Sustainable rural livelihoods approach for climate change adaptation in Western Odisha, Eastern India

The economy of Odisha is primarily agrarian. Over 80% of the population of Odisha live in rural areas, where levels of poverty are higher than in the state's towns and cities. They depend for their livelihoods on farming and collecting forest products. During the dry season, many migrate elsewhere in Odisha and nearby states in search of temporary work as labourers. Odisha has the highest proportion of inhabitants from scheduled tribes and scheduled castes of all the states in India (39.9% compared to 24% nationally). These groups are marginalised and experience high rates of poverty, low levels of education and poor health. They are highly vulnerable to climate change, due to poverty and dependence on climate-sensitive livelihoods in a vulnerable region. The Western Odisha Rural Livelihoods Project sought to reduce poverty by improving communities' water resources, agriculture, and incomes. Communities were involved throughout and are now better able to respond to climate variability (both droughts and heavy rains). The Government of Odisha took full ownership of the project and state and national governments subsequently adopted approaches used by WORLP.

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