Life in understanding and harmony with the Panchabhutas to the path of Karmayoga
(Panchabuthas – The five elements of nature as per Indian traditions ‐ Earth, Water, Wind, Fire and Ether)
 
 
Building Community based institutions around traditional wisdom to face new challenges
 
 
The Covenant Centre for Development (CCD) is a Madurai-originated NGO, active primarily in the drought prone areas of Tamil Nadu state in the south & 4 central Indian states (M. P., Maharshtra, Chhattisgarh & Orissa).. It promotes medicinal plants and agriculture based sustainable livelihoods for poverty alleviation in the drylands and forest areas, for the women, the landless and the small farmers, including the backward/ scheduled castes/ tribes.

CCD’s mission is to build community institutions and enterprises for long term sustainability using local resources and traditional skills (LRTS) aided by the modern technology. CCD’s goal is reduce the increasing rural unemployment, poverty, emigration, hunger, malnutrition and ill health, including by the climate change.

CCD’s work has benefited over 5,000 families to overcome poverty and many more are in this process through the responsible community enterprises CCD promoted
 
 
The Covenant Centre for Development (CCD) was started formally in 1993, to work with school dropouts, youth and women from villages near Madurai. To combat the problem of rural migration, it started by providing young dropouts with vocational training and mobilising women groups to improve their economic and social conditions. Starting then with a few vocational training institutions and tuition centres in Pulvakkarai, Virudhunagar district, and villages nearby, today CCD is a large institution that includes a team of over 100 workers. It promoted 7 Women Self Help Group (SHG) Federations with over 16,000 women members from more than 300 villages in the districts of Madurai, Sivagangai, Virudhunagar, Ramanathapuram, Dindugal and more recently Nagappattinam, Kanyakumari,Theni, Tirunelveli and Tuticorin in Tamil Nadu, networks of artisans, medicinal plant cultivators and collectors, fishing, farming and coir communities, community based organisations (CBOs) like SHG Federations and coastal resource-based activity groups, and organisational partners from across the country, and well-wishers from around the globe.

Through the years of creating and managing dynamic social and economical interventions and facilitating creation of community based institutions in these sectors, CCD has evolved a successful rural intervention model and consequent development process that can be adapted and replicated to suit needs and priorities of local (rural) communities. It has promoted about 13 producer owned companies in the process, across 10 states in India including 1 in Srilanka.
 
 
Organizing Local Resources and Traditional Skills (LRTS) through Enterprise for Community Well-being

For long term viability, sustainable ise pf local environment and resources ; traditional skills and knowledge of the community is integral part of every initiative of CCD. Globalization has challenged the rural Indian enterprise communities as never before. Increased cut-throat competition, dumping of mass produced goods at cheaper prices has forced rural producer communities to adopt newer and novel strategies for their survival.

Linking with experts from professional mainstream institutions provides the communities with the channels of exchange and learning; providing new enterprise structures through understanding and application of traditional community institutions provides for much-needed reliability.

CCD’s intervention programs address specific problems in the rural community through novel methods using local understanding and wisdom. Initial programs combated rural migration, while later ventures looked at issues including livelihood development that was being threatened due to market forces, lack of space for practicing traditional knowledge, health and unaffordable medicine, exploitation of the rural producer because of unethical trade practices. All of these have been approached through a process that is persistent and currently defines the CCD culture.