Initiative for Sustainable Livelihoods for Andaman and Nicobar Development (ISLAND) This project aims to improve the livelihoods of 5,300 fishing and farming families in the Andaman and Nicobar islands who were badly affected by the tsunami in 2004. What is the problem or need the project is addressing? 26% of the population in the Andaman and Nicobar islands live in extreme poverty. The tsunami in 2004 had a devastating effect on the islands, destroying the livelihoods of many communities who were already living in poverty. The hardest hit were workers in the farming and fishing sectors. Many poor communities continue to live on aid. However, this aid is now starting to dry up, leading to immense insecurity about future livelihoods and food security. Communities need support to rebuild long-term livelihood opportunities to enable them to take responsibility for the future of their lives and their communities. We will support poor communities to build more secure livelihoods through seaweed farming or fruit/vegetable cultivation. In addition to providing new livelihood opportunities, fruit/vegetable cultivation will result in health benefits for the wider population. Currently fresh fruit/vegetables are unaffordable for poor communities and large numbers of people suffer from vitamin and iron deficiencies. It is therefore important to ensure that fruit/vegetables are grown locally and made available to poor communities at affordable prices. What is the project doing? The project has three key approaches: q Improving business skills and widening employment opportunities for tsunami affected communities. Encouraging alternative livelihood strategies (with identifiable opportunities), with the ongoing support of local business support organisations, raises the likelihood of measurable increases in incomes amongst poor communities. q Establishing local organisations to provide vital business support and services on an ongoing basis. These will include support in buying and selling, training and financial services. q Empowering disadvantaged communities to develop collective solutions to rebuild their livelihood. Empowering local stakeholders also helps enable the sustainability of the initiative once the project itself comes to an end. What impact has the project had? The first year was quite challenging with adverse weather conditions and human resource constraints. The islands and project beneficiary communities have had no previous experience of working with the voluntary sector apart from disaster relief work in the wake of the Tsunami which revolved around the provision of goods only. Working with beneficiaries to develop their skills and supporting them to develop new income generating opportunities has been very challenging. However despite this, project activities are largely on track and we hope that we will be able to reach out to a larger number of beneficiaries than originally planned. In the longer term we expect the following outcomes: q 25% increase in income for at least 5,300 fishing/farming families. q 25% increase in employment for at least 5,300 fishing/farming families. q At least 1,100 small businesses established (seaweed farming and fruit and vegetable cultivation) and linked for marketing of their produce through a producer company called Dweepam which has been formed to support them. q Small business use business services and report benefits q Target communities have access to a Risk Management Fund, giving security against loss of livelihoods due to future disasters. Our local partner Our main project partner is CEFI (Community Enterprise Forum International), a non-profit organisation that promotes sustainable community businesses as a means for livelihood security and poverty alleviation. CEFI works towards increasing access to markets for rural communities through public-private partnerships. How is this project funded? The project is funded by the Big Lottery, UK, grant-making trusts, and donations from generous individuals.
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