Women's Livelihoods and Alternatives

Adivasi Women are blessed with diverse natural resources and evolved traditional knowledge of practising forest-based livelihoods. In some of our field areas, dispossession from lands and forests has reduced women's access to nutrition and incomes. Covid has worsened the situation with migration for labour becoming risky and unpredictable. To strengthen women's conservation practices and improve forest-based livelihoods, Dhaatri initiated support to women's enterprises and livelihood skills through the mahila samooh activities.


Mahua is a major source of income and nutrition. The quality and quantity of collecting the produce can be much enhanced with a few tools and value addition skills. We have extended our support through donations during this Covid period by providing collection nets, seeds, and kitchen garden support activities. However, we believe that these are supplementary support activities on livelihoods whose success cannot be realised without women's fundamental rights of entitlement to lands and forests. A case in example is a self-help group of widows who received training on various aspects of mushroom cultivation as an alternative avenue of income while they continue to fight for their right to forest lands.

Adivasi Widows Set Up Mahua Nursery

Adivasi widows in Madhya Pradesh’s Panna district are raising mahua saplings in the community-managed nurseries. Since mahua is the main source of income for the Adivasi community in Panna, the nurseries also serve as an opportunity for economic support to the widows.

Adivasi Widows Receive Training on Mushroom Farming

A self-help group (SHG) of Adivasi widows from Madhya Pradesh’s Panna district took up mushroom farming as a supplementary source of income for the women. Apart from cultivating the mushrooms, the women also take care of the marketing of their produce. In order to help their business, Dhaatri provided the women with relevant training on the various aspects of mushroom farming.

Mahua Nets Handed Out to Adivasi Women

In order to make the lives of Adivasi women easier, nets were distributed to help them collect mahua in Madhya Pradesh’s Panna district. Mahua flowers are an important source of livelihood for the Adivasi women. The green nets are spread under the trees, and when mahua flowers drop on them, the women can easily gather the produce. Doing so saves the women a lot of time, and the mahua pickings remain unspoilt as well.