Livelihoods Research: Translating Research into Policy and Practice

Principal Investigators: Dr. Ajay Kumar Tannirkulam, Deepti Kc
Research Team: SamikAdhikari, KalravAcharya, Vanya Mehta
LEAD Centre: IFMR LEAD
Focus Area: Livelihoods
Project Geography: Bihar,Chhattisgarhi, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, and Uttar Pradesh
Partner: PRADAN
Status: Ongoing

Background:

Under this 3-year Project (2012-2015) funded by the Ford Foundation, a series of high-quality action-oriented policy studies are being conducted, with an objective to improve design and delivery and ultimately, the impact of livelihoods programmes in India. During the course of the project we collaborated with the Government and non-Government agencies to conduct studies across India.

Policy Study 1

We partnered with a leading non-government organization PRADAN to assess the prevailing socioeconomic conditions in the tribal regions of five states. The research findings have helped establish baseline values of key indicators, which could help PRADAN track changes in their programme indicators through subsequent evaluation. In addition, the findings could also help government and non-government bodies design or modify the existing livelihoods interventions in the tribal regions.

Policy Study 2

Tamil Nadu State Rural Livelihoods Mission(TNSRLM) plans to expand to other regions in Tamil Nadu with the same guiding principles asPudhuVaazhvu Project (PVP). This study aimed to analyse the PVP in four villages of Tiruvannamalai district in Tamil Nadu, India. We recorded the challenges faced during the execution of the scheme, and provided key findings along with recommendations for its implementation.

Policy study 3

The Government of India is promoting community-driven livelihoods interventions that are designed to include women as both decision-making agents, as well as beneficiaries of the programme. One of such programmes, under the purview of National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM), is the Bihar Rural Livelihoods Project (BRLP). We conducted a process evaluation study on BRLP to understand how a community institutional organisation engages women and what factors influencea women’s decision to participate in these livelihoods interventions.

Among other important findings this study recorded, it was noted that women were reluctant to join community driven programmes, as they perceived they did not have enough money to save with the Self Help Groups. This finding motivated our team to design context-specific financial literacy modules using real life stories. These modules not onlyaddressthe knowledge gap about financial products and services, but also address the underlying behavioural biases impacting financial decisions. Currently, we are testing our financial literacy modules in rural villages of Bihar and urban slums of Uttar Pradesh.

Right from the inception stage, the project follows a systematic dissemination approach. In an effort to do so, weeffectively use digital media to make our research findings public, andwe also closely engage with decision-makers in forums,such as the Six Round Table Discussions conducted with PRADAN. By informing policymakers and practitioners in a timely manner, we intend to support themin makingmore effective decisions that could positively impact the implementation of livelihoods promotion programs in India.

Related Resources
PROJECT REPORT – Socio-Economic and Gender Analysis of Tribal Populations in India
PROJECT REPORT – Increasing women’s participation in community based livelihoods intervention: Lessons learnt from Bihar RuralLivelihoods Project (BRLP)
PROJECT REPORT – Implementation of a women-based Community Driven Development (CDD) Programme in Tamil Nadu: The PudhuVaazhvu Project
JOURNAL 1 – Missing links between financial empowerment and gender-based abuses
JOURNAL 2 – Engaging Self Help Groups (SHGs) in health-related awareness programs
JOURNAL 3 – Why is poverty different for men and women?
JOURNAL 4 – The staff behind the story- Power of grassroots staff in achieving India’s development goals
JOURNAL 5 – Why do business owners still prefer cash transactions