Economic Empowerment & Livelihood Issues

Due to the inability of agriculture to sustain the large rural population in the Chittaurgarh district in eastern Rajasthan, there is an urgent need to develop non-farm sources of income. While the region has traditionally depended upon agriculture for livelihood, there is potential to develop new sources of income with existing local resources. Prayas has begun a program with village communities to use bamboo resources in handicrafts to be sold for monetary income. Additionally, economic disempowerment and social marginalization of sections of society are tightly interlinked. The inability to control over monetary resources subsequently reduces self esteem, ability to make decisions concerning one’s own life and control over health. In an effort to bring about empowerment of women through economic security, Prayas has worked extensively in the formation and facilitation of micro-credit groups in traditionally economically backwards communities.

Main Activities in Economic Empowerment and Livelihood Issues:

  • Formation and facilitation of women’s micro-credit groups for women’s social and economic empowerment.Development of off-farm income opportunities.
  • Programs to emancipate bonded labourers and to integrate them into the mainstream economy.
  • Promotion of income generation activities for local communities around Sitamata Wildlife Sanctuary


  • Adoption of new technology for pulse processing, honey harvesting and medicinal plant cultivation to enhance income and reduce dependence over forest resources.
  • Promoting bamboo as an alternative to timber and providing inputs for bamboo craft.
  • Promoting Dhaman grass in project area to improve yield and nutritive value of fodder.
  • Setting up demonstration plots for green fodder development.
  • Building capacity of the local community to carry out basic biodiversity assessments and livelihood activities.


  • Livelihood diversification through green fodder cultivation, bamboo based handicrafts, safed musli cultivation and pulse processing.
  • Reduced dependence on forests for fodder from cultivation of green fodder.
  • Capacity building of SHGs to procure raw materials for bamboo and green fodder cultivation without external assistance.
  • Pulse processing by 3 SHGs has provided employment to 40 women and generated incomes of around Rs 7000 for each SHG.
  • Household incomes have increased in the range of Rs 2000 to Rs 7000 per annum from safed musli cultivation.
  • Bamboo based handicrafts has increased incomes in the range of Rs 500 to Rs 1000 per annum for each beneficiary.
  • Cultivation of green fodder has increased household incomes by around Rs 2500 per annum.