A Plan for Empowerment In India
Teaming up with CARE, Cargill works to break the cycle of extreme poverty in the Kutch region of India.
January 01, 2015
Surrounded by the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Kutch, the district of Kutch (Kachchh), India, is a region that is vulnerable to flooding and earthquakes. While 30% of its population is urban, living in cities drastically damaged by recent quakes, a majority of residents reside in rural regions, with 40% considered malnourished, and in addition, 25% living in extreme poverty conditions.
To improve conditions across the district, Cargill took a long-term approach, seeking solutions to complex issues like financial sustainability and food security. Donating nearly US $3 million as the sole funder of a five-year project with non-profit CARE, Cargill helped launch K-LEAP (the Kutch Livelihood Education Advancement Project) in 2008, a program focused on three initiatives: farmer support, women empowerment and childhood education.
Through K-LEAP, farmers have access to agricultural service centers and milk collection sites, driving a 50% spike in agriculture productivity and a 182% increase in milk producer salaries.
“Women bring change to the family. When you do something for women, they then do it for [their] family.”
— Veena Padina, Program Director for Gujarat State, CARE
To create opportunities for women, K-LEAP supports 400 self-help groups that have 5,000 members. By providing financial and business training, these groups have helped more than 1,600 women generate their own incomes.
With limited education for boys (and often non-existent for girls), K-LEAP works to improve quality and create equality in schools. The program funds new textbooks, technical support and training for more than 3,000 teachers.
Today, K-LEAP is meeting its goals, positively impacting more than 9,000 households in more than 225 villages throughout Kutch. More than 70,000 boys and girls are regularly attending school, learning the skills that will ultimately empower them to break the cycle of poverty in their own lifetimes.