Our Work

KZSVS - An Initiative to improve the quality of life of the poorest and most disadvantaged members of the society

Our Work

KZSVS aims to improve the quality of life of poorest and most disadvantaged members of the society in Kandhamal district of Odisha through community empowerment.

KZSVS is a leading voluntary organization established at Daringbadi in the year of 2004 for aim to provide social and economic service to rural poor and tribal resided in hill and remote area. It is a unique organization aim to rejuvenate the use herbal & medicinal plant for treatment of different disease which is more economical and accessible to tribal poor. Besides it also provides various other social, educational, economical services to the rural poor. more

  • Millet Farming System
    Millet based bio-diverse farming system, unlike other farming system offers ability to transform small farms towards greater productivity by increasing soil fertility and stability, optimizing water use, diversifying crops and incomes, building resilience to climate change, achieving high yields under difficult conditions and creating new local markets. Given the necessary information provision and extension services, this is an affordable low-risk strategy for smallholders. Thus, KZSVS by intervening in millet based bio-diverse farming values and proposes redesigning agriculture in an era of climate change entails investing more resources, research and training, the provision of appropriate policy support and is working with 448 farmers in 24 villages in Tumudibandha Block of Kandhamal district of Odisha; out of which 95% farmers belong to Kutia Kondh Community; one of the Primarily Vulnerable Tribal Group.

    As a result of KZSVS’s intervention, there has been increase in number of millets and legume varieties to 25 from 13 and has increased the surplus grain at HH level; this has enabled the community to barter/exchange/make cash during lean periods; and has the yield has increased the food basket of the community for another 75 days; hence, it helps in saving the HH economy from spending upon purchasing rice from market. In the whole process, there has been a positive economical shift among the community;KZSVS is also a member of Millet Network of India (MINI) and works with smallholder farmers for reestablishing millets based farming system and expanding the spaces for millets community’s voice in state food & agriculture policy & program.
  • Forest Governance & FRA
    Forestland cultivation and forest products like Sal and Siali leaf, Mahua, tubers, honey etc. constitute one of the primary sources of livelihoods for Tribal and agrarian communities inhibiting the areas of our intervention in Nayagarh, Kandhamal and Rayagada District. Forests not only provide them critical source of livelihoods but also forms the basis of their social and cultural identity. The customary practices and traditions revolve around forests and they play a significant role in protection and management of these fast depleting resources in 70% of the villages. However, various systems of forest governance ranging from colonial system to present one failed to acknowledge the customary rights of local communities over forests leading to insecurity of tenure and continuous contestations for rights. The enactment of the Forest Rights Act in 2006 with its focus on vesting individual and community forest rights on forestland to tribal and forest dwelling communities raised the possibilities of minimizing the perpetual disputes relating to forest governance.

    KZSVS, with its support for participatory forest governance, made use of the opportunity provided by the progressive legislation of FRA and initiated processes for strengthening of local institutions like Palli Sabha, community organization like “Nagabali Upatyaka Bikash Manch” and settlement of ownership rights on forestland and community forest resource. Our emphasis on legal right over forestland prompted us to mobilize communities for filing claims under FRA for title on customarily used forestland and community forest resources. A model community claim has been developed in Murkakana village of Kalyansingpur block in Rayagada district of Odisha and a model booklet has been published as resource guide for govt. officials, civil society groups and other activists involved in FRA process. Till date, 347 tribal households has received titles over customarily used forest land in Rayagada, Kandhamal and Nayagarh districts. Through convergence, 79 Adivasi households received housing grant titled Indiara Awas Yojana” in Rayagada district. One of the significant accomplishment is 69 villages in Rayagada district have received community rights including community forest resources covering an approximate areas of 10080 acres and another 13 villages in Kandhamal district has received community rights and community forest resources covering an approximate area of 2600 acres.

    After the recognition of CFR rights, KZSVS has facilitated forest management plan in 2 villages (Poduchuan and Karlakana in Rayagada district) involving all stakeholders. The forest management plan reflects existing management practices of communities, livelihood dependency, convergence with other programs etc. KZSVS is in the process of facilitating forest management plan for remaining villages. The facilitation of community rights is a challenging and wonderful experience and there is a good learning from the entire process. To know more about this, please read about KZSVS Approach, Process and Learning on FRA.
  • Environment Change and Governance
    Connected to the Bay of Bengal on the south, with the Eastern Ghats Mountain ranges forming most of its catchment on the north and the west, Chilika is a Ramsar Site of international conservation importance and a biodiversity hotspot in India. Rare, vulnerable, and endangered species inhabit the lagoon. It is the largest wintering ground for migratory waterfowl found anywhere on the Indian subcontinent and home to Irrawaddy dolphins and the Barkudia limbless skink. The total number of fish species is reported to be more than 225.

    According to the Zoological Survey of India survey in 1985-87, along with a variety of phytoplankton, algae, and aquatic plants, the lagoon region also supports over 350 species of nonaquatic plants and over 800 species of fauna. This represents the ecological subsystem of the lagoon and offers a solid ecological foundation to the lagoon small-scale fisheries system. Chilika’s biodiversity is an integral part of sustaining the culture and livelihoods of the roughly 400,000 fishers and their families, who live in more than 150 villages. People in these villages have been engaging in customary fishing occupations for generations. The fishery consists of traditional fisher groups whose vocation is identified by their membership in certain Hindu castes: there are seven different types of fisher castes and five sub-castes in Chilika. The lagoon ecosystem also indirectly supports 0.8 million non-fisher higher caste villagers (e.g., Brahmins, Karans, Khandayat, and Khetriyas) in the watershed areas, whose occupants traditionally engaged in farming, forestry, and other livelihood occupations.

    The lagoon had historically provided a multi-species and small-scale capture fishery. However, in the 1980s, the sudden boost in the international shrimp markets and increase in export prices made shrimp aquaculture a major driver of change in the lagoon. Powerful local elites encroached customary capture fishery sources to use as aquaculture farms which led to resource conflicts. In 2001 a second important driver emerged. The state government created an artificial sea mouth with the Bay of Bengal through a hydrological intervention to deal with persisting siltation problem in the lagoon. The results of the sea mouth backfired as it furthered ecological crisis by increasing the intensity of daily water inflow and outflow, and altering the saltwater-freshwater balance. The social-ecological system of the lagoon came under stress from the adverse impacts of the two drivers acting synergistically. Ecologically, habitats of most key species of fish, crab and shrimps, along with associated species such as Irrawaddy dolphins (Orcaella brevirostris) and migratory birds, were reportedly damaged. Fluctuations in the main biophysical processes led to a change in species composition and altered food webs in the Lagoon indicating an ecological crisis gradually pushing the system towards a major crisis. There were corresponding impacts on the social subsystem as well. Fish production plunged dramatically and the small-scale fish economy including its management and institutional structures began to collapse. There have been corresponding changes in the rights of the fishers to fishery resources of Chilika and the customary tenure arrangements that was recognised through annual lease by government to village fishery cooperative. Policy and civil society responses to the ongoing crisis have not yielded desired results and there are unresolved issues and complex uncertainties looming large for the future of Chilika.

    KZSVS has been working in Chilika Lagoon for over five years now focusing on strengthening the human-environment system of the Lagoon. We felt the need to work on the issues that Chilika faces after closely studying the research findings of Dr. Prateep Kumar Nayak who has been working with the fishers since 2006. The local livelihoods of fisher folks, their access rights to capture fishery sources, and ecological functions of Chilika lagoon have undergone tremendous changes. Chilika began shrimp aquaculture in the 1980s and expanded rapidly. Fishery areas that were traditionally controlled by the caste based fishers were encroached by non-fishers. Fishers lost access to many areas that were converted into aquaculture sites, which led to resource rights regime changes in Chilika. Many traditional fishers began to experience livelihood crisis’ once significant policy changes occurred that justified aquaculture and extended fishing rights to non-fishers. Decades of prawn aquaculture has contributed to the ecological degradation of the Lagoon. The deliberate hydrological intervention of changing the location of the sea mouth opening in 2001 allowed too much sea water to enter the lagoon and caused serious changes to ecosystems. The new sea mouth caused a reduction in the water depth of the lagoon, created a depletion of fish, crab and shrimp, and increased the practice of aquaculture, changing the traditional fishing practices of the lagoon. Fishers were forced to take out high-interest loans and out-migration became significantly more common.

    Ongoing conflicts between traditional fisher folks and the non-fishers have alienated the traditional fisher folks from the Lagoon through the breakdown of fishing-based livelihoods and large-scale occupational displacement of traditional fishers. The local traditional fishing village institutions collapsed, providing no support to the fishers as well as their fish cooperatives. Fisher federations were weakened or completely broke down. Fishing livelihoods are no longer able to support traditional fishers.

    KZSVS collaborated with the University of Waterloo, Canada and the Chilika Fisher Federation to organize a two days’ workshop to create debate and build public opinion on strengthening the human-environment system of the Lagoon. A poetry book titled Ardhasatabdir Chilika was published which vividly depicts the natural grandeur of Chilika, every creature nurtured by it, its enchanting water, the islands, and hamlets peripheral to it, numerous migratory birds, and varieties of fishes playing in its waters. It highlights the picture of ecological foundations of fishing societies and cultures in and around Chilika. These poems stand testimony to the fact that the human and the natural environments they depend upon are highly integral and virtually inseparable.

    KZSVS has also organized a number of policy workshops and discussion forums on Chilika in the last several years. Prominent among those were 1) The Future of Chilika Lagoon (2016), 2) State-level Consultation on Operationalizing the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (2015), 3) Human-Environment relationship in Chilika (2013).

    As part of our ongoing collaboration with the University of Waterloo, Canada, KZSVS has hosted a number of graduate and undergraduate thesis students and interns over the past years. They include: Masters in Sustainability Management students, Ashok Selvaraj on ‘Social-ecological system change and adaptation: A case of Chilika lagoon small-scale fishery, India’ (2014) and Fatima Noor Khan on ‘Women and Environmental Change: A Case Study of Small-Scale Fisheries in Chilika Lagoon’; International Development thesis students Kaitlin Murray on ‘The role of forest governance in food and livelihood security: A case study of KZSVS, Odisha, India’ and Patricia Crisan Szabo on ‘Rapid environmental change, mental health and wellbeing in Chilika Lagoon, India’; Master of Development Practice students Rebecca Armour and Rebecca Thomson as interns.

    KZSVS plans to continue work in Chilika Lagoon area through research, advocacy and information dissemination processes.
  • SRI & Food Security
    In Orissa, cultivation of rice is an important livelihood practice that ensures food security, provides cultural identity, and represents aspirations of the communities. With the growing concern of decreasing productivity among paddy growers, we intervened introducing the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) as our core strategy in strengthening household food security through rice cultivation with organic approach. With the support of CWS-SDTT, promotion of SRI has been up-scaled from 16 villages in July 2009 and now covers three Blocks of Nayagarh district, viz., Nayagarh, Odagaon and Nuagaon. This intervention has resulted in increase in production of rice by 30 % per acre within last two years and decrease in production cost by 35% due to reduction in use of fertilizers. Increasing acceptance of the practice and its growing demand has prompted us to increase our support from only 96 farmers in 2009-10 to 790 farmers in 2010-11.
  • Sustainable Sugarcane Initiative (SSI): More with Less
    Farmers grow sugarcane only on a portion of their land along with a staple food crop like rice. Although sugarcane often determines the economic status of a farmer, it has functioned as an insurance crop to farmers in the midst of climatic variations. In the specific context of Nayagarh district, sugarcane is a second priority crop for the farmers after rice. It contributes largely to boost the economic condition of a household and the community at large. Lately, due to high cost of inputs, scarcity in water and frequently changing climatic conditions, Sugarcane has not been yielding the desired results. Bearing this in mind, KZSVS has sought to increase the productivity of sugarcane by acquiring relevant technical yet simplified knowledge from ICRISAT-WWF i.e. ‘Sustainable Sugarcane Initiative’ (SSI) in the year 2009. The new technology, which increases the sugar content in the cane, requires organic inputs and consumes 75% less seed and 40-60% less water. Currently, From January 2010, KZSVS with support from WWF-ICRISAT has expanded the programme to cover three Blocks of Nayagarh district, i.e. Nayagarh, Nuagaon, Ranapur and one block of Khurda district i.e. Bolagarh. Towards the end of 2012 process with other local civil society networks has been upscaled in Baragarh and Ganjam district and together reached to 604 farmers covering 324 acres. The adoption of SSI technology by sugarcane farmers has led to increase in yields of sugarcane by nearly 25% and substantial reduction in input cost and vulnerability due to lesser use of water and fertilizers. In addition, innovation like vegetable cultivation along with sugarcane cultivation as intercrop in 5 numbers of villages on pilot basis has not only diversified the cropping pattern, but also added the food availability at household level with more options of income.
  • Home Garden and Mushroom cultivation
    An important area of intervention for KZSVS has been the promotion of Home Gardens and Mushroom Cultivation involving women, to provide nutritional security at the household level. Various indigenous vegetables, legumes, spices, roots & tubers and leafy vegetables are being organically cultivated in these home gardens. 623households in 24 villages in Tumudibandha Block of Kandhamal district have already been growing diverse vegetables in their homestead lands. This intervention has also resulted in generating additional income strengthening the family economy.
  • Conservation of Indigenous Seeds
    In our first attempt for conservation of indigenous seeds, farmers in the locality received training to conserve and undertake seeds treatment and select good quality rice seed before and after harvest. They have already conserved 39 indigenous varieties of rice, 25 varieties of Millets and pulses along with indigenous varieties of chilly, ridge gourd and several other vegetables.

    The analytical findings of the nutritional analysis of indigenous varieties of rice in Pristine Laboratories, Bangalore, which is a certified laboratory by Solvent Extractors Association of India (SEAI) and Agmark, Government of India are summarized below.

    Percentage analysis on weight basis indicates that traditional variety Methi Mahipal has lowest carbohydrate content (74.6%) and Balaji has highest carbohydrate content of 78.49%.
    Protein content is highest in improved variety (R-141, 8.14%) followed by traditional variety Balaji, 7.87%.
    Plant origin fat content is very good in Methi Mahipal (4.84%) and other varieties have very negligible plant origin fat.

    The analytical findings of the nutritional analysis of indigenous varieties of rice in Pristine Laboratories, Bangalore, which is a certified laboratory by Solvent Extractors Association of India (SEAI) and Agmark, Government of India are summarized below.

    Minerals and fibre content analysis indicates that Calcium content (in %) is highest in R-141 (improved variety) followed by Saruchinamali (traditional variety). Iron content (in mg/100g) is very good in Saruchinamali and R-141. Total dietary fibre is very good in Methi Mahipal, Balaji, Saruchinamali and R-141. Soluble dietary fibre is highest in Saruchinamali (2.17%) followed by R-141 (1.92%).

  • Rain Water Management
    Water is part of a larger ecological system and nature has provided enough water for sustenance of all life forms. But scarcity is noticed in various part of the country which due to lack of management of the precious resources. Realising the importance and scarcity attached to the water, NIRAMN has started working on rain water management and just completed in 2 villages in Rayagada district of Odisha. It has planned to expand the intervention of rain water management in all its field intervention.
  • Farmers’ Rights over Genetic Resources
    Biological diversity among crops is a heritage of nature. The ‘local people’ have been fostering the diversity since ages. They are the custodians of the genetic resources through decade long practice of exchange of seeds. Exchange of such resources has been a natural phenomenon among the grower community and very integral to food system. Recently, the genetic engineering introduced genetically modified organisms, which imposed a major threat to the extinction of this diversity along with social support system. This ‘genetic pollution’ in our food chain once started is irreversible and poses serious hazard to human and environmental health.
    Bt Cotton is rampantly cultivated in south-western districts of Orissa and it has replaced traditional varieties of cotton. Trials to contaminate rice are under process and raise greatest concern for a State like Orissa whose first priority food is rice. We have been supporting the campaign against genetic Modification intervention in food system undertaken by other civil society groups in the state and abroad.
    We work with local communities to enhance their control over local genetic resources (seeds, crops, forest resources, medicinal plants and livestock) to uphold their right to use them and conserve bio-diversity. At present, we are associated with other larger like-minded groups & networks at state and national level.
  • Clean & Green Energy
    Presently, for the rural poor in Odisha, electricity and Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) are unavailable and not affordable. Rural poor especially women, are using kerosin lamps for home lighting and firewood stoves/chulas for cooking which release several harmful gases and pollutes indoor atmospheres. These harmful gases act as poison which slowly impacts women's health.

    Keeping this in mind , KZSVS is initiating the use of green energy in rural areas. It is promoting solar light and efficient bio-mass stoves to tribal and rural households, those which have been depending on Kerosin lamps for home lighting and firewood for cooking. Through green energy initiative, KZSVS is providing the rural poor with access to clean energy and has already decreased the use of firewood consumption by 66 %.

  • Environment Education for change: Collaboration with Schools and SHGs
    Today’s children are the future citizens, leaders and decision makers of the country. They need to acquire traditional wisdom and practice skills associated with their family livelihood patterns to protect and preserve the environment for themselves. Environment education will lead to the acquisition of knowledge, development of analytical skills, formation of an environmentally conscious attitude and – ultimately – responsible and responsive behavior towards society and Nature at large. In this backdrop, we consciously plan to develop the understanding of school children and also of the WSHGs on the underlying causes of the environment degradation, crisis in agriculture and food insecurity. We share with them how they can contribute towards evolving a total organic village. We have started working with local high schools as well as existing SHGs at the village level to impart education on organic farming in 3 blocks of Nayagarh district. We have developed a training manual for school students, so that the young generation understands the importance of organic ways of farming and their significance in environment conservation. The responses of these institutions have been truly overwhelming.
  • Non Pesticide Management
    We work towards developing ‘natural pest management systems’ and reduce dependency on hazardous pesticides. We use the traditional knowledge base already available amongst farmers and seek to popularize it to reduce dependence on the input providing market, which has seen a phenomenal growth in India in the wake of the Green Revolution. We are associated with THANAL; a non-profit organization at Kerala followed by Pesticide Action Network-Asia Pacific (PAN-AP) for a globalized movement to BAN ENDOSULFAN and follows the same process in Orissa.

Would you like to know more?

Email or Contact Us:

kzsvs@yahoo.com OR (+91) 9437992231

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Current Funding Partners

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