Seeding change: BAIF’s contribution to Tribal Development in India

Nov 15, 2022

Nov 15, 2022

BAIF has developed need-based and region-specific tribal development models in the country taking into consideration the deprivations faced by tribal communities due to geographical isolation, under-developed areas, economic backwardness with dependence on subsistence livelihoods, primitive technologies and poor assets. 

To prevent seasonal distress migration of families living on the edge of the forests of the tribal belt of Vansda in South Gujarat, BAIF had launched a unique model of agri-horti-forestry-based farming system (known as “wadi” in tribal dialect) with the participation of 42 families in 1982. This model was scaled up to reach out to 0.21 million families, transform more than 86,000 ha degraded lands into productive orchards, ensure green cover, carbon sink, food security and economic prosperity to poor ST households. The model also impacted the lives of more than 0.5 million families in 25 states through NABARD-supported Tribal Development Fund.

BAIF has built a digital ecosystem of financial, utility and governance services with 150 E-dosts in remote tribal villages such as Pathardi in Palghar district of Maharashtra, fostering preservation of local knowledge and culture and transforming the lives of tribal girls by ensuring alternate livelihood in their own settings.

Building upon an ecologically sustainable lifestyle, rich bio-diversity and a vast repository of traditional knowledge, BAIF has designed a model on participatory in-situ conservation, revived agro-biodiversity and wild food resources and established a community-led seed system. “Nahari” – the indigenous tribal cuisine corner set up in South Gujarat, is reviving unique tribal traditions.

Directly reaching more than 100,000 households of Bhil, Gond, Kathkari, Kokna, Kolam, Kolcha, Kotwalia, Pawra, Sahariya, Thakur and Warli tribal groups in 11 states, the programmes have addressed food, health and nutrition security; revived useful tribal traditions, heritage agriculture systems; generated environmentally sound livelihoods and created opportunities for dignified livelihoods. It has also ensured an improved learning ecosystem and promoted life and livelihood skills with the establishment of residential ashram schools for tribal children. 

The Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Government of India, has designated BAIF as a “Centre of Excellence” for developing and disseminating ideas, approaches and appropriate technologies to enhance livelihood opportunities and living standards of tribal communities across the country. BAIF has also provided specific policy inputs on tribal development issues to the Government of India and various State Governments.

In continuation of the pledge made on the first Tribal Pride Day (“Janjatiya Gaurav Diwas”) on November 15, 2021, BAIF continues its mission of brightening the lives of tribal communities in the country. 

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