Kovel Foundation’s mission is to improve the quality of life of forest dependent tribal families in India. The Women on Wings’ partner supports these families in for instance the collective marketing of forest produce like coffee and turmeric. Since July 2021, Kovel Foundation and Women on Wings are joining hands to realize their shared mission to increase the number of jobs and create livelihood opportunities for women in rural India.
Supporting tribal families
Kovel Foundation (Kovel) is one of the few NGOs in India owned and headed by Non Timber Forest Produce (NTFP) dependent tribal communities who also form the Board. Hence community ownership and participation have always been a high priority in planning, implementation, monitoring, review and evaluation of any of Kovel’s programs for economic development of tribals. Kovel’s vision is to reach out to 100,000 tribal families directly and increase the annual additional income for 50,000 tribal families to a minimum of 50,000 Rupees in Telugu states by 2022. It supports tribal families in organizing collective initiatives like training, skill development and marketing of NFTPs, agri and allied produce like coffee, turmeric, black pepper, NTFP species like tamarind, Siali, wild honey, Indian gooseberry, and many more. Kovel also focuses on promoting Farmer Producer Organizations with tribal families in general and tribal women in particular.
Moving tribals up in the value chain
Founded in 1994, Kovel is headquartered at Visakhapatnam in the state of Andhra Pradesh and works across the two Telugu states with an aim to reduce the players in the supply chain by analyzing the value chain to identify the gaps and to bridge them through community managed initiatives, putting women in the front. This would eventually enable the primary collectors get better returns to their produce. Kovel also provides professional and management assistance and services to tribal forest produce collectors. Another important area of Kovel’s work is the conservation and regeneration of ecologically and economically important forest species through nurseries and plantation so as to reduce pressure on the forest. Some species contribute to reviving traditional herbal medicines for primary health care and Kovel also promotes tribal herbal healers.
Support from Women on Wings
Women on Wings will support Kovel on multiple topics, like improving its value chain of coffee, black pepper, turmeric, and structuring a new producer company which has been set up by Kovel Foundation to enhance supply chain and access to market through branding and marketing. To realize the same, online workshops are taking place every two weeks with the support of Women on Wings’ expert Johan de Visser.
image: tribal farmers presenting their produce to the Women on Wings team visiting their village, August 2021