Tearfund Canada works alongside The Evangelical Fellowship of India’s Commission on Relief (EFICOR) to empower the rural poor in India. Within the Saura and Pakur communities, located in Eastern India, agricultural production is low and seasonal, and villagers are able to cultivate and harvest only one crop a year. Located on isolated, rugged terrain, these ethnic communities lack access to basic facilities like clean water, health care and education, leading to a substandard life. Tearfund and EFICOR are teaching new farming methods that increase agricultural yields, training on livestock management and establishing seed banks. Projects in Pakur and Rayagada districts help vulnerable farmers become food secure and reduce the need for seasonal migration of the community’s men to bigger centres for work. In addition, pregnant women and children will receive nutritional support, and health education to reduce malnutrition.
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.
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