Breaking the Poverty Trap

Dhanabanchi Bhoi

“MPowered program has bring a remarkable change in my socio- economic life and I could be able to stay at home by making the best use of homestead land. Now I am leading sound socio-economic life.”

47-year old widow Dhanabanchi hails from a remote village Luhurapali of Bangomunda block in Odisha. When her husband passed away years ago leaving her the sole provider in the family, she worked sporadically at odd jobs in order to make ends meet. The death of her spouse exacerbated a sense of having been abandoned but giving up was never an option, she had to shoulder all responsibilities of her son. When Dhanabanchi was experiencing the feelings of trauma, sadness and insecurity, she got an opportunity to involve with MPowered project which was being implemented in her village. She was selected as an ultrapoor project participant of MPowered supported Trickle Up’s Promotion of Rural Livelihoods through Transformative Financial Inclusion to uplift the lives of Ultra-Poor women using graduation approach from her village.

The digital coach or Smart Sakhi of the MPowered project facilitated to ensure her inclusion in the existing Gangadi SHG which had significantly contributed towards her economic growth at the later stage. Dhanabanchi was also advised to attend in Self-Help Group (SHG) meetings regularly, and mentored on how to develop a livelihood plan and investment plan for vegetable cultivation and vending. Whatever she saved from her earnings from 45-day MGNREGA work, she invested in cultivation of seasonal vegetables. She borrowed a loan of amount INR 1500 from Pro-Poor Inclusion Fund (PPIF) of Odisha Livelihood Mission to start the cultivation. The smart sakhi also provided coaching on cultivation of seasonal vegetables. Instead of depending only on seasonal vegetable cultivation, her coach advised to diversify her livelihood activities. When she received seed grant support of INR 1500 and also access loan of INR 3000 from the Gangadi SHG’s Community Investment Fund (CIF), she started new livelihood activity by purchasing two goats to diversify her income though livestock rearing. All these was done through the help of Package of Practices (PoP) App installed in her smartphone, which provided her knowledge on effective livestock rearing.

To enhance the productivity, she spent part of the loan amount to purchase compost and pesticides. Dhanabanchi was motivated to save further and invested in cultivating cauliflower and greenleaf from which she gained profit of INR 11500. And from onion cultivation where she invested part of her income, she earned a profit of INR 8600. With the help of digitally-enabled PoP app, Dhanabanchi is now cultivating cauliflower, green leaf and onion and selling of these vegetables along with rearing goats.

Her initial limited capacity and knowledge about agriculture and financial investments have taken a transformative change with her now being confident to earn a sustainable income. Presently Dhanbanchi has become the expert of greenleaf, onion and cauliflower cultivation. The MPowered program has helped her become self-sustained and avoid distress-driven migration. The smart phone with the PoP app has now become a constant guide and a knowledge disseminating tool for undertaking sustainable agricultural practices. Dhanbanchi says, “MPowered program has bring a remarkable change in my socio- economic life and I could be able to stay at home by making the best use of homestead land. Now I am leading sound socio-economic life.”

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