The Project at a Glance:
Resilient Agriculture & Self Help Groups – In Partnership with the Local Church
- 54 Villages in Saura & Malto Communities in Rayagada DIstrict, Odisha State, India
- Pakur, Pakur District, Jharkhand State, India
Local Church Partners –
- Evangelical Fellowship of India Commission on Relief (EFICOR)
- Free Methodist Chruch – Christian Outreach Uplifting New Tribes (COUNT)
People Impacted – 6,990
Women and Children Impacted – 51% (combined Pakur and Saura)
Total Project 2019-2021 – $155,000 per year
With the Saura and Pakur communities, located in Eastern India, agricultural production is low and seasonal. Located on isolated, rugged terrain, these ethnic communities lack access to basic facilities like clean water, health care, and education. They live in an area of 4 months of monsoon rain, followed by 8 months of drought.
These marginalized ethnic communities are dependent on increasingly unproductive agriculture. Vulnerability and poverty levels are high. They face problems such as hunger, and malnutrition, physical and psychological hardships, social discrimination, economic instability, political powerlessness, and very low agriculture production.
We work alongside EFICOR and the Free Methodist Church’s social service arm C.O.U.N.T (Christian Outreach Uplifting New Tribes) to address the needs of these communities.
This project creates livelihood opportunities through Conservation Agriculture, Saving and Loans Self-Help Groups, and skill development. Projects in Pkur and Saura districts help vulnerable farmers become food secure, reduce the need for seasonal migration of the community’s men to bigger centers for work. In addition, pregnant women and children receive nutritional support and health education to reduce malnutrition.
- Lack of access to financial services.
- Food insecurity and malnutrition.
- Physical hardships and low agricultural production.
- Tribal caste system causing discrimination and political powerlessness.
- Isolated and hilly areas deprived of services.
- Good agricultural land is almost absent
- Monsoon rains followed by drought.
- Lack of Market Linkages for cash crops.
- Active Rebel groups limiting good development.
Through a community based organizational approach, farmers learn low rainfall agriculture practices, by receiving training in:
- Planting techniques and crop rotation.
- Green manure, mulching, composting and intercropping.
- Ways to improve soil fertility.
- Water harvesting to enable irrigation of select lowland fields, especially for rice.
- Forest management training.
Through a community based organizational approach community members gain economic empowerment and stability through:
- Self Help Groups.
- Training and provision of male goats for breeding.
- Market linkages to increase sales of non-timber forest products such as fruits, nuts, broom materials, honey, etc.
- Horticulture production.
Mentoring and Capacity Building:
Through mentorship, existing Village Councils will learn to engage in advocacy and interface meetings with local government and service providers in order to access basic services for their community.
How we work with the Local Church:
Tearfund works with national church relief and development arms and local churches. They are part of the largest social service network in the world! We recognize that sustainable solutions to poverty require whole-life transformations – physical, economic, emotional and spiritual.
Tearfund is introducing savings group programs among the Saura people to improve household incomes and help people gain freedom from unethical loan practices. The rural poor in India often find themselves in a perpetual debt trap to local money lenders who charge exorbitant interest rates of 60-100 percent. Savings groups complement agricultural programming by providing access to loans that farmers can use to buys seeds, tools and livestock in order to fully benefit from their training.
Prone to increasingly common environmental disasters, India remains vulnerable to annual extreme weather events. In the past three years, the country has seen devastating rainfall and flooding throughout Bihar and Kerala, killing over 3,000 people and displacing 47 million between India, Bangladesh, and Nepal. The poorest were hit the hardest – their houses are not built to withstand heavy rainfall, landslides or flooding, and flooding is especially detrimental to areas where livelihoods depend on agriculture. Crops were washed out, along with people’s source of food and income for the next year. Tearfund’s partner EFICOR has worked to provide safety and care to the poorest and hardest-hit areas of India.
Work done in the last year:
- 912 farmers were trained in Conservation Agriculture
- 447 farmers were trained in improved dry-land farming and System of Rice Intensification (SRI)
- 1,008 farmers participated in livestock management training
- 3 open wells were renovated in 3 villages in Pakur, allowing 437 people to access clean drinking water
- 27 savings groups were established, reaching 2,401 people
From the Saura ethnic community, the Patika family, like other farmers, faced many challenges to their rice production. Trinath heard about the “System of Rice Intensification” (SRI) training from one of his neighbors and was keen to apply the practice. Eager to start, the family received rice seed and SRI training just in time for planting season. Even in erratic monsoons and a cyclone, the SRI plants were much stronger than their traditional plants and were able to withstand monsoon damage. He looks forward to harvesting 70% more yield than last year, providing his family with food security all year! Moreover, a Free Methodist Church was recently planted in his community.