Health care and participation in community life for women and children, Odisha, India

The Bolangir region is one of the poorest regions in India. The majority of the population here lives in rural areas. The most marginalised population groups – Adivasis (indigenous people) and Dalits (so-called “casteless”) make up 22% and 15% of the total population respectively. Literacy is a low 64%, but particularly low among women at only 53% (according to the 2011 census). Since the 1980s, there have been regular periods of drought, which have had a negative impact on securing the livelihoods of the local population. People look for work in neighbouring countries and often become victims of violence and exploitation. Phased or year-round migration is thus an important issue in families. Children in particular suffer from the harsh realities of life in the district and are forced to work to contribute to the family’s livelihood. The child mortality rate is particularly high in this region and basic needs such as food, education or health are not ensured for the children in Bolangir.

To address these problems, the local organisation Palli Alok Pathagar (PAP) has, among other things, launched a project to install and manage kitchen gardens. These help to combat child malnutrition and ensure healthy and sufficient nutrition for mothers. Additional income can reduce problematic migration from the villages.

A so-called kitchen garden is about small organic herb and vegetable beds that are created without a lot of tools and materials and do not require expensive chemicals. They can be used by women from low-income and marginalized families to ensure sufficient healthy nutrition for the family.

In the last quarter, 100 families were supported by the Schöck-Familien-Stiftung, Aktionsgemeinschaft Solidarische Welt e.V. and the partner organisation PAP to plant an organic kitchen garden. This also includes learning and building a kitchen compost for pesticide-free fertilizer to use for the kitchen gardens. Awareness of healthy eating was also raised through a number of workshops for the families on healthy eating and the creation of a health plan for five villages.

Project sponsor :      Aktionsgemeinschaft Solidarische Welt e.V. (ASW)

Project partner:        Palli Alok Pathagar (PAP)

Funding year:           since 2021

Project No.:               134-21 A


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