Hyderabad: Six women of the Deccan Development Society in Telangana state have been awarded the United Nations Equator Prize for their grassroot level work in the field of agriculture and natural, innovative solutions for climate change.
Ms Chilkapalli Ansuyamma, a single woman, was awarded for working along with other sanghams to transform wastelands into neighbourhood forests by planting trees.
Mr P.V. Satheesh, director of Deccan Development Society, explained, “We have 5,000 women working with us in various sanghams and they work in their community and local environments where the stress is on nature based solutions to climate change and sustainable development. The society was started in 2002 to create an effort at the grassroot level to work towards food and nutritional security and also protect the environment and village culture.”
The society which has received many local, regional and national awards is elated by the award of the United Nations which will be received by the community members in September 2019.
They are grassroots workers working towards afforestation, preserving land fertility, conserving traditional seed varieties and creating small medicinal sanctuaries around the villages. They are heads of groups where many other women in the community and village level are being encouraged to carry out the same work.
The six women awarded include Ms Maisanagari Ratnamma, leader of the women’s sanghams in Algole, the first rural Dalit women recipient of the Vriksha Mitra award from the Union ministry of environment as far back as 1993 for preserving land fertility and restoring tree cover in the forest area.
Another awardee is Ms Begari Tuljamma from Pastapur, a representative of over 30 sanghams carried out the revolutionary community designed, community controlled localised public distribution system in which over 5,300 acres of village fallows wore a millet cover and halted the desertification of farm lands in the Zaheerabad region.
Ms Nagwar Sunandamma, representing the Indu sangham of the society, has been awarded for turning a 90-acre stony life-less hillock into a lush green forest, planting over 2 lakh trees and contributing to the fight against climate change.
The fourth awardee is Ms Yerrolla Kanakamma from Machnoor who for over 25 years, protected a patch of land on which she and her sangham established a sanctuary for rare local medicinal plants and turned it into common practice in the village.
The fifth winner is Ms Nadimidoddi Anjamma from Gangwar who saved and conserved nearly 100 traditional seed varieties and has been a community seed keeper for over 25 years. She has been awarded many local, regional and national awards and is an example how an ecologically conscious woman can transcend her marginalisation, gender and economic deprivations....