AVANI is a community based organization that has been working in the Kumaon region of the Central Himalayas in India for the past 17 years. Avani began its journey as the Kumaon chapter of the Barefoot College, Tilonia, Rajasthan. The focus of Avani’s work has been the creation of livelihood opportunities in remote rural areas through traditional craft, appropriate technology and farm based activities.

The context of our work is the fragile Himalayan eco system, unstable mountain ranges, inaccessibility of villages from the road and therefore, from most government schemes and outmigration of rural youth in search of livelihoods to the plains.

AVANI is currently working in more than 108 villages of the Bageshwar and Pithoragarh districts of Kumaon.

The participation of the community, respect for traditional knowledge, conservation of natural resources and fair trade practices have been the corner stones of our work. Avani’s main purpose has been to create a choice for rural youth for local employment that allows them to live in their homesteads rather than migrating to the plains for very meager incomes.

Avani’s activities are organized through five decentralized community centres headed by local women and men trained at Avani. Most of the villages are located between 30 minutes to three hours walk from the nearest roadhead.

Avani has facilitated the setting up of two self reliant rural enterprises

  • Hand made Naturally Dyed Silk and Wool Textiles
  • Manufacture of solar equipment (lanterns, water heaters, driers etc)