The regional office was set up with a clear mandate to promote the conservation and livelihood agenda across large areas of eastern India that are still well forested and rich in biodiversity. They are predominantly inhabited by tribal and other forest communities who have a history of community protection of forests, especially in Orissa. In recent years, however, the area has seen an increasing trend towards exploitation of large reserves of minerals and the setting up of associated industries.
In order to develop a better understanding on development trends in Orissa, we prepared an Atlas on the Development Context of the State and six district-level atlases. The Atlas is a compilation ofinformation on nearly all development indicators, accompanied with in-depth analysis of the changes underway in Orissa and their impact on the people of the State. A series of consultative workshops were held at State and district levels to present the findings of this exercise.
Besides the FES offices in the region, we assist eight partner organizations in planning their engagement with the MGNREGA, including selection of landscapes and villages where programme funds will be invested towards implementing eco-restoration activities for better forest protection. In addition, we have been collecting, analyzing, and disseminating information related to the MGNREGA by preparing regular news updates, initiating an e-group focused on the MGNREGA, and sharing circulars and other communications from the State authorities with larger interest groups.