Kalpavriksh, in collaboraion with local communities and other like minded organisations, organises special events to highlight awareness on conservation and livelihood issues.

Kalpavriksh, in collaboraion with local communities and other like minded organisations, organises special events to highlight awareness on conservation and livelihood issues.

Solar Lamp Distribution in Yelavali village, Maharashtra

In 2011 One Million Lights, an organisation based in the USA, under their programme to provide light to non electrified villages sponsored solar lamps for each family in Yelavali.These lamps were provided by India-Impex, based in Bombay.

The distribution of the lamps was a part of the ongoing engagement of Kalpavriksh with this village on conservation and livelihoods issues. Villagers had organised their annual "van bhojan" (forest meal) on the 23rd of April, an occasion which was also used for districution of the lamps after a delicious meal sitting in a lovely patch of forest.

Solar lamps distribution in Yelavali village, Maharashtra

Wild vegetable festival Yelavali and Bhorgiri

Dear all,

This is a short update on the wild vegetable festival in Yelavali and Bhorgiri (2nd & 3rd Oct 2010) villages in Bhimashankar for those of you who could not be make it this time. Hopefully this will be inspiring enough to bring you there the next time over.

On the 2nd the festival was in Yelavali, where the availability of wild vegetables has by now gone down. The weather was nice and sunny for a change (it has been raining in the previous days). The programme was organized in the forest and began with bhajan kirtan by the youth in the village. This was followed by appearance of women dressed beautifully and carrying their plates of wild food, decorated with wild flowers. We had a discussion with all the participants about the recipes that they had come with, what species, where from, availability status now and before, how frequently is it eaten, what are its values and so on. We also shared with them some information that we had managed to gather about the nutritional value of some of these species. All the participants were given an Ayurvedic first aid kit to be used for simple ailments. Event was followed by a meal cooked for the entire village, which included some of the wild vegetable and a delicious preparation of crab!

On the 3rd the festival was in Bhorgiri, which was also attended by about 18 people from outside the village. Many visitors who had come to the area for a weekend or to visit the Koteshwar temple also dropped in and participated in the event and discussions. The number of wild vegetables were much higher here. The event was as in Yelavali and followed by a meal cooked for all those from outside the village. After the meal all the visitors walked up to the river and kids had a blast splashing in the water.

I think Anupama Juvekar who participated in the event in Bhorgiri village on the 3rd, describes it most aptly!

“Thanks to u and all the team members at Kalpavriksh for the wonderful event organised yesterday at Bhorgiri. It was indeed a treat to see & taste so many varieties of vegeees prepared by the village folks.
The lunch thereafter, the hospitality, the waterfall swim..lovely weather .... could we ask for more?”

Wild vegetable festival, Yelahvali, Bhimashankar, Maharashtra

Exposure visit of villagers from Yelavali and Bhorgiri villages to Hiware Bazar and Baripada villages

Kalpavriksh facilitated an exposure visit for villagers from Yelahvali and Bhorgiri villages in Bhimashankar, between 24th to 26th of November, to Hiware Bazar village in Ahmednagar District and Baripada village in Dhule District of Maharashtra. The objective was to give the villagers a first-hand understanding and exposure to the process of improvement in local governance due to community mobilization and resulting into effective and equitable village development and natural resource conservation.

Subsequent to the exposure visit, in Bhorgiri village, the people who had gone for the exposure visit have decided to start some work in the village beginning small. This they have done after reflecting on whatever they saw during the exposure visit led by Bhaguji Kathe, a senior member of the villager. They have also started weekly meetings to discuss on future directions and course of action. They have decided to volunteer two hours every Tuesday to contribute for village development related common activities. Similar discussions have also taken place in Yelahvali village.

The sites visited during the exposure trip

30 villagers from both the villages were part of the group along with Pradeep and Neema of Kalpavriksh team. The situation of Hiware Bazar and Baripada are very different from each other and yet there are similarities. Hiware Bazar is a non tribal village, close to the district headquarters Ahmednagar, a large village if about 2000 population with its own panchayat. Baripada on the other had is a completely tribal village, very far from any big urban centre and part of a group gram panchayat (part of a panchayat along with five other villages) hence not too many resources from the line agencies coming directly to the village.

In both the villages however the process of good governance, village development and natural resource conservation has followed a similar trend. In both the villages a village youth went outside to study and then decided to return to the village, provided it with a vision and leadership to achieve the vision. Both the leaders became the sarpanches of their respective panchayats, both worked on the principle of village unity, transparency, collective decision making and accountability. Please follow the following links for more details about these two villages - Hiware Bazar, Ahmednagar & Baripada Village, Dhule and

Some reflections on reaction of the villagers

The reaction was fascinating. The travel was long and frustrating and many villagers had never traveled such long distances. There were also a few non-complaining, very tolerant but absolutely exhausted children. Villagers were initially excited about an outing (and had specially requested to include a trip to Shirdi). After a few hour long drive the group finally reached Hiware Bazar. There were initial sniggers and remarks such as ”so this is a strange outing from one remote village to another!”. However, once the representatives in the village spoke to the group and they saw the kind of village development activities that have been carried out, the attitudes began to change. Early next morning we set out for another long drive (for 7 hours) to reach Baripada. Chaitram Pawar, the village leader spoke with the villagers and took them around, villagers were definitely impressed by his charismatic personality and his humility. After which we all went for a walk to the forests protected by the villagers. In the evening the youth of the village came together and we were treated to a surprise cultural programme, an amazing dance by young boys full of energy, skill and traditional and new concepts.

By this time things definitely began to make sense to the majority of people in the group. Some of the points that they reflected upon included:

  1. Baripada has very little rain and a small patch of forests (mostly all teak and very valuable) yet the amount of effort that they put in its protection is impressive. They even have had physical conflicts with violators from outside. Yelahvali and Bhorgiri are lucky to have a large patch of diverse forest and natural forest…all we need is to look after it.
  2. Baripada has so few resources, sources of income, and economic status is much worse than Bhorgiri and Yelahvali but they are able to make all the difference because they are united. We have everything, all we need is to unite.
  3. Kalpavriksh has been saying much about village institutions and strengthening but to us it was like a teacher drawing a mango on the board, now we have seen the mango, what is left is to taste it ourselves.

There were many other points, discussions and reflections, Yelahavali villagers requested that we go to the village the following week and the village will start some direct action. Some initial ideas were:

  1. Cleaning the village surrounds, and repairing walking paths and so on
  2. Pushing for the construction of village school and a community hall more actively
  3. Working towards a forest management plan

Bhorgiri villagers were very impressed but were not as hopeful of being able to unite the entire village given the political factions in the village. However, they sought great inspiration from the words of one of the village members in Hiware Bazar, who said “ does not matter if the entire village is not with you….as long as the eight of you who are here ensure that you don’t give up, stay united and continue your efforts, when the right time comes things will change”.

The trip ended with a visit to Shirdi, this also led to a discussion on how religious tourism should be managed and what lessons could be learned from here for Bhimashankar. In the end villagers were very happy that they got any opportunity to see what they saw.

Exposure visit to Baripada village, Bhimashankar Maharashtra