Forest rights leading to livelihood security

Forest rights leading to livelihood security

Agriculture and minor forest produces are major sources of income for forest dependent communities, especially for Tribals or Adivasis. Agriculture is not very lucrative as it is largely rain-fed, hence seasonal (3-4 months in a year). Before implementation of the Forest Rights Act (FRA) 2006, tribal occupation on forest land was considered encroachment and hence no government schemes reached these locations. Most of the villages are not connected with central electricity grid. Even if the grid has been extended, supply of reliable and required power is a huge issue. Necessary infrastructural development to support irrigation is also absent in these villages.

Oxfam India along with Badlao Foundation is working in 35 tribal villages located in Sundarpahari Block of Godda district in Jharkhand on implementation of the FRA 2006, management of natural resources, and livelihoods. Tiliapara is one such village. Individual Forest Rights of five families have been recognised while 14 other claims are in various stages of the recognition process. Recognition of land titles is only the beginning for building resilience.

Understanding the need to strengthen diverse livelihood bases, Oxfam India, in 2018, mapped the livelihood activities pursued by communities. Need for provisions for irrigation was widely felt to make agriculture profitable. Through a micro-level planning exercise, Oxfam India developed irrigation plans for Tiliapara and five more villages. All the plans were submitted to the Jharkhand Tribal Development Society (JTDS) for convergence with their micro-irrigation schemes.

Spatial map of Tiliapara Gravity Flow based irrigation

In September 2019, JTDS executed the plan for Tiliapara in one of its hamlets inhabited by Pahadiya tribe. It is a Gravity Flow Based Irrigation Scheme which will support 30 families including the five families whose individual forest rights have been recognised. This system will not only help communities in taking multiple crops throughout the year but will also save a lot of time that women used to invest every day to source water for regular household activities. Also to mention, not a single tree was cut in this whole process for diverting water from uphill to the agricultural land downhill.

Economic Justice

We work towards fair sharing of natural resources and ensuring better livelihoods for forest-dependent communities

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