Umang has been organized to empower rural women in the mountains and to improve the quality of their lives. Sharing the costs to the management of responsibilities for arranging appropriate drinking water and sanitation systems, provision of renewable energy and rainwater harvesting, revegetation of wasted commons to renew the hydrology, and create social capital.
Cultivation of traditional crops like amaranths, sesame, millets, buckwheat, etcetera have been revived and encouraged in order to optimize on-farm production and incomes through the promotion of organic farming practices. Alongside, appropriate storage, processing, and packaging facilities have been introduced to adopt value chains across the spectrum. Essentially, the idea is to provide supplementary incomes on a sustainable basis to members of the SHGs.
Umang is a community-owned producer company comprising of small and marginal women farmers. The lives of these women are being impacted through the provision of community-managed drinking water systems, environmental sanitation, the adoption of renewable energy systems like biogas for cooking, and the organization of small village nurseries to rise rootstock of native species of trees amongst many other things.
The establishment of Umang as a federation of SHGs and reaching out to consumers far and wide has certainly enabled and empowered rural mountain women and provided them with a sense of dignity.
SHGs associated with Umang have organized small village nurseries to raise rootstock of native species of trees. Over a period of ten years, more than one million saplings have been planned out by these SHGs on wasted village commons in order to provide fresh vegetal cover and thereby increase the availability of fodder-grasses for livestock and at the same time renew the hydrology of streams/catchment areas in the river basin. Members of SHGs have also been investing in the installation of biogas units to replace firewood for cooking. This appropriate technology provides renewable cooking energy and thereby reduces the biotic pressure on scarce forest resources, besides the drudgery for women to head load firewood from distant forests.