Rajiv Gandhi Mahila Vikas Pariyojna (RGMVP) was initiated in 2002-03 in collaboration with the Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust to facilitate the formation of SHGs in two districts of -UP: Sultanpur and Raebareli. In the last seven years, RGMVP's reach has extended to 55 blocks spread across 14 backward districts of the state. The programme now reaches out to over 2,33,594 families, 19,228 women's SHGs, 531 village level SHG federations and 15 Block level federations across the project area. The savings generated have been leveraged through borrowings from banks and invested in a diversified portfolio of income generating activities.Rajiv Gandhi Mahila Vikas Pariyojna is also accociated with Baiga community in Chhattisgarh largely depends on forest and natural resources for its livelihood and is one of the poorest tribal groups in the country. RGF has partnered with Samarth to initiate SHGs in the area. The SHG members are gradually being trained on various livelihood options based on natural resources such as bamboo product making, grass products, organic farming, vermin compost making, etc. Currently, 200 women are a part of the project. We have made attempts to reach out to the community by conducting the Padyatra Programme (rally on foot) highlighting issues such as non-availability of government schemes and benefits. They community is also encouraged to develop micro plans which are presented at theNatural Resource Management is the flagship livelihood promotion programme of the Foundation directly implemented in the remote villages of Rajasthan.
The programme is implemented on the principle that because of water scarcity and growing competition large swathes of rural communities are pushed towards impoverishment and could threaten equitable and sustainable development, ecological balance and political stability. The increasing gap between the water availability and demand highlights the need to conserve, utilize and manage this important resource in a sustainable manner.Foundation started its NRM interventions in the remote areas of the Rajasthan state covering backward villages of Jaipur, Pali and Karoli district. The project area was selected on the basis of the poor conditions of the natural resources and willingness of the partner community to participate in the programme. The extreme economic backwardness of the region may be attributed in some measure directly to environmental degradation arising from lack of appropriate planning and poor developmental interventions. The natural resources in the region are in poor conditions because the geographic location does not support the abundant rainfall, poor quality and excessive depth of ground water, absence of Perennial River, open scrub forests and huge withdrawal from limited ground waterWater harvesting Programme is RGF's only directly implemented initiative under its livelihood promotion portfolio.
Livelihood options are generated through creation of water harvesting structures, initiating watershed activities, adopting and inculcating improved agriculture practices. At present the work is spread over in 115 villages, where 208 water harvesting structures have been constructed. The most pronounced benefit from the water harvesting structures has been in agriculture productivity. Because of water availability in wells and tube wells farmers have therefore been able to provide more irrigation to their crops which has led to increase in productivity, switch to more remunerative crops and increased net area under cultivation. To ensure that the communities have an ongoing stake in the assets being created, it is ensured that a minimum of 33 percent of the total expenditure would be borne by the community for works carried out on common lands whereas for individual and small user groups the contribution has been fixed at 50 percent or more.