Improvement of Nutritional Levels

The Chenchu community is mal nourished and it is one of the main root causes for high morbidity and mortality among the Chenchus. BDS adequately focused on enhancement of   nutritional status of the Chenchus by empowering the community on the importance and usefulness of the consumption of vegetables and fruits since 2006. Informal meetings are held in the Chenchu habitations and they are being explained about the importance and usefulness of vegetables and fruits. Procured common varieties of seeds like Ribbed guard, Bitter guard, Bottle guard, Cluster beans, Beans, Ladies Finger, Spinach, Tomato, Snake guard, Amaranthus, Pumpkin packed in small pouches and distributed among all the Chenchu  House Holds of  Dornala, Yeragondapalem, Pullala Cheruvu, Ardhaveedu, Peddaraveedu, Giddalur and Markapur Mandals of Prakasham district. 

A Chenchu woman of Chinnarutla plucking weeds in  her kitchen garden

Challenges faced while grooming the Chenchu Community to cultivate vegetables for their own consumption: When BDS first distributed vegetable seeds, the community was very reluctant to cooperate for growing vegetables and wasted the seeds without using them. They used to grumble saying that seeding, taking care, watering and growing plants is not possible for them and requested us to give vegetables so that they can eat.

BDS staff& Chenchu women plucking weeds in a community kitchen garden in Rollapenta Gudem.    

Normally Chenchus don’t have any hope and expectation for tomorrow. That’s why they don’t show enthusiasm for any work and this is the primary difference between them and other Tribes. Noticing this indifference and non-cooperation, we ourselves volunteered to prepare the grounds around the huts, planted seeds of beans, tomato, gourd varieties, bhendi, snake gourd, bitter gourd, leafy vegetables etc. The Chenchus did not show sufficient interest even to water the plants daily. BDS staff undertook the responsibility of daily watering and protective measures. They used to train the creepers on to the roofs or along the fences.  The first crop came into the hands after a lot of hard effort. Gradually Chenchu families have started showing interest and cultivated vegetables by sowing the seeds and watering them at regular intervals of time. Some of the families have been approaching BDS Office for vegetable seeds and a few families have even procured vegetable seeds on their own.   More than 90% of the Chenchu households are consuming different varieties of vegetables cultivated in their back yards from July to February.   Treading on a `green' path- the Hindu, Aug 17, 2007    K. Venkateshwarlu. 


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