Laya makes a difference in empowering marginalized communities


EarthCare Designs a Nashik based design organization has been collaborating with Laya to design need-based technologies to strengthen livelihood opportunities in the tribal area of the East Godavari and Visakhapatnam districts. Several meetings were held to discuss the concept and activities that could be organized.

The goal was to strengthen the entrepreneurship abilities of the adivasi communities through a structured learning process and other opportunities to empower the adivasi community for starting locally relevant social enterprises for overall development of the community and the region.

Laya in collaboration with EarthCare Designs initiated the following activities

  • Exploration of livelihoods that would suit the needs of the adivasi community:
    In the discussion with EarthCare Designs several options were explored: cashew processing, making paper from fibre of palmyrah, creating saleable items from coconut shell, bamboo, etc. A five-day workshop was organized on making different products from coconut, paper, and bamboo. Several products were created by the youth who participated.
  • Exploration in designing simple technologies that work on renewable energy and are relevant to the adivasi conditions:
    In this context, three types of technologies are being currently designed, namely: hand driven oil expeller, smokeless stoves and cashew nut processing. After several trials and discussion with the Laya team, the oil expeller was tested and without much difficulty, oil was extracted. However, the context in the tribal area was gradually changing with a drop in oil seed cultivation. Regarding the design of smokeless stoves, EarthCare Designs team explored ways to reduce the present cost by changing the material used for outlet pipes from cement to earthen material. A prototype working model was constructed at Addateegala and its functioning was demonstrated. A Training of Trainers (TOT) was organized at Addateegala to demonstrate the working of the cashew processing which involved several tasks like raw seed collection, boiling, drying, cutting, removing the cashew and baking and husking. Later the same process was repeated in Gummaripalem village wherein now the adivasis exhibited the working and evoked an interest in the production of the finished cashew nuts.

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