Mushroom growing in rural India: helping poor people improve their diet and increase their income


About the project


Fundraising Completed £2,000
tipping point
In-kind donations range from drinks to office supplies. We even accept homemade cakes. See what else we need!
tipping point
25 hrs
In-kind donations range from drinks to office supplies. We even accept homemade cakes. See what else we need!

More about the project

What is the social/environmental problem/issue that this project will address?
We will be working with some of the poorest villagers in India, who come mainly from Scheduled Tribes and suffer poverty, low literacy levels and poor nutrition and live in a drought-prone rural area of Andhra Pradesh, central India.
Can you give us some statistics on this problem?
* Scheduled Caste and Tribe ratio averages 55% of the population * Literacy rate averages 15%for men and 7.5% for women * 20 % of the houses have sanitation * Family income averages less than £250 per year
What is your solution?
We set up reading groups for the women, with a 'village reader' to read to them, so that they could access information that could improve their lives and begin to gain literacy skills. After reading a book on 'Profitable Mushroom Growing', they decided that they wanted to start growing mushroom to use in their cooking and to sell. Mushrooms require relatively little space and water, and additionally they are a good source of protein.
How will you deliver this?
After some basic training during a pilot phase, the women will be provided with a starter pack so they can grow 20 or more hanging baskets of oyster mushrooms. They will use these in their diet, to sell in their village and in the local town, and any surplus will be dried and sold in the city. We plan to work with the National Institute of Nutrition to demonstrate improvements in nutrition and to get mushrooms into the free food distribution system.

Get involved

Here are some great ways to get involved with the project and help out. If you have...
  • 2 minutes
    Tell a friend about this project; ask them to support it.
  • 5 minutes
    Tell 5 friends. Together you may help change people's lives.
  • 15 minutes
    Tell 15 friends. Some may like to help.
  • 30 minutes
    Do some quick research the nutritional properties of mushrooms and the ecological footprint of mushroom growing.
  • A few hours
    Organise a small dinner party, with mushroom recipes of course, to tell your friends about the project and why you are supporting it.
  • Regular time commitment
    Volunteer your time. Get interested in the village reading project and help us spread the idea that "books can create change".

Share your comments

Opinions and comments mentioned on the FundIt.Buzz website are the personal views of individual contributors. FundIt.Buzz takes no responsibility for these views. However if you find something that you think does not meet our guidelines you can report it to
Theresa Burton 18 March 2011 - 15:29

Excited to learn that this project also raised an additional £6,388 at a recent Funding Network event!

Learn about The Funding Network who are the UK's first open giving circle and create social change through collective giving. http://

rainbow 12 February 2011 - 02:09
Pierre Theron 11 February 2011 - 12:57

What a great project as it addresses so many key issues: poverty, nutrition, and education of women in rural areas.

What do you think?

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About the organisation

Vision and mission

To promote and establish innovations in voluntary action in the UK, India and other countries with an emphasis on youth action and citizenship, the environment, international development and social entrepreneurship.

Geographical coverage


Our track record

CIVA (the Centre for Innovation in Voluntary Action) is a registered charity (Charity Commission registration number 1122095) founded by Michael Norton. Here are some of our year-by-year highlights since we got started (CIVA was formally registered as a not-for-profit company in June 1995): 1994: South-North exchanges. CIVA brought Stan and Mari Thekaekara from India to the UK to explore poverty here. Subsequent exchanges explored the issues of housing, peace-building and young Asian girls growing up in a modern world. 1995: International philanthropy. CIVA undertook a study for the Charities Aid Foundation on the voluntary sector in India which led to the setting up of CAF India, and the spreading of CAF internationally. CIVA also encourages the development of fundraising in the South through publications and training. 1996: Homeless self-help. With an innovation grant from Crisis and in partnership with the National Homeless Alliance, CIVA established StreetLife to promote volunteering and organise speak-outs for homeless people. This led to the establishment of Groundswell, the self-help forum for homeless people. 1997: Village literacy. With a grant from the National Lottery, CIVA developed a programme of "village publishing" to develop and distribute books for rural readers with limited literacy skills alongside a programme of village library development. 1998: Telephone helplines for streetchildren. CIVA developed a replication strategy for ChildLine India, and obtained a lottery grant to expand the scheme from Mumbai (Bombay) across India working in partnership with the Government of India. Today, ChildLine India operates in over 210 cities in India, and Child Helpline International has been set up in Amsterdam to promote children's helplines across the world. 1999: Young grantmakers. CIVA established YouthBank UK to enable young people to make grants to projects led by young people. Today, there are approximately 70 YouthBanks around the UK, and others in Eastern Europe, South Asia and Africa. 2000: Social entrepreneurship. Michael assembled the consortium which became the successful bidder for the £100 million Millennium Legacy and led to the setting up of UnLtd, which makes over 1,000 awards each year to individuals with ideas for changing their community, society or the world. 2001: Youth Volunteering. Michael led the International Year of Volunteers youth programme, which created the Young Achiever Awards, now run by the Young Achievers Trust. 2002: International youth activism. For five years, CIVA ran a "Young People Change the World!" international summer school for young activists, organised entirely by young people. 2003: Street children's banking. In partnership with Butterflies, a Delhi NGO and with funding from Comic Relief, CIVA supported the development of street children's banking in South Asia. The banks are run by the children themselves, and provide a safe place for their money, encourage saving and make loans for micro-enterprises. There are now over 20 children's banks in South Asia. 2004: Everyday acvitivism. CIVA conceived and published 365 ways to change the world, providing practical ideas for actions that people can take to change the world. 2005: A pilot village reading programme was established in Andhra Pradesh to encourage reading and enable highly disadvantaged people to access information with the potential to change their lives. 2006: Enterprise and financial literacy for young people. MyBnk enables young people to operate their own savings and lending bank in a school, foyer or community setting. 2007: Go carbon neutral. CIVA worked on two UK council housing estates to foster behavior change and engage residents in actively addressing climate change. A report of this project is available. 2008: Following a successful learning journey to India for social entrepreneurs, we helped launch UnLtd India to support social entrepreneurs inially in Mumbai, but with the aim of extending across India and then to other countries. 2009: Reclaiming food waste. We launched FoodCycle to encourage young people to volunteer to cook surplus and donated food using donated kitchen to feed people in need, such as the homeless and refugees. 2010: We developed Buzzbnk as a crowdfunding platform specifically for social ventures, to help raise donations, loans and supporters. Buzzbnk was formally launched in January 2011. We also supported the Oxford Jam, the successful fringe event for social entrepreneurs run alongside the Skoll World Forum2011: Innovation Labs, a new sort of community centre on a social housing estate which focuses on engagement and social enterprise to help turn ideas into action. The first projects opened in 2012 in Hackney (Workshop 44 with Hackney Homes) and Victoria (with Peabody). 2012: The International centre for Social Franchising, a global initiative to promote the rapid scaling up of successful projects.

Who do we help?

To provide social benefit to wider society by creating innovations which address particular needs and which are either scalable or replicable.

How do we deliver this?

Support for the establishment of new social ventures and for social entrepreneurs.

Awards And Recognitions

Michael Norton OBE, CIVA Director, in the last 4 years has been awarded the Professional Fundraising Lifetime Achievement Award and a D Litt (Hon) by the University of Wolverhampton.