Update on Emergency relief support to Pahariya Tribe community- JUNE 2020 UPDATE

Emergency Relief Work among the Pahariya community in Jharkhand


The recent lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic has severely impacted the Pahariya community classified as a ‘Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group’ (PVTG) in the Godda District of Jharkhand. Most Pahariya villages are situated on remote hill tops and forested slopes where government welfare services seldom reach. Under normal circumstances, families would trade forest produce for cash to support household needs. However this was not possible due to the lockdown which extended for over 74 days starting on 25th of March, 2020. During this period many households reported very low stocks of food grain and almost no savings leading to a severe health and financial crisis. Additionally schools and anganwadi centres remained closed. School-going children did not have access to mid-day meals which were an important source of nutrition for them. Pregnant women, infants, single women and physically challenged persons within the community were particularly impacted.

With support from the Oak Foundation and in partnership with Sathee and Badlao Foundation, Traidcraft has been providing critical relief to the Pahariyas during this crisis in the form of dry rations (which included rice, pulses, puffed rice, salt, mustard oil and essential spices),  milk powder for children and sanitisation kits (which included a hand-wash soap, a laundry soap, a sanitiser and mask). Besides this, another important area of work has been to build awareness about the pandemic in remote Pahariya villages. Our teams have been providing sessions on how to prevent the pandemic from spreading, by following simple hygiene routines, which are relevant to the local context. Thus far, relief support has been provided to 1231 vulnerable Pahariya households.  

The following page contains photographs that document some of our efforts on the field. 

The elderly have been particularly impacted by the lockdowns enforced to prevent the spread of the pandemic.

Our partners Sathee and Badlao Foundation provided awareness sessions on the pandemic, its impact and simple prevention techniques in the local language in remote Pahariya villages.

Beyond Critical Relief

Beyond providing immediate relief, this project engages with members within the community on two critical and interconnected themes. On the one hand, our preliminary study shows that while the Pahariyas grow a variety of indigenous crops such as several varieties of millets which are high in nutrition, the issue of malnutrition, particularly among women and children, remains rampant within the community. One reason for this is that several crops that are harvested are traded in exchange for money rather than consumed as food by Pahariya families. Ensuring the food sovereignty of the Pahariyas through community managed seed banks and strengthening their traditional climate friendly cropping systems that enhance the nutritional profile of the community are important interventions under the project. 

Pahariya villages are usually situated on remote hiltops or forested slopes where government welfare seldom reaches.

On the other hand, findings from our study suggest that linking Pahariya farmer collectives with non-exploitative markets is crucial to ensuring they receive a fair price for their produce. Historically, indigenous communities have been exploited by petty traders who have paid very low prices for forest produce painstakingly harvested by highly

skilled and knowledgeable communities such as the Pahariyas. In this regard, assistance in direct marketing will be provided to members in farmer producer collectives formed under this project. 

An important intervention under the project will be to reduce the distress sale of nutritious crops grown by the community to traders and encourage the consumption of these crops as food by Pahariya families. Similarly, efforts have also been made to regulate the role of traders within villages. By looking at the issue of food sovereignty alongside financial sovereignty this project aims to address two critical and interconnected issues faced by the Pahariyas. 

Pawan Kashyap

Business Associate

Pawan works at Traidcraft India as Business Associate. He is a development professional with 4 years’ experience of working on livelihood having expertise in sustainable agriculture supply chain, social enterprise development & Women, economic empowerment.

He is an MBA in Rural Management from Xavier Institute of Social Service (Rural Marketing as specialized subject). Previously he has work with BIRSA, a social organization on Forest Rights, Livelihood & Sustainable agriculture in Jharkhand

Subodh Kumar

Sr. Business Associate

Subodh works at Traidcraft India as a Sr. Business Associate. He is a young development professional with 6 years of experience. Subodh is an Agriculture graduate from Allahabad Agriculture Institute, Allahabad, Master’s in Development Management from Tata Dhan Academy, Madurai and Post Graduate Certificate in International Organization Management from the University of Geneva. Prior to joining Traidcraft, Subodh has worked with TechnoServe India and Aga Khan Rural Support Program India. Subodh holds expertise in Institution building, capacity building, sustainable agriculture, value-chain development, and market linkages of the various agriculture crops. He has worked in various states including Gujarat, Maharashtra, MP, Bihar, Jharkhand, and Odisha.

Priyashri Mani

Associate Consultant

Priyashri Mani is the Associate Consultant (Women’s Economic Empowerment) in Traidcraft India. She has 10 years of experience in the development sector working with marginalised communities in the areas of livelihood, women’s empowerment, and indigenous people’s rights. She has a Masters’ degree in Development Studies from the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) University of Sussex, UK and a Bachelors’ (Hons) in Sociology from Lady Shri Ram College in Delhi University.

Jyoti Prakash

Market Engagement Expert

Jyoti Prakash works with Traidcraft as Market Engagement Expert and has more than 15 years of experience in strategy formulation, implementation and management of “Livelihoods, Enterprise development & Market Engagement” projects. His professional strengths include conceptualising and facilitating implementation of innovative strategies and methodologies in the areas of Livelihoods , Enterprise promotion, Market Engagement, Value Chain Development, Institution Building and Development Research.

Rohan Preece

Manager – Business and Human Rights

Rohan Preece is the Manager – Business and Human Rights at Traidcraft India. He has around 15 years of experience across private sector, government and third sector contexts in India, including work with youth, in India and the UK. He has worked on gender-related monitoring and evaluation and documentation assignments for a range of organisations including Save the Children India and, while at Praxis-Institute for Participatory Practices. In his work with Partners in Change, he led a number of projects on business and human rights and corporate responsibility. His work contributed to the establishment of Fair Finance India, a civil society coalition that engages constructively with the financial sector. He has experience of addressing human rights issues in factory settings and in supply chain settings in India and of working with grassroots organisations. His sectoral engagement experience in India encompasses the financial sector, textiles and apparels, footwear and electronics. He holds a MA (Hons) degree from the University of Cambridge and a University of London MA in education and international development.

Dipankar Sengupta

Supply chain expert

Dipankar Sengupta is the supply chain expert at Traidcraft and has a PGDABM (Post Graduate Diploma in Agribusiness Management) from Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, and a PGDRD (Post Graduate Diploma in Rural Development) from Xavier Institute of Social Service. Before joining Traidcraft he worked with Rallis India where he focused on creating agri-solutions. His work experience includes assignments at Bayer CropScience Limited and Tata Chemicals.

Maveen Pereira

Director programme

Maveen Pereira has over 35 years of development experience working at different levels from grassroots to senior management.  As the Director programme, Traidcraft Exchange, she leads strategic planning, program development and management across South Asia and East Africa. Having worked directly with workers, small producers, she has a sound knowledge of the challenges faced by them in their bid to access markets sustainably.  She helped launch the first Fair Trade label in India – Shop for Change – using a multi-stakeholder approach. Prior to joining Traidcraft, she was faculty in the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. She is a graduate from TISS and holds a PhD in Sociology from University of Mumbai.