Salim Ali Foundation has initiated a project in partnership with Vellangallur Grama Panchayat and residents to demonstrate ecologically sound, self-sustaining development.
Through this project SAF aims to show how local self government institutions can improve the quality of life of the people while protecting and enriching the environment. The vision is to ensure clean air, clean water, clean food, a roof to live, hygienic surroundings, energy security, basic health care facilities and basic education for each individual.
A flagship project in the country that aims to explore fully the potential of the 73rd and 74th amendments for decentralized governance, and realize the most cherished dream of Mahatma Gandhi – Grama Swaraj.
SAF has taken up the following components of work to realize the vision.
1. Agriculture and Animal Husbandry
SAF is working with the panchayat to implement Kerala’s Organic Farming Policy in its entirety. It is exploring ways to bring all fallow land into food crop cultivation. The emphasis is on making available clean, safe organic food locally at affordable prices, to “make mother’s milk poison-free”. Also to help farmers sell the surplus in external markets to make farming profitable. Livestock rearing is encouraged- local breeds as far as possible- primarily for organic manure, but also for milk, meat, egg etc.
2. Water Security and Aquaculture
SAF believes that true water security can be achieved not through piped distribution of water, but through the conservation of wetlands and the restoration and maintenance of water bodies, wells and ponds. Roof water harvesting is actively advocated for the water security of each home. Aquaculture is encouraged in ponds, wetlands and paddy lands, to generate an additional economic incentive for people to protect them, apart from being an important source of nutritive food.
3. Cottage/Small scale industry
Revival of cottage industries that used to flourish but declined for various reasons. Exploration of new avenues that can make use of currently untapped local resources and manpower. Establishment of a company for the marketing of all products from Vellangallur – to ensure maximum benefit for the producer.
4. Green Housing and Non-Conventional Energy
In each existing house: zero-waste management, energy saving devices and practices, solar electricity, bio-gas for cooking, kitchen garden. Awareness drives for environment-friendly building practices and minimum use of non-renewable resources in the construction of new houses.
5. Health care, Waste Management and Sanitation
Regular health monitoring by practitioners of different disciplines, food and life style awareness programme, hygiene awareness programme. Proper waste disposal in homes, hospitals, markets, commercial establishments etc.
Given the fairly rigid structure of the prevalent academic programme, the focus will be to expose the children to nature conservation and livelihood options, and to equip them to make choices about their own future upon finishing school.
Salim Ali Foundation offers opportunities to bright, young students and researchers for working on internships and dissertation. Given the inter-disciplinary nature of the project, there are openings for individuals with a variety of interest areas, ranging from organic farming and aquaculture, to wetland and biodiversity conservation, to community health and, local self government. For more details, please write to mail[at]salimalifoundation.org
More details soon: page under development.