Axis Bank Foundation Celebrates Earth Day: Empowering Sustainable Livelihoods in Odisha

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  • The Sustainable Livelihood Programme in Odisha transformed over 100,000 rural households
  • The programme empowers community members and institutions through advanced farming knowledge and promoting sustainable agriculture practices.
  • It has significantly reduced dependence on electricity and fuel through demonstrated community pilots of solar-based solutions

Bhubaneswar: As we celebrate the Earth Day, Axis Bank Foundation (ABF) and Harsha Trust come together to commemorate their efforts to uplift rural communities in Odisha through sustainable agricultural practices. In 2012, ABF and Harsha Trust launched the Sustainable Livelihood Programme in Odisha that has positively impacted the lives and livelihoods of over 100,000 rural households, marking a significant stride towards environmental sustainability and economic empowerment.

The Sustainable Livelihood Programme has been playing a significant role in enhancing the incomes of these households by strategically reducing the need for distress migration, and by providing them viable and sustainable income opportunities within their community. By empowering the participants with advanced agricultural techniques, multi-cropping systems, facilitating access to vital infrastructure like solar-based solutions, the programme is a testament to the power of collaborative impact.

Kuni Bhatra, a marginal farmer from Odisha, exemplifies the transformative impact of the programme. Previously limited to cultivating paddy on a small plot of land, Kuni’s participation in the programme equipped her with knowledge, tools and built capacities on advanced agricultural practices. Today, she practices multi-cropping, resulting in increased crop yields and diversified income sources. Reflecting on her journey, Kuni shares, “Before, I could hardly meet my family’s needs, but now, with multi-cropping, there’s better nutrition for my children and surplus crop produce to sell. The training and support have given me hope for the future.”

Commenting on the initiative Dhruvi Shah, CEO, Axis Bank Foundation said, “Our collaboration with Harsha Trust on the Sustainable Livelihood Programme exemplifies how targeted support and education in agriculture can fundamentally enhance rural economies. This Earth Day, we celebrate the tangible results seen by families who now have a more secure and sustainable way of life, as a result of the continuous interventions.”

The programme’s success was recognized at the 3rd edition of FICCI’s Sustainable Agriculture Awards 2023, where it won an award under the Sustainable Farmer Income Enhancement Programme category. This accolade underscores the effectiveness and scalability of the sustainable practices implemented.

On this Earth Day, the success stories of people like Kuni Bhatra underscore the program’s role in fostering sustainable development. By nurturing the environment and enhancing human well-being, the programme continues to drive positive change across rural Odisha.

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