Revisiting Deccan Development Society: A Tale Of Dalit & Marginalised Women Saving The Environment

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Read the full article by Bharti Varun in FII

Deccan Development Society (DDS) is a 5000 member society of women coming from the poorest and marginalized sections of our society. It operates through Sanghams (small groups), spread over 75 villages. This organisation received the UNDP Equator Prize in September 2019 for their dedication and significant contribution towards a sustainable environment. The award calls DDS Sangham women as ‘an outstanding example of a local, nature-based solution to climate change and sustainable development.’ The Deccan Development Society received the Biodiversity Award on 11th June 2020, of the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation for their contribution in preserving the planet.

Their climate and environment friendly agricultural practices have helped not only in securing livelihoods but also ensured proper health and nutrition. For instance, the women lay more emphasis on growing Yellow Sorghum which has more benefits according to them. It requires dry soil for growth, used in fetching and thatching. The farm to kitchen model is a good indicator of food culture. Sorghum and pigeon peas are grown as companion crops as the same combination is used in kitchen food. Hence, biodiversity becomes a celebration of ecological life here which is an expression of symbiotic relationship among farmers, soil, agriculture and environment.

Their undeterred contribution to fight against all odds of environment has made them evolve innovative practices and have established a firm belief in millet crops having extraordinary capacity to withstand climate change. The women emphasize much on the nutritional value of these traditional crops. These women not only demand the recognition of millet crops but expect that the Prime Minister’s call for millet revolution can only be achieved through state policies such as Kisan Samman Yojana that majorly focuses on millet farmers receiving Rs.10, 000 per acre per year as an imperative. In this regard, The AIMS (All India Millet Sisters) had launched an all India campaign for the inclusion of millets in the Public Distributive Systems which was a promise made in the Food Security Act of India, 2013.

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Posted on

July 18, 2020

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