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“Empowering Rural Women Through the WADI Project: Dr. Bhavani Rao’s Field Visit to Odisha’s Transformational Initiatives”

March 20th, 2024 . Bhavani Rao, the director of AMMACHI Labs at Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, embarked on a two-day field visit to the #WADIProjects in Odisha, along with various beneficiaries. The primary aim of this visit was to observe and engage with the initiatives aimed at empowering rural communities, particularly women, in tribal areas.

On the first day of the visit, Dr. Rao visited several WADI groups in Asanabia, Bhejia Sahi, and a women’s mushroom cultivation group in Gobardhanpur. These projects are part of the WADI initiative implemented by Amrita’s Center for Women’s Empowerment & Gender Equality (CWEGE). The overarching objective of the WADI Project is to enhance community independence and resilience, specifically focusing on rural women in isolated tribal regions.

Across India, Indigenous Peoples often live in remote areas, disconnected from mainstream society, and rely on traditional means of sustenance. However, factors such as environmental degradation have led to challenges like poverty and limited access to basic resources among these communities. The WADI Project seeks to address these issues by offering alternative livelihood options while respecting and preserving tribal traditions.

A notable example of such an initiative is the women’s mushroom cultivation group in Gobardhanpur. This project, facilitated by AMMACHI Labs at Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham and supported by ESRI India, demonstrates the diversification of livelihoods. Through training and seed capital assistance, the project aims to empower an additional 200 women in the Dhenkanal district, enabling them to generate income and enhance their agricultural practices.

Overall, Dr. Bhavani Rao’s field visit underscores the commitment of organizations like Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham and their partners to promote sustainable development and gender equality in marginalized communities through innovative initiatives like the WADI Project.