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  • Kerala Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency

    A Govt. of Kerala Undertaking

Success Stories


Tribal Inclusion with Jalanidhiin Kanthallur and Marayur Tribal GPs

Kanthallur and Marayur–Story of different life style 
Design of Jalanidhi Phase II prepared with specific Tribal Development Plan for the Tribal GPs. Idukki and Wayanad are the districts where TDP decided to implement. Based on cultural, geographic and caste difference the life style of Tribal community differs in these districts. When taking the story of Kanthallur and Marayur GPs, culture and life lifestyle is entirely different among other Tribals in Idukki district. These two GPs are located in the Western Ghats in the north eastern part of Idukki district and adjacent to Pollachi district of Tamil Nadu state. These tribes were migrated from Tamilnadustate mainly from Madurai region due to the encounter between Chera and Pandya dynasty. The life of hiding of Tribes located in Marayoor region and later scatteredto Kanthallur GP remote locations also.These GPs comes into rain shadow area and major income source with vegetable cultivation and other variety of fruit plantations. Majority tribes are from Hindus Muthuvan and Hill Pulays and other tribal categories are very negligible in number and located in few settlements only. Each tribal settlement has peculiar characters. They all are sustained independently. For example they will not share their water to other settlements and even they will not marry each other.
Major Tribal Caste Category in Kanthallur and Marayur – Characteristics
Muthuvan – Most prominent clan of tribe in Idukki
Special tribe mainly living in the deep and dense forest. They originally belonged to Madurai in Tamilnadu, when Kannagi, a divine woman and the principal character of a Tamil epic Silappathikaram left Madurai after destroying it by her curse, a group of people also migrated with her to the hills, carrying her on their back (Muthuku). Thus they came to be known as Muthuvan or Muduvan, meaning those who carried something on their back. They are very reluctant and afraid of being united with the other clans of the tribes and civilized people. They like to live a secluded life fostering their own culture. Since they are in the deepest parts of the forest, they are illiterate, ignorant and very superstitions. Their economic, social and educational improvement is negligibly nil and it has been a phenomenon for centuries. Almost 90% of the people are fond of living in bamboo huts. Earlier their lack of awareness in sanitation and health programs put them in a battalion of infectious diseases and this lead to the untimely death of Muthuvans. Now in Kerala situation changed a little. 
Hill Pulayas
The Hill Pulayas also referred to as Malapulayas are a set of hill tribes living in the forest areas in Anjunad valley of Devicolam taluk. Various explanations are given, how the name Hill Pulaya have been derived. Mala means a mountain or a hill and pulayan is derived from Pula, meaning pollution. Most among them do not have their own lands. They stay in small huts in the banned secluded government plots and other forest areas. They do manual labor and collection of forest products is another part of their income. They speak Tamil and follow their own unique and hereditary customs and they have their own primitive arts.
Implementation of Jalandihiprogramme in both the GPs started in 2014 by including in Batch II.Supporting Organisations were placed for the facilitation of the programme on social development and implementation aspects. 11 BGs includes Tribal as their BG members and 12 BG are exclusively tribal BGs. In these BGs, 637 and 530 tribal households are there in Marayoor and Kanthalloor GPs respectively. Implementation of the project was very difficult during the initialperiod because, generally these tribes behavior is not much interactive in nature. Tribal women observed to be too reserved and usually will not participate in public gatherings.  Also these women are very hesitantin nature to talk to officials. As per Jalanidhi’s norms there should be women participation in BG executive committee and in office bearer category. Behavior change was the major task during the initial period of social mobilization process. This aspect triggers to the story of Tribal inclusion process and slow process of building confidence to make their presence in implementation work.
Saga of Social Mobilization 
Remoteness of the area as well as the inferior nature of the Tribals was the major aspects to deal with when starting the social mobilization process. It was helpful that the people representatives –Panchayath Members – accompanied the SO team from the start for the familiarization process.The language theTribalsused to communicate to outsiders were Tamil and indigenous language were used to communicate each other.Based on the field visits and in discussion with the concerned Panchayath Members, strategies for social mobilization process were planned by the Supporting Organisation.  Realizing the characteristics of Tribal in the areas different IEC programmes were planned and conducted and Capacity Building programmes organized to ensure their representations in meetings, committees and work implementation. It would be better we go through the programmes in brief…….
Tribal Art Show
This programme conducted as part of the IEC programme of KanthalloorGramaPanchayath to cover 100% of the tribal population in Jalanidhi. Tribals have their own traditional art forms like folk dance and drama. Jalanidhi theme incorporated into these art forms and spread the messages to tribal community about Jalanidhiprogramme and the benefits of inclusions. 
Aform of folk dance called “Kakkirissy Drama” arranged by Jalanidhi State Unit in the tribal prominent areas of Jalanidhi GPs. This programme greatly influenced the people from the tribal villages and slightly changed the behavior to participate in Jalanidhiprogrammes and realized the message on management of safe drinking water especially during rainy and summer seasons.
Kala Jatha
It was a mass procession with all the villagers, school children and officials from various departments and PRI members from the panchayth with placards showing the message of safe drinking water and sanitation. Apparentlythis programme helped Jalanidhi to disseminate the information of project launching in the GPs.
This is a usual meeting that conducted in the settlement or kudis with the president ship of settlement leader otherwise called “OoruMoopan”. In the settlement, there are some rules like the ultimate decision maker will be the “Moopan”. So the Oorukootam will have more importance and the moopan will direct all the households’ to join in Jalanidhiprogramme. We conducted Oorkootam and Oorulsawam (Festival) to disseminate information and to raise the tribal inclusion in Jalanidhischemes. 
This is an innovative method used by KanthalloorGramaPanchayt team to disseminate about the news of Jalanidhiprogramme to all households in GP. It is a species of Spinach (Cheera also named as ‘Chaya Mansa’) that is only available in Latin America and Mexico and introduced in our projects by supporting organization. This new product and the strategy used for tribal inclusion in Jalanidhiprogrammeby renamingthe spinach asJalandhiCheera  - a leaf Vegetable. Small branches of this spinach distributed in the households and along with describing the nutritious value of spinach Jalanidhi team will also explain about the membership campaign for Water Supply Schemes. It was an innovative approach used by KanthalloorGramaPanchayt team for Tribal inclusion
An exhibition conducted in Kanthalloor School about the importance of safe drinking water and sanitation. A session on the same was also conducted by Supporting Organisation. The messages in the posters was with pictures and the session was handled by the community facilitator who knows the indigenous language of Tribals in the area
Stickers of Jalanidhi
Stickers that shows various messages about the safe drinking water and sanitation were distributed to the community to paste it in their households and shops. 
Film Show and Documentary
This is also an innovative method used to improve the tribal inclusion in the project. The supporting organization developed a documentary that shows the history related with Kanthalloor and MarayoorGramaPanchayath and disseminate the information on water scarcity may occur in these villages also as a side effect of planting the ‘Grantis Trees’ by Estate owners in the area. 
(Grantis Tree - This is a Tree seems like Eucalyptus commonly known as flooded gum or rose gum used for making paper pulp,which loots the ground water storage in a high level. This tree is found to be vastly planted in the GP areas by the private estate owners and observed to be depletes the ground water level in the area. )  
Visit to ‘SatramHouses’ in the Evening
This is also another innovative method adoptedinthe GPs.  The Satram houses are used to sleep in the night by youngsters in thesettlements. Jalanidhi team visited in each Satram and spend few hours and discussed about Jalanidhiprogramme. It helped to reduce the superstitions and notions and also improve their knowledge about the Jalanidhi project. 
Social empowerment through Jalanidhi
Implementation of community based water supply project can be done only through community participation. This method helps the community to interact each other and get a we feeling and ownership towardsthe successful running of water supply programme. Community members mainly women were empowered through the programme because Committee Office Bearers like Treasurer will be a woman. This approach improved the situation of Tribal community to reach into mainstream.
Scheduled tribes, mainly Hill Pulayas are most reserved people among the tribal community. In public gatherings women usually will not come and sit. If they come, they will sit far from the meeting places. This was the situation in the earlier times but this situation changed at the end of the project. Most of the scheduled tribe women become part of the thrift society or Kudumbashree project.
A major achievement through the project is that, almost 14 BG members from Marayoor and KanthalloorGP become PanchayathMembers. One BG Federation member of Kanthalloor GP become Block PanchaythPresident. 
One major improvement is thereductionin stigma between the two communities.  Earlier they were not ready to share the water even if there is a water supply scheme. Our continuous involvement and empowerment programmes among these communities, the situation were changed and implemented single water supply schemes to multiple settlement.
Main source of the income of the community is by working in NREGA programme and almostthey are getting regular earning. Jalanidhiprogramme also arrangedfew activities to get regular income. Income generation training programmes were conducted to the communities and few of the people found engaged by utilizing this opportunity like tailoring, plumbing and agricultural activities. 10 tribal members were trained from the BGs on plumbing and later this activity helped them to get a regular income by engaging in plumbing activities in the GP area as well as in our water supply schemes. After the exit of BGs by Jalanidhi, GP appointed 2 Jalanidhi trained plumbers in Marayoor town water supply scheme and they are getting an amount of Rs. 7000/- per month.
During the implementation period when pipe laying work started, an activity called ‘ThozhilUtsavam’ (Labour Festival) conducted. The some of the Tribal beneficiary members contributed their 50% share as labour by conducting the activity as a function
What Resulted as a Whole……
Sustainability of the project in Tribal areas is a tiresome effort. Through various activities of Jalanidhiprogramme, the social and economic status of these communities improved to some extend and this resulted in ensuring the sustainability of the water supply programme as well as the behavior change among the Tribal community in owning a public utility system. Convergence of scheme implementation with ‘VanaVikasanaSamithy’ of Forest Dept. was also a part of empowerment programme of Jalanidhi which articulated the sustainability aspect of the water supply schemes. Of course, social inclusion programmes was a trigger factor towards the sustainability factor.