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LEAD International has been awarded a grant worth nearly £500,000 by the Big Lottery Fund to transform the lives of tribal communities living in Orissa, India's poorest state.
The 'Securing Tribal Livelihoods in Orissa' project will target India's most disadvantaged groups, working directly with communities and local organisations to improve food security and livelihood options.
Tribal communities in Orissa have little knowledge of climate change adaptation, sustainable land and forest use, or new agricultural techniques. Most of those without land are either unemployed or receive low wages from seasonal agricultural work. Nutrition rates are poor and the area is a high-risk malaria zone.
Working in the Rayagada and Gajapati districts of Orissa, the project aims to improve food security for 3,000 households, transforming the lives of approximately 15,000 people including women and people with disabilities. From 2012 to 2015 it will deliver a combination of interventions to enhance the capacity of households and communities to improve income though farm and non-farm based livelihood options.
The project will focus particularly on building the capacity of farmers' groups and establishing information centres in each district where thousands of people can learn new skills in irrigation, seeding and increasing crop yields. Families who own farming land but live below the poverty line will be trained in good agricultural practices while those with none will be given greater access to financial services and alternative livelihoods. Small enterprise cooperatives will also be set up for a range of producer groups such as those working in mushroom cultivation, embroidery, beekeeping and timber products, using shared branding and marketing techniques.
The project will be delivered through an established partnership involving LEAD International, LEAD India and a network of local partners and stakeholders, with the generous support of the Big Lottery Fund.