.
- The Gramasiri Cooperative, the producer-owned livelihood Cooperative for landless labourers, has 1,061 shareholders and a capital base of Rs. 2.10 crores as on November 2018. It procures and sells sheep and goats reared by its members, and in March 2018, setup the Gramasiri Fresh Mutton Shop in Penukonda.
- The Prathibha Cooperative (of persons with disabilities) has 1,567 members from 109 villages. It provides loans to its members at reasonable interest rates for livelihood enhancement, while the Collective provides them with health and rehabilitation services.
- The Collective, along with Sustainable Agriculture Tanzania (SA), received the Lush Spring Prize 2017 in the ‘Established Projects’ category. The award, which is sponsored by the UK-based cosmetics major Lush Ltd, and the Ethical Consumer Magazine, recognizes initiatives and institutions across the world which contribute to social and environment regeneration. The Collective received a prize of £25,000 at the award ceremony in the Emerson College in East Sussex, United Kingdom.
- The Collective was the joint-winner of the ‘Gold’ prize at the ‘One World Award 2014’, which is conferred by Rapunzel Naturkost, Germany’s leading organic food company, and IFOAM-Organics International. The other winner of the prize was The Korean Hansalim Federation. The objectives of the biennial award are to promote innovative activities that contribute to ecological, social and economic sustainability; to recognize creative solutions in environmental protection and fair livelihoods; and to encourage projects “that foster a loveable, liveable future alongside peaceful community building.