Umang is guided by the concerns of economy, ecology and equity. Efforts over the past few years have led to the consolidation of this growing network of women who are engaged in various activities, leading to a fresh balance in the quality of their lives.
Exploitation of forests over the years may have contributed to economic growth for certain sections of society but it has been at the cost of ecological security. Such exploitative policies have directly led to the impoverishment of marginal mountain farmers dependent upon forests as support areas for their livelihood.
Mahila Umang Samiti was set up in 2001 by Grassroots women, who hived out to form a collective of woman’s Self Help Groups to support and facilitate the growth of these micro-enterprises. Today over 2500 women in rural Kumaon are engaged in improving the quality of life for their families through the sales of hand knitted woollens, fruit preserves & pickles, natural honey, beeswax candles and natural spices.
Helping small and marginal farmers optimise on-farm production of traditional rainfed crops to supplement family income. Through Umang we have worked to create market value for such farm produce under the Kumaoni and Himkhadya labels. In the future, we hope to initiate a whole new network of community owned producer groups.