Association for Sustainable Community Development (ASSCOD) is a registered voluntary organisation formed in 1994 in order to work in rural districts of Tamil Nadu. From originally focusing on health issues of poor people ASSCOD has gradually expanded its work to promoting social and economic development of the rural poor through women empowerment.  Major development activities are based on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The heart of ASSCOD’s innovative approach is the Community Based Organisation (CBO) framework. This gives a valuable entry point to rural communities and enables us to facilitate real change for people at grass roots level.  Activities carried out under the CBO framework, range from women empowerment and entrepreneurship programs to health, education and disaster management initiatives.

ASSCOD’s vision is of all people in rural India living in an economically developed society, where men and women from all castes have their social rights recognised and they have access to education and health services.

ASSCOD’s mission is to empower rural women and their families through facilitating economic development, establishing educational opportunities and enabling health improvements.

Entrepreneurship and Skills Training Programs bring about improved economic and social status for women. ASSCOD also uses the CBO framework to action health and education programs in target villages.  The programs include preventative and curative health camps, and health awareness training; and education initiatives including tuition centers, establishing rural libraries, and promoting adult literacy. Skills training supports the women to be successful:  teaching women the concept of self-help; leadership skills; basic accounting; facilitating links with banks and government organisations.

The CBO’s include Self­Help Groups (SHG’s), Federations and Apex Bodies of SHG’s. They take up development challenges and achieve sustainable development autonomously. The cluster level organisations access networks and links with banks, government organisations, and international development organisations.

Through the “Capacitation of Women for Sustainable Development” project, ASSCOD has formed over 350 women Self-Help Groups with more than 5,000 members of families living below the poverty line in 36 villages of Vandavasi and Cheyyar Taluks of Thiruvanamalai District.  ASSCOD’s target groups are mainly in the rural areas of Madurantakam, Cheyyar and Vandavasi Blocks in Tamil Nadu, India, and include lower caste families living below the poverty line.