In a significant effort to empower Adivasi women to take charge of their communities' well-being, a three-day workshop on women's leadership in traditional knowledge and biodiversity was recently conducted in Panna, Madhya Pradesh. Adivasi women from Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, and Rajasthan participated in this workshop, which served as a follow-up to a previous successful session. The focus of this particular workshop was on combating tuberculosis through the utilisation of natural resources.
Utilising Forest Resources for Nutrition
Adivasi women in the workshop discussed the importance of their forest resources in meeting their nutritional needs, particularly for patients battling respiratory diseases like tuberculosis and silicosis. The women shared their wealth of traditional knowledge of medicinal herbs found in their respective areas, along with recipes for easy-to-make home remedies for tuberculosis patients. By utilising the medicinal herbs in their habitat, the women believed they could enhance their nutritional intake and supplement modern medical treatments.
“We are blessed with natural resources like Mahua, which is like a panacea for numerous ailments. Utilising such wealth from our forests can lead our fight against diseases like TB and help in our aim for better nutrition and health in our community,” said Nirmala Kerketta, an Adivasi healer from Jharkhand, who has an extensive knowledge of medicinal plants.
Traditional Knowledge for Women's Health
Beyond tuberculosis remedies, participants also shared their traditional knowledge of herbs and home remedies specifically beneficial for pregnant women, lactating mothers, and newborns. This exchange of expertise of traditional healing practices passed down through generations, aimed at enhancing their self resilience to the challenges of malnutrition, occupational health diseases and poor public health facilities.
Preservation of Cultural Heritage
The workshop didn't just focus on health-related topics -- it also provided a platform for Adivasi women to share details of their traditional festivals and the evolving role of women within these celebrations. Participants highlighted the changes they have observed in these festivals over the years. By discussing their cultural heritage, Adivasi women strengthened their connection to their roots and created opportunities for intergenerational learning and preservation of traditional practices.
Some more pictures from the workshop: