who we work with: Jeevika Trust

The organisation

Jeevika Trust aims at alleviating poverty in India through revitalising rural communities. They work with local NGO’s and adopt a hands-on approach in marginalised village communities.

Founded in 1970, Jeevika has completed a wide-range of projects in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Odisha and Tamil Nadu, all of which have focussed on the needs of women and their families to generate income and improve the quality of village life. Jeevika’s vision is of an India without absolute poverty where all people have the opportunity to live with dignity, free from hunger, deprivation and marginalisation. Through five local partners, it currently supports over 1,580 women formed into over 200 Self-Help Groups to grow food, earn money, access safe water and sanitation facilities, and assist those living with HIV/AIDS. Through its wider activities, Jeevika currently benefits 54,000 villagers in over 90 villages across Tamil Nadu and Odisha. 

We started working with Jeevika Trust in 2009 on a project to provide safe water and sanitation facilities in two tribal villages in Orissa. We have since had success and we liked what they do so much that we agreed to fund another three projects with them: project Eco-Barhampur and project Tamil Nadu and live now with project Namakkal.

The project

Over 80% of villagers in the project area live on less than $1.25 per day (the global definition of extreme poverty). Children are noticeably underweight for their age and there is poor nutrition generally.

The project will work specifically with the highly vulnerable and marginalized Dalit community from 13 villages within the Kabilarmalai & Paramathi Blocks of the Namakkal District in Tamil Nadu which is economically and socially outside the reach of mainstream services and support. 75% are landless, and young Dalit women are especially vulnerable as they are likely to be sexually harassed by men both within and outside the community. Most women are employed seasonally as agricultural labourers receiving wages as low as Rs40 (42p) per day. 

The overall aim of the project is to achieve the empowerment of the most impoverished Dalit and other low-caste Self Help Groups of women and their families through the use of local, cost-effective eco-friendly technologies that sustain agriculture and generate income. In addition, providing supplementary education and addressing issues of discrimination, health and hygiene within their village communities.

They will provide training to 90 women farmers on eco-friendly technologies that will conserve water and generate new agricultural livelihood opportunities by re-introducing traditional agricultural practices, particularly millet cultivation, which works well in a drought-prone area. The women will grow more food to eat and sell, meaning improved nutrition and health, and increased family income for their 1,350 family members. 

The project with also help improve retention rates of 150 Dalit students (boys/girls) through provision of supplementary evening education tuition and sessions in conversational English. Another 1,127 villagers will benefit from a Seed Wealth Centre, from literacy training or from other awareness raising activities.