Already a week passed by here in Jaipur. A week where I’ve been working together with my team mate Markus Fehr on our project with our client CECOEDECON: a NGO organisation focusing on enhancing the capabilities of the marginalised communities and its partners to address the needs and issues of the under privileged or in other words the poorest of the poor.
The contrast here in India between the rich and the poor is unprecedented. Over the past few decades this country has gone from being considered a third-world developing country to an emerging economic power in the new world. Thanks to progressive economic reforms a transformation has occurred. This has meant significant, visible progress and wealth generation. Unfortunately, the poor seem to be left behind. The gap between the poor and the wealthy is ever-expanding. The value of economic reforms to poverty reduction has been questioned. Some suggest it has caused a collapse of rural economies and increase in poverty.
“How can this be possible” was my first ignorant reaction. After a week of research and talking to our client, I realise I’ve seen only the tip of the iceberg of the complexity of this global challenge and the work of the Indian NGO’s. Just look at some data below:
- India is the 2nd most populous country in the world, with 1,2 billion which is more than a sixth of the world’s population
- India with 17.5% of total world’s population, had 20.6% share of world’s poorest in 2011
- Despite significant economic progress, one quarter of the nation’s population earns less than the government-specified poverty threshold of 32 rupee per day (approx. US$ 0.6). It is estimated that one in six urban households lives in slums.
- Climate change will make monsoons unpredictable. As a result, rain-fed wheat cultivation in South Asia will suffer in a big way. Total cereal production will go down. The crop yield per hectare will be hit badly, causing food insecurity and loss of livelihood.
On 1st of January 2016, led by the UN, the world officially began implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the transformative plan of action based on 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) to address urgent global challenges over the next 15 years.
In India as in many other countries, predominantly women face chronic food insecurity, malnutrition, gender discrimination and often abuse. They also bear the brunt of climate change especially in rural areas where inclement weather and the increasing frequency of storms can hurt agricultural yields and contribute to malnutrition.
This conveys the urgency of climate action and that every aspect of the SDG’s are interconnected. We all need to take responsibility, take ownership for shared prosperity to leave no one behind! There is no plan B, as there is no planet B!
In the coming weeks, I’ll be sharing the great work that CECOEDECON is doing in the region Rajasthan. I realize this was more of an informative blog but wanted to share this with you now. For me this knowledge building helped me to better understand this country: the paradox in everything. It helped me to look differently and more open-minded. A never ending journey which I’ll proceed :-).
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