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Change through Unity and Collective Action - A report of the 6th Maha-adhiveshan of the Kandhamal Mahila Mandal, Balliguda, Kandhamal district, Odisha

by ruchita last modified Jan 23, 2014 11:11 AM

May 02, 2013

Change through Unity and Collective Action - A report of the 6th Maha-adhiveshan of the Kandhamal Mahila Mandal, Balliguda, Kandhamal district, Odisha

District Collector Shri Bhupender Singh Punia addressing the event

The Kandhamal Mahila Mandal (KMM), a federation of 587 Self Help Groups in the Balliguda subdivision of Kandhamal district convened its 6th Maha-adhiveshan(1)  in Balliguda on 22nd April 2013. Over 6,000 women SHG members from the Balliguda, Nuagaon, Tumudibandh and Daringwadi blocks of the Balliguda subdivision participated in the event.

The Kandhamal Mahila Mandal, a federation of self-help groups was registered as an independent institution by PRADAN2 in 2002. At that time there were about 43 women SHGs in the Balliguda subdivision. In 2006, members of the KMM decided to convene an annual congregation – a Maha-adhiveshan- of SHGs once every year3. Through the Maha-adhiveshan, the Kandhamal Mahila Mandal and its members aspired to show-case their unity and courage in moving beyond domestic and village boundaries to bring about a positive change in their lives and livelihoods.

goatshedmodel and participantsIn addition the event is organized to celebrate and share the achievements of member institutions, and discuss constraints faced and how these could be overcome. The event also facilitates mutual learning and sharing of experience among different SHGs. For example, some SHG members from the Barakhama village in the Barakhama Gram Panchayat of Balliguda block approached Shri Satish Patnaik, PRADAN Project Executive to initiate goat rearing in their village, after observing the presentation made by beneficiaries of another PRADAN supported goat rearing project at the Maha-adhiveshan.  


The Maha-adhiveshan on 22nd April, 2013, included stage plays and a few song and dance performances, scripted and enacted by women SHG members highlighting the positive improvements in their lives and livelihoods as a result of the support provided for goat-rearing and other livelihood activities. Women goat rearers from five villages - Jargi, Katteribhata, Pippali, Dakpadi, and Parapadar - had also put up a goat shed model for display at the PRADAN stall, to share information on improved goat rearing practices4. Information banners in Odiya had been put up by the goat rearers highlighting management practices for goat rearing and sample feed and medicines for goats were displayed at the stall.  

women performing on the stageThe welcome address at the Maha-adhiveshan was given by Smt Bisingi Pradhan, the president of the Kandhamal Mahila Mandal followed by sharing of salient points of the Mandal’s annual report by Smt. Sujata Mallick5, Secretary of the KMM. This was followed by congratulatory addresses by the District Collector Shri Bhupender Singh Punia, Shri Sribatsa Lanchhan Das, Deputy Managing Director, National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), Dr Pramod Kumar Prusty, Block Development Officer (BDO) Balliguda Block, and Shri Nikunja Kishore Das, Lead District Manager, State Bank of India (SBI). 

The BDO Balliguda in his address informed of the positive results of the goat rearing initiative that he has noticed, and expressed his willingness to assess possibilities of funding some components of this initiative in the near future. The delegates from NABARD and SBI also offered to extend their support for other livelihood generation activities in the district. 

The Maha-adhiveshan was also attended by Sarpanches of each Gram Panchayat6, the Veterinary Surgeon Dr. Suchita Kumari Patra and representatives of NGOs working in the Balliguda Block (PRADAN, Gram Vikas, Harsha Trust and Swati). These NGOs had also put up stalls to show-case their activities in various Gram Panchayats. The Balliguda block Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Services office had also put up a stall on poultry rearing and displayed a male and female specimen of the Vanaraja poultry bird. A stall had also been put up by the Siali7 leaf-plate making cooperative. A few companies which supply agricultural implements like seeds, fertilizers and bore pumps also displayed a range of products marketed by them. 

question-answer-sessionThe organization and coordination of the Maha-adhiveshan is entirely the effort of the women SHG members who make all the necessary arrangements and mobilize support from line departments, NGOs and companies who show-case their products at the event. In spite of their limited resources each woman SHG member contributes Rs.20/- towards the organization of the event, and also collectively make their own travel and food arrangements. The highlight of the event was the question and answer session where women representing each cluster8 raised their concerns about problems faced by them with the District Collector who responded to their queries. The SHG para-vet Smt Sebati Digal from Jargi village requested assistance for the construction of goat sheds under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS). The District Collector assured that he would look into the matter so that the construction of goat sheds under NREGS could be expedited.

  1. An annual congregation of women SHGs in the Balliguda block, District Kandhamal, Odisha.
  2. Professional Assistance for Development Action (PRADAN) is a leading national NGO working across eight states of the country. PRADAN focuses interventions on organizing women into Self Help Groups and facilitating improvements in livelihoods through support for a range of livelihood activities. PRADAN has been working in Odisha since 1993. 
  3. The first annual congregation of the Kandhamal Mahila Mandal was convened in 2006.  
  4. The goat shed model showcased by women goat rearers at the Maha-adhiveshan is built above ground-level to avoid direct contact of goats with the moist earth and thereby help in disease control particularly during the monsoons. The shed has two windows for good ventilation. In addition a regular coating of lime (calcium oxide) is provided in the goat shed in addition to spraying of diluted Butox solution (1ml/litre of water) as a disinfectant.  Women SHG members from these five villages had contributed Rs 6 each towards the construction of the goat-shed model for the Maha-adhiveshan.
  5. Smt Sujata Mallick is also the Sarpanch of the Barakhama Gram Panchayat.
  6. There are a total of 14 Gram Panchayats in the Balliguda Block.
  7. Siali leaves are a non-timber forest produce, used for making plates. These leaves are collected by women from the surrounding forests in addition to Sal and tendu leaves.
  8. A cluster comprises of 4-5 adjoining villages within a radius of 2.5 – 3 kms.

Contributed by: SA PPLPP Coordination Team with inputs from Satish Patnaik, Project Executive, PRADAN.