The project is being implemented in Gogunda Block of Udaipur District and was initiated in January 2004 with funding support from the United Nations Development Programme.
Tribal livelihood systems which are predominantly based upon wage labour, agriculture and forests, experience a dynamic pattern of interaction between socio-economic and bio-physical factors for meeting the consumptive and non-consumptive needs of local communities. In these agro-ecosystems, appropriation of the natural resources - such as biomass and water - from within the physical and natural environment plays a very crucial role in sustaining the subsistence livelihoods. Degradation of the resource base has resulted in disturbance in the above equilibrium and is resulting in collapse of the livelihood base of the dependent community.
Livelihoods in this area are dependent on land and water resources; the continuous degradation of these land and water resources poses serious problems to their livelihoods and the area in general. It has led to adverse economic and ecological consequences in contemporary rural society, where survival, sustenance and growth are intimately linked to the health and productivity of the natural surroundings. As a fall out of the degradation, the community (mostly male) seasonally or for long duration migrates to nearby cities or to bordering villages of Gujarat to work as unskilled labourers.
Reversing or stalling this downward spiral would require interventions in ecological, economic and social domains. Enhancing productivity and diversity of commons and private lands needs to be supplemented simultaneously by employment and income generating activities focussed on women and poor. This would require institutional arrangements to be in place to facilitate the processes of collective governance of common and private lands and also provide opportunities for socio-economic development.
The objectives of the proposed project are to improve rural livelihoods by:
- Improving commons and farming systems for strengthening the subsistence livelihood thereby providing scope for economic growth
- Providing scope for improvement of farm and non-farm income sources that will help in reducing vulnerability by improving income and spreading income risk.
- Strengthening institutional mechanisms that would improve the governance of natural resources and aid collective action, such that the arrangements are conducive to the women and poor.
- Improving the policy environment that provides for livelihood and ecological security.