The tribal people of India, also known as Adivasis, represent communities that have kept ancient means of livelihood, culture, and beliefs.
Jhabua district of Madhya Pradesh, 150 km from Indore is home to the Bhil tribe also referred to as the ‘brave bowmen of India’. The Vanvasi of Jhabua is a community that upholds the values of paying back to nature. They do so by their different traditions and festivals which have been followed in the community for ages. One of them being halma. Halma provides us with a beautiful opportunity to clear our misconceptions, learn about the Vanvasi of Jhabua and celebrate the spirit of serving mother earth.
Taking up a community project with the help from Shiv Ganga Foundation, an Environmental Conservation Organisation, Enactus students are motivated towards this project to inspire hope, create opportunities and ultimately improve lives and strengthen communities as the community empowerment projects are at the heart of Enactus. Our various visits to Jhabua has been an amazing learning experience, where we noted a lot of issues that the people of Jhabua are facing. After analyzing all problems on various parameters like sustainability, feasibility, execution, innovation, revenue, impact, scalability, receptivity of stakeholders, etc, we came to the conclusion that debt crisis due to inorganic way of farming and high indoor smoke issues due to chulhas in houses are among the major problems that the people of Jhabua are facing right now, where we can come to their aid. We’ll provide a further insight on both of these problems.
Currently, the people of Jhabua are following inorganic ways of farming that has nevertheless led them to fall in a huge debt crisis due to high cost input in fertilizers and pesticides. In addition to this, they have been compelled to migrate to other nearby states (such as Gujarat , Maharashtra etc) to work as labourers in order to sustain their lives in the non-cropping season and this labour work makes their lives miserable. In order to solve this problem, we are working to find an organic way of producing crops and vegetables which will save farmers from paying huge amounts on fertilizers and pesticides as farmers could easily make them on their own. Also, these organic manures and pesticides will lead to increase the fertility of soil and kill pests from crops respectively. Later on, we will set up a supply chain in order to sell those organically grown crops and vegetables. Also, to generate an earning in non-cropping season, we will try to set up a secondary source of income for them.
Jhabua is enriched with renewable sources of energy like wind, solar, hydro and thermal. Biogas, being a sustainable source which can be implemented effectively in a relatively short span of time, has been decided upon, to be the solution to their high smoke problem from the chulhas. Moreover, biogas can also be used to fulfil their requirements of electricity and fuel as well. The effective implementation requires providing the people of jhabua with the necessary skill set, for them to build their own feasible, economical and profitable bio gas plant. All of this requires entails of research work, product development and management, while constantly keeping in mind the culture of Jhabua and the ideology of the people there.