RDWS has been successfully implemented the project on training in income generation activities, skill improvement and rural entrepreneurship and promotion of self help groups(SHG’s) since 15th May 2004 in five of our target villages in Pachipenta Mandal in Viziangaram District of Andhra Pradesh in South India. The achievements under the project in brief are mentioned below:

In the beginning itself, we had been conducted village wise motivation (Grama Sabha) camps where we had identified trainees through personal interaction and by organizing them into group discussion to asses their interest on the vocational skill training. We are successfully identified 50 women in the age group of 16 to 45 years from five villages. There are 10 women were selected from each village.

We had been identified one suitable place at Panchali village for conducting skill-training classes in Agarbathi (Incense-sticks) making. This center is easily accessible for all the trainees. And we started classes for 50 trainees. There is one Instructor and one Project Co-ordinator is appointed to look after the smooth running of this center.

We had been organized one exposure trip for all the trainees for observation and to understand the concept of other units in this district. This exposure had helped them to learn and adopt various systems of different activities.

There are 5 Self Help Groups (SHG’s) with 50 women trainees were formed in 5 villages. All the members were equipped with regular orientation on thrift and credit activities, health and hygiene and about marketing of their products etc. All these members were saved an amount of Rs 50,000/- (Indian rupees-Fifty thousand only) as each member saved an amount of Rs.1,000/- (one thousand only).

All the 50 women trainees were successfully completed vocational training in Incense-Sticks making and successfully obtained support from the near by Banks to start their own self employment units on group basis. Our RDWS had helped all these 5 SHG’s to get support in the form of low interest soft loans from the nearest Andhra Bank. We are also provided with five machines worth of Rs. 15,000/- (Indian Rupees-Fifteen thousand only) to all 5 SHG’s. Each machine would cost about Rs. 3,000/- (Indian Rupees – Three thousand only). All these members will use these machines on rotation basis in their day-to-day work. Our cluster area Bank provided an amount of Rs. 10,000/- (Indian Rupees-Ten thousand only) to each SHG consists of 10 women trainees to start their own self-employment unit in a group. Besides of this loan, each member was saved an amount of Rs. 1,000/- (Indian Rupees-One thousand only). Both their savings and loan from the bank is helped them to start their own units in their respective villages. In regard to marketing of their products, SHG’s had played an crucial role for effective marketing of Incense Sticks in the near by urban markets.

Adda Leaf is a demand based product used in functions, marriages, restaurants and hotels as an innovative article for serving food. Major requirement is in urban areas, district head quarters and neighboring towns. These leaf-plates are made out of leaves from the near by forests. These can be made in different shapes and sizes. These plates look attractive, leak-proof and hygienic and are being used for taking breakfast and also in ceremonial functions for lunch and dinner. Recently people started liking innovative method of serving food. This product is having good market in urban areas like Salur, Parvathipuram, Gajapathinagaram, Vizianagaram, Srikakulam and Visakhapatnam. Expected market demand in the above areas is around 7.5 lakhs Nos. of leaf – plates. There is a good scope for new units. Super Markets, larger general stores in urban centres, hotels and restaurants are bulk customers. In regard to availability of raw materials that add leaves were easily available in the surrounding areas for this product. These plates are substitute for paper plates due to its low cost and it has become a common practice to use these plates in marriage parties, dinners and other ceremonial functions as these are disposable and environmental friendly product.

These adda leaves are stitched on a sewing machine in a required safe. Paper of same size is placed on stitched leaf and heated with pressing machine/electrical iron box. Due to heat, that paper sticks to the leaf. The strengthened leaf shall be subjected to hydralic pressing with heating arrangement. The pressed plate gets the safe and needs trimming. The finished plates are packed in polythene bags in 50 Nos. batch.

This year, RDWS has started a training programme on Leaf- Plate making with 50 tribal women in Panchali village where one training and production center was established. All these women are now able to produce these leaf plates in good quality for good marketing. RDWS has made follow up action to help these women to start their own production units at their respective villages for their livelihood generation.