Cultivating Livelihoods — A Global Gathering in Araku Valley

2 millionth tree

Jairam Ramesh, Union Minister for Rural Development, Government of India, plants the 2 millionth tree of the Araku Valley project to commemorate the event.

As the sun rose over the lush Araku Valley, history was being made.  For the first time, visitors from around the globe gathered for the 2012 Livelihoods Network Camp to co-build solutions for rural communities to live in healthy, sustainable ecosystems.

The Livelihoods Network Camp (October 8-11) began with a symbolic event—the planting of over 100 new trees by individuals representing 61 organizations from across 21 countries.  Their collective presence and participation in this forum represents a new approach to investing in livelihoods through co-creation and local interactions.

Why Araku Valley?

The Livelihoods Network was born out of the belief that the success of large scale impactful projects depends on capacity building and knowledge sharing between practitioners.  In 2011 the Network held its first Camp in Paris to explore sustainable development practices through the sharing of best practices, tools and methodologies.  In 2012, more than ever before, the Livelihoods Network wanted to put the rural communities they serve at the forefront of the event, hence the gathering in Araku.

This year, the dialogue is broken up into six distinct workshops consisting of site visits and team discussions.  In line with this year’s emphasis on local involvement, the agenda was determined by talking to the adivasis (tribals) in the Paderu Tribal Agency Area.  These key themes that emerged—carbon monitoring, access to market, household energy, financial inclusion, nutritional security, and improving agricultural capacity—span multiple social development parameters in a holistic approach to livelihood promotion.

The Enablers—The Livelihoods Fund and Naandi Foundation

The Livelihoods Fund bridges the gap between rural communities and the corporate sector by addressing the needs of both through an innovative carbon investment fund.  The Fund’s primary objective is to provide nutritional security and social value to rural communities through sustainable ecological development.  Corporations, on the other end of the equation, receive high quality carbon offsets in return for a financial investment in the fund.  These corporations are also asked to provide technical and operational support to the projects they invest in.

Livelhoods Network Camp 2012

 Leaders from Livelihoods Venture, Naandi Foundation, local cooperatives, and several government agencies address 100 representatives of farmers from each village.

One such investment of the Livelihoods Fund is the Nandi Foundation’s Araku Valley project.  Naandi has been working in Araku Valley with the adivasis for nearly a decade and a half.  Their mandate is to change the lives of the underserved populations in India through public-private partnerships.  In addition to the work they do to create sustainable livelihood options for farmers, they are also committed to the protection of child rights and the provision of safe drinking water.  Across India, their programs provide livelihoods to 20,000 tribals, feed 1.1 million children per day through their midday meals program, and provide safe drinking water to over 200,000 people living in villages.

Holistic approaches to livelihood like Naandi’s that set an example for others in the same space.  We expect that over the next few days, this unique group of people will learn from each other, but more importantly, from the local communities and community partners.

Reblogged via: Mahindra Rise