Showing posts with label India. Show all posts
Showing posts with label India. Show all posts

January 03, 2020

Odisha's Kondh women lead a kitchen revolution in their backyards

Overcoming taboos and becoming more knowledgeable about abundant local foods, malnourished Kondh people in Odisha are bringing diversity to their food baskets through backyard kitchen gardens

Kaikeyi Majhi of Kalahandi's Kamegaon village irrigates
her kitchen garden. © Basudev Mahapatra
“Unless we consume a variety of foods that include vegetables and greens, pulses and legumes, and meat and fish along with rice, where will we get adequate nutrition? How can our children have proper physical and cognitive growth?” asked Golapi Kanhar.

The question from Golapi Kanhar (35) of remote Kasirikhol village in Kandhamal district, a Kondh woman with primary education, reflects increasing awareness about nutrition and food diversity within the community.

September 25, 2019

Odisha’s tribal women discard tradition to space out childbirths

Odisha’s tribal women, suffering the adverse health effects of childbirths in quick succession combined with strenuous agricultural and household work, are breaking community norms to use contraceptives

© Basudev Mahapatra
Rita Mandal (34) of Bali Sahi, a hamlet under Dhepaguda panchayat of Gajapati district inhabited by Saora tribes, gave birth to five children, of which three died. Though a series of pregnancies without interval led to ill health, she felt helpless because women of her community had no choice regarding pregnancy

Similar were the cases of Sumitra, Sebati, Sugami and most other women between 30 and 40 years of age. Pregnancies without space led to ill health of most of these women. “Due to physical weakness, it was painful for me to go to the forest to collect firewood and other forest produce or work in my family farm,” said Arati Raita (32), mother of three children.

April 10, 2019

Living in a hate culture: Hatred conquers India’s civic space

A march in London against mob lynching culture of India.
Copyright: South Asia Solidarity Group (southasiasolidarity.org)
Known to be a single nation despite diversity in almost all spheres, India’s spirit of ‘unity in diversity’ is under threat because of the hate culture that has grown to gargantuan proportion over the years and spread across the country. Expressed in many forms and forums, words of hate, generally called hate speech, have not only spread hatred and incited violence across the length and breadth of India, but also are severely endangering the very fabric and ethos of Indian society.

April 05, 2019

Mahanadi needs rejuvenation plans to remain a live river system

Mahanadi River at Mundali barrage near Cuttack city, Odisha
Photograph: Basudev Mahapatra

At the centre of the dispute, since 2016, between Odisha and Chhattisgarh over sharing of water, River Mahandi is getting overstressed and its basin ecosystem degrading day by day

Mahanadi is the sixth largest river of India. It originates from a pool, 6 KM from Farsiya village of Dhamtari district, in the State of Chhattisgarh, and flows about 851 KM east through Odisha to reach the Bay of Bengal near Paradip in Jagatsinghpur district.

March 15, 2019

Community interventions reverse desertification trend in Odisha’s Balangir


Byasadev Bhoi, 58, of Pandel village of Odisha’s in Balangir district was very excited while showing the pond the villagers have dug. The pond has changed their lives by ensuring water to irrigate about 150 acres of agricultural land even during dry seasons between the months of January and May. Byasadev is happy that the young members of his family don’t need to migrate to other states in search of jobs anymore as they are now able to grow more than two crops in their fields.

Balangir district being chronically drought-prone, this was not the life villagers of Pandel lived before. 

Women’s control over food brings nutritional equity in Odisha’s KBK region

Pramila Behera, 27, of Pengdusi village in Thuamul Rampur block of Odisha’s Kalahandi district has started her nutrition garden over two decimal of land beside her house. The small garden offers her the freedom to decide what kind of food items she is going to offer to her husband, daughters and son. 

Though the idea of nutrition garden is quite like a traditional kitchen garden. But, the difference here is that Pramila grows a wide range of vegetables, legumes and leaves in her nutrition garden so that it can give her control over food and fulfil the micronutrient needs of her family.

February 27, 2019

Fishing communities of Odisha protect the endangered olive ridley sea turtle

Fishing communities in eastern India are setting an example by protecting endangered olive ridley marine turtles during their annual mating and nesting activities, and helping millions of tiny hatchlings reach the sea safely.

Villagers of Gokharkuda help hatchlings reach the sea safely © Basudev Mahapatra

January 26, 2019

No doubt, Rahul Gandhi emerges as a mass leader


The Odisha visit of All India Congress Committee (AICC) President Rahul Gandhi, on January 25, 2019, must have fuelled the state chapter of Indian National Congress (INC) with energy to step into the forthcoming general elections. This apart, his response to questions in a town hall programme signified the emergence of a leader with a vision for the country in Rahul Gandhi.

The issues he raised here were the issues concerning the ordinary and the issues that people in general wanted politicians to speak on and discuss. Gandhi spoke about his vision about education, health, employment, agriculture and possible measures for the agrarian community to re-emerge as a contributor to Indian economy.

October 18, 2018

Cyclones buffet Odisha as temperatures rise


The rise in temperatures due to climate change has increased the vulnerability of Odisha on the east coast of India to intense cyclonic storms

Cyclone Titli made landfall on October 11, 2018,
and caused extensive damage in coastal areas of
Odisha and Andhra Pradesh
The southern coast of Odisha, with the small port town of Gopalpur at its centre, seems to have become a favoured destination for tropical cyclones occurring in the months of October-November in the Bay of Bengal. This year, coastal districts of Odisha and neighbouring Andhra Pradesh on the east coast around Gopalpur faced two intense tropical cyclones — Daye in September and Titli in October.

Gopalpur has been facing a constant threat of post-monsoon tropical cyclones since at least 1999 when it was badly hit by a devastating tropical cyclone 10 days before the super cyclone of 1999. The later one hit near Odisha’s port town of Paradeep in the early hours of October 29 ravaged large parts of coastal areas, leading to at least 10,000 deaths.

October 16, 2018

Assam: Skill training empowers girls, raises hope for gender parity

#GenderEmpowerment

Skill development trainings are not only helping rural communities fight poverty in Assam but are also empowering girls to aspire big, overcoming challenges posed by social stigma and deep-rooted gender disparity


After her training in office administration skill, Kakoli Bora, 25, now works as assistant manager with a microfinance company in Assam.

September 12, 2018

Women in agriculture suffer due to unequal land rights

Although they are often the actual cultivators, the lack of land rights among women farmers in Odisha has resulted in chronic distress because they are unable to get government loans or compensation over crop loss
Since her husband migrated out of Odisha for work, it fell upon Remati Majhi (25) of Dhamnaguda village in Nuapada district to cultivate rice in the fields owned by her husband. But she could neither avail any government loan nor insure the crop because she didn’t have title over the land. So, she had no option but to arrange the required resources through private moneylenders.

July 26, 2018

Act now to spur urban climate resilience

Like most cities in India, Bhubaneswar is being driven to its knees due to extreme rainfall and intolerable temperatures, underscoring the urgent need for climate-smart urban planning 


After intense overnight showers, Bhubaneswar woke up on Saturday, July 21, morning with half the city under water. The situation at the capital of the eastern state of Odisha in many ways typifies poor urban management in India that is crumbling under adverse climatic conditions.

Residents in many parts of the city were stranded in their homes and the condition was so dire in some parts that the state’s disaster response team has to start rescue operations. Roads in the state capital looked like gushing streams. Disaster response forces moved to waterlogged areas with floating pumps to drain out water.

July 18, 2018

Araku Valley takes baby steps to address maternal health

An initiative to reach healthcare services to pregnant women and new mothers in the underdeveloped Araku Valley, bordering Odisha's Koraput district, has seen a measure of success in tribal communities ruled by superstition and regressive practices

In a lively anganwadi or daycare center in Godiguda village, an auxiliary nurse midwife (ANM) conducting health check up of over 10 women, some pregnant and others lactating, reflected the changing scenario in maternal and child health in the Araku Valley of Andhra Pradesh.

Traditionally, delivery cases handled by a dhai, elderly women from the village or the community, being the practice, and pregnant women visiting a medical or a doctor considered an act against norm, pregnant mothers had to submit themselves to their fate despite high rate of maternal and neonatal mortality in the valley, Malati (35), who has decided to go for an institutional delivery for her sixth child, told VilageSquare.in.

January 10, 2018

Traditional tribal farming shows way to climate-smart agriculture

The practice of planting a wide variety of crops by Odisha’s Dongria Kondh tribe could hold the key to strengthen climate-smart agriculture in a state that has been buffeted by recurrent droughts and erratic rainfall.

December 29, 2017

As climate change alters agriculture, forest food could be the answer. Odisha's indigenous Kondhs prove it

India's indigenous Kondh community has relied on forest food for millennia. As climate change reduces agricultural yields, this source of nutrition could be crucial for food security. 


As agriculture and climate change are victims and causes of each other, with effects such as drought affecting land productivity, reaching the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals which include achieving global food security and ending hunger by 2030 has become even more challenging.

In view of this, forests can play a crucial role as the basis of a sustainable food system – as has been the norm in the Kondh community, an indigenous group spread across the forests and hilly regions of the south of India’s Odisha state, for millennia.

December 15, 2017

Forest food ensures nutritional security of Odisha’s tribes

Access to naturally grown forest produce would go a long way in protecting tribal communities in Odisha from the worst impacts of climate change and supply them with all that they need for sustenance

Sunamai Mambalaka, a Kondh tribal woman in her 50s, is not bothered about the vulnerability of cultivated crops to climate change. She believes that she and her community will never experience hunger as long as the forest, their perennial source of food, exists. “I was born in the forest, I grew with the forest. Forest is our life and soul,” she said.

June 02, 2017

Air pollution in India, a threat to human lives bigger than terrorism

Air pollution in India kills more people than terrorism every year. Yet there is no international war against pollution as there is against terrorism
Terrorism has drawn global attention and most countries have joined the effort to contrast it. But the international community is yet to wage a war against air pollution despite the enormity of the hazard it poses for global health. In India, for example, terrorism has taken 65,900 human lives between 1994 and 2017, which is almost half of deaths caused by air pollution in a single year.

April 09, 2017

Conserving rainwater in subsurface soil to fight water scarcity

Indigenous communities in India's Rayagada district mitigate the challenges of water scarcity by storing rainwater in subsurface soil. A cheap and concrete solution to a global problem.  

With a population of over 1.2 billion people, India’s per capita water availability has decreased substantially over the years. From 5,200 cubic metres (m3) in 1951 to 1,588 m3 in 2010 according to the Water Resources Information System (WRIS). This may shrink further to 1,401 m3 and 1,191 mby 2025 and 2050 respectively. To note is that the average volume isn’t available everywhere because of temporal and spatial variations in rainfall.

March 24, 2017

After defeating Posco, farmers turn to reclaim betel leaf economy

The formal closure of Posco’s steel plant project in Odisha is seen as a victory of agrarian economy over unwanted industrialization and the betel leaf farmers of Jagatsinghpur are rejoicing, although those who lost their land face new challenges.

In a unique case of victory of the agrarian economy over mineral-based industrial economy, betel leaf farming in the Jagatsinghpur district of Odisha proved to be more dependable and promising than the proposed $12 billion integrated steel plant project planned by one of the world’s largest steel producer POSCO.

March 15, 2017

Ending child marriage by making young girls the agents of change

Though child marriage continues to remain a serious global concern, interventions to contrast it carried out by governments and global organisations are starting to show results. Raising hope to end the practice, the Gumma block in India’s Gajapati district, populated by tribal populations, has taken centre stage by becoming child marriage free thanks to a United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) programme involving thousands of girls in adolescent clubs to learn and share their views on the topic.