Solar Home Lighting Systems
Bringing light into the lives of people. The Solar Home Lighting Systems initiative is carried out with the help of barefoot college. So far barefoot solar engineers have lighted up 165 formerly non electrified houses. It is the first time that those households are illuminated by bright and ecofriendly lights. This programme is focussing on settlements that are mostly located inside remote forest areas and hence have no chances to be connected to the power supply system.
Amidst a high literacy level, women in Kerala face a number of problems. While women enjoy very little freedom, the dowry system is very common in the state. It is a common incident in Kerala that families getting impoverished after a girl child getting married. The 2001 census report shockingly reveals that the number of girl childs of ages 0-6 per 1000 boys have alarmingly comedown in the very state that has maintained a higher sex ratio in the country for many years. While the sex ratio of women and men is 1058 women for 1000 men, the ratio of girl childs of ages 0-6 is only 963 for 1000 boys.
The Wayanad district, compared to other parts of the state, has been showing a low sex ratio since its formation. Due to a crisis in the agricultural sector resulting from failed reforms and globalization, thousands of farmers committed suicide leaving behind the entire responsibility of nurturing the family to women. Between 2000 and 2005, 1967 men committed suicide in Wayanad district alone. It is very clear that education and literacy alone cannot sufficiently improve the situation of women, but only collective action will challenge the social systems as well as policies that discriminate women in all spheres.
Integrated Water Resource Management
Persistent soil erosion and water scarcity within the hilly Balal Panchayath inspired RASTA to help local people and famers by providing appropriate water and irrigation facilities. Starting in February 2013, the first implementation phase of this comprehensive project is expected to be finalized in June 2015.
Supporting Indigenous Communities
Tribal communities contribute 17% of the total population in Wayanad district. Eight different communities are living in this hilly and backward district. Due to influx of migrants from various parts of the state these native communities got marginalized and have been facing several problems like a lack of land ownership, unemployment, food insecurity and lack of basic facilities. During the past 15 years RASTA tried to improve the situation of the tribal communities in several ways.
Since 1987, RASTA has been focusing on sustainable agriculture as one of the focal point of intervention as the livelihood of the 95% of the inhabitants of the region are from agriculture and moreover the farming sector has been facing major problems like diminishing productivity, increased incidences of pest and diseases, lack of availability of appropriate technologies at farmer level and weak extension services. RASTA has undertaken a number of activities especially awareness generation, research and extension, infrastructure development activities to support farmers.