Western Odisha rural livelihoods project

The Kalahandi Bolangir Koraput (KBK) region of western Odisha is home to people who are among the poorest in India. The local environment can be difficult to live in as rainfall is irregular leading to intermittent crop failures, and there is often a shortage of safe drinking water. The health and education status of the people is very poor, and hence, they are highly vulnerable to shocks. Inequitable social structures, distorted land distribution, and indebtedness contribute to the widespread poverty and impede access to resources by the socially excluded and marginalised. To address these problems, WORLP has developed a livelihood approach to their existing watershed programme. WORLP’s livelihoods approach focuses on leveraging the existing strengths and resources of rural communities. This model, also known as the Watershed Plus Programme, works to create an enabling environment for empowering people to make informed choices for their long-term well being. It involves all sectors of rural society across caste, class, gender and other divides. Many innovative processes and technologies have been tried under the programme’s directive, and much of the work has been successful. Lessons have been learned and replicated in other parts of the country.