The Covenant Centre for Development (CCD) is a not-for-profit development organisation promoted in 1989 by a group of young graduates in social work. CCD envisions realising ‘Life in understanding and harmony with nature’. It works for ‘building community based institutions around traditional wisdom to face new challenges’. Keeping poverty reduction and addressing vulnerabilities of people in the drought prone and climate vulnerable districts of Southern Tamil Nadu as its central focus, CCD started working with the youth to address migration in the beginning. Subsequently, CCD expanded its outreach among socially and economically disadvantaged women by organising them into self-help groups (KALASAMs) and federating them as MAHA KALASAMs to relieve the poor households from the clutches of usurious moneylenders. Creating access to credit and technology for promoting sustainable livelihoods was the core focus.
CCD began to work with the Maha Kalasam Federations that were financially and operationally self-reliant for further graduating them into self-managed community enterprises built around specialised livelihoods. Grama Mooligai Company Limited, (GMCL) promoted by CCD is the first company launched with ethos of community enterprise in India long before the concept of producer company came into existence. With the experience gained from GMCL, CCD started identifying and promoting community enterprises around local resources and traditional skills (LRTS). The LRTS based enterprise promotion created ample scope for cutting costs of inputs, shortening of supply chains, building better market access and enhancing the bargaining power of small and marginal producers, all contributing to the removal of impediments to their development.