Tearfund Canada works alongside The Evangelical Fellowship of India’s Commission on Relief (EFICOR) to empower the rural poor in India. In Pakur, for example, the rugged geographical terrain has prevented people from accessing basic facilities like potable water, health care, and good quality education, leading to a substandard life. Agriculture production is low and seasonal, villagers are only able to cultivate and harvest only one crop a year. Tearfund and EFICOR are teaching new farming methods that increase agricultural yields, training on livestock management and establishing seed banks. Projects in Pakur and Saura 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 self help, savings group programs to improve household incomes and help people gain freedom from unethical loan practices. the rural poor in India often find themselves in 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.
In 2017 annual torrential rainfall and flooding throughout India, Bangladesh and Nepal killed over 1200 people, and left over 42 million others homeless. 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 worked with EFICOR to provide safety and care to the people in Bihar state – one of the poorest and hardest hit areas of India, supplying families with a food basket of rice, wheat, and oil, as well as bedding, mosquito nets and hygiene kits.
In the last year:
- 600 farmers (of 600 households) were given a variety of trainings in agriculture and health/nutrition.
- 441 farmers were given a special 3 day residential trainings on land preparation and sowing; various crop production such as corn, pigeon pea, millet, and rice; seed treatment and storage, bio pest management, and making of bio fertilizer.
- 360 vegetable gardens were established and seeds/seedlings given. Farmers have planted eggplant, tomato, okra, spinach, pumpkins, radish, potatoes, cauliflower, cabbage and leafy vegetables.
- 21 Village Vet Assistants (VVA’s) were trained on livestock management, including the symptoms of disease, and treatments, vaccination, and housing of the livestock.
- 19 community health workers were on the counseling of pregnant women and on nutrition. They are motivating the pregnant women to go for the ante-natal care.
- 615 children 0-5 years were weighed monthly and weights recorded. 26 malnourished children were referred to the government Malnutrition Treatment Centre for supplementary feeding and counseling.
- 182 people started Savings groups affecting the lives of 910 family members
- 24,000 people displaced by flooding received food aid and another 4435 were given access to clean water.