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Project information

Tribal Futures

Our partner NGO in South India will improve the health, well-being and income of tribal people living in the Nilgiri Hills. Community health workers will tackle issues such as the high level of infant mortality while other staff will work to improve the productivity of tribal farms.

January 2016 - December 2016

Charity information: Tamwed

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  • Need


    The Nilgiri Hills is designated as an International Biosphere Reserve. The tribal communities that once lived as hunter-gatherers in the forests have lost livelihoods due to clear-felling of forests, climate change and other factors. They needed to adapt to a new lifestyle dependent on farming and labouring for an income. Surveys found a high level of health problems, partly due to a poor diet and loss of farm income due to climate change and damage by wild animals.


    Trained community health workers will focus on the neediest and most isolated communities in 30 villages to raise awareness about hygiene, diets and other issues while referring sick people for specialist care. Support staff will work with farmers in the same villages to help them grow climate-resistant, income-generating crops that are safe from marauding animals such as elephant and which they can market nearby. The aim is to encourage self-sufficiency and prevent migration to nearby cities.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To improve the health and livelihoods of the neediest tribal people in 30 villages.


    » Train 20 voluntary Community Health Workers to raise awarness about health issues, tackle treatable illnesses and refer patients for specialist care.
    » To support tribal farmers to grow healthy, climate resistant crops, protected from wild animals, that can feed their families and sell locally.

    What success will look like

    A detailed survey will attract data on health issues and current farming practice. Monitoring will establish improvement to health, welfare and income.

  • Impact


    The project will encourage target villages to be socially and economically self-sufficient,with the skills and resources needed to sustain livelihoods in traditional homelands. Community health workers and field staff will train others to ensure good practice spreads to more villages. Project staff will work with government health, forestry and agricultural departments to ensure that support is ongoing and rights are respected. A final review will demonstrate project progress.


    Any incidence of new disease such as the red spider mite that is affecting tea crops and the pickers themselves will need a quick reaction from health workers who liaise with medical specialists. Climate change could result in long periods of drought followed by severe storms which farmers will need to adapt to using the latest irrigation techniques and crop selection. If marauding wild animals in search of food continue to damage farms, new and cheap fencing will need to be established.


    Tamwed has regular newsletters and a website which gives updates on projects. Project staff complete quarterly reports with updates on activities and budgets. All supporters are circulated by email with news of events and progress.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £12,600

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £4,000 Staff Project manager and 2 field officers.
      £2,400 Health Workers Training, travel and honorarium for 20 Community Health Workers.
      £2,000 Farm inputs Seeds, fertilisers and irrigation for farmers and for 30 kitchen gardens
      £1,000 Training Specialist health and agriculture training events.
      £1,200 Medical equipment Packs of equipment for each Health Worker.
      £1,000 Events Seminars and other public events.
      £1,000 Management Administration, supervision and support by lead NGO.
  • Background


    The Nilgiri Hills is part of the Western Ghats, a mountainous, forested area in the western part of Tamil Nadu State in South India. It is designated as an International Biosphere Reserve due to the abundance of rare flora and fauna. Several tribal (Adivasi) groups have lived in the forests for centuries. The 30 villages which are the focus of this project are in a remote area, some of which is inaccessible by road.


    The tribal groups in the 30 villages targeted by this project have suffered from social and economic marginalisation over many years. The villages vary in population from 100 to 500, the total being around 6,000 divided into approximately 900 families. The main target for the health element will be around 500 of the most needy families in the most isolated areas. The farming element of the project will work with at least 5 farming families in each village i.e. 150 families.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Tamwed has worked with NGOs in South India since 2004. It was founded by international development and other professionals who had been working with NGOs in India for many years. While all support in the UK is voluntary, Tamwed works with experienced NGOs in India which deliver projects to the high standards expected by our organisation. Close liaison between Tamwed and its NGO partners has resulted in successful projects in some extremely demanding situations.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Oz Osborne

    Tamwed's voluntary Secretary is a consultant and trainer who has worked with organisations in India for many years.

    Alphonse Raj

    Alphonse is the CEO of the ISLAND Trust which will deliver this project. He has worked with NGOs all his adult life and is highly respected.

Tribal children in the Nilgiris.

Tribal children in the Nilgiris.