Nourishing India: A plan for empowerment
Cargill partners with CARE to help break the cycle of poverty in India
Cargill’s growing food business in India is concentrating its corporate responsibility efforts on malnutrition and its underlying causes through a series of projects called “Nourishing India.”
Nourishing India is a multi-pronged program that addresses food insecurity in India. It comprises multiple initiatives addressing micronutrient deficiency, distribution and delivery. In addition to partnering with CARE and WFP, programs include fortifying edible oil, partnering on food bank networks and school feeding programs.
|View the Cargill video from Kutch, Gujarat, India.|
January 2012 – Following a devastating earthquake in 2001, CARE, a leading humanitarian organization that works to fight global poverty, entered Kutch, India, to provide relief for the affected residents of the tribal region. With Cargill’s support and a donation of $2.5 million in 2008, the project evolved to become one that would utilize a number of strategies to empower the people in the region to lift themselves out of poverty.
Recently, employees from CARE and Cargill visited India to better understand the impact of this program on area residents.
Women in Kutch were traditionally confined to their homes with limited ability to even socialize with other women in their community. CARE recognized an opportunity to motivate these villagers to invest in their own future by organizing self-help groups for women. The groups are provided seed money from Cargill’s donation, and are able to pool their own resources to distribute micro-loans to applicants to cover various needs, including the purchase of farm equipment for their village or to support new mothers.
Today, more than 5,000 women in Kutch are in self-help groups and are working to reduce financial issues related to poverty.
In addition to working with women in Kutch, CARE is working to improve girls’ access to education, recognizing it as the cornerstone of empowerment and breaking the cycle of poverty. When CARE began its work with a government boarding school for girls in the village of Kodki, there were only 17 students enrolled – today, 85 students are enrolled. Based on this success, the organization has expanded its education improvement outreach to include more than 130 schools, providing science demonstration kits, textbooks, teacher training, sports equipment and new curriculum to improve students’ success.
Improving milk and agriculture production – and farmer incomes
Most farmers in Kutch depended on subsistence farming when the CARE project began. Because of the limited amount of milk dairy farmers were able to produce, the area lost its market with the national development board. CARE worked to bring farmers together to pool their milk supplies at collection stations and worked with the board to reinstate agreements to purchase milk again. Since these changes have been in effect, farmer incomes have increased by 400 percent and milk production has also increased.