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Broad approach helps cope with climate change The consequences of climate change are more significant for the poor than for wealthy communities, as they have few resources and depend on economic activities that are climate-sensitive to earn their livelihoods. MPRLP was not set up to help adapt to or mitigate climate change, but the evidence indicates that it has been able to build adaptive capacity and general resilience in vulnerable communities. Its holistic approach is a key factor in this. The Project works on the premise that local communities are able to plan and implement livelihood activities on their own. It has thus acted as a facilitator for a large number of community-led initiatives, in which microplanning is an essential tool for addressing vulnerabilities.

Climate-resilient development Water management MPRLP has been promoting participatory irrigation management through Water User Associations (WUAs) in areas designated for irrigation schemes. Using funds from the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee (NREG) Act, the WUAs have repaired canal systems and improved the way they are maintained, and so made water use more efficient.

A new irrigation channel. Photo: Š MPRLP/Sandeep Khanwalkar

"By improving water management, MPRLP has helped small and marginal farmers cultivate fallow lands" Climate change mitigation MPRLP's clean energy activities are implemented mainly with funds from other government programmes. Biogas Since the biogas project began in 2008, it has trained a large number of local masons and constructed more than 5000 biogas plants, reducing carbon emissions and the use of kerosene and non-renewable biomass for cooking. Cooking stoves MPRLP has installed more than 45,000 smokeless cooking stoves and is preparing about 50 units to demonstrate improved cooking stoves. That means less wood to collect and less drudgery for women and children, who usually do the collecting.

Pumps MPRLP encourages manually operated pumps for small-scale irrigation, and more than 4,500 have been installed so far. This has reduced carbon emissions because farmers would otherwise use diesel-driven pumps. Solar lighting MPRLP promotes solar home lighting systems in non-electrified villages, replacing carbon-emitting kerosene lamps. Thirteen villages in Sheopur district, 22 villages in Anuppur and seven in Dhar have been provided with the systems, and demonstrations have been given in all nine MPRLP districts. Plantation activities MPRLP has helped establish plantations on agricultural and common land. So far, around 20 million trees have been planted, and the fruit and bamboo they produce have the potential to provide additional income for farmers. Trees also absorb carbon dioxide.


The Project has also worked with farmers to install drip irrigation, which delivers water directly to the roots of crops, and facilitated the construction of soil and water conservation structures, such as bunds (embankments) around fields and small check dams that reduce erosion and allow sediments and pollutants to settle.

Agriculture MPRLP has worked with the Government of India's Agriculture Technology Management Agency to provide basic training (including resource-use efficiency) and support systems for farmers in remote districts. The Project has also introduced the highly productive System of Rice Intensification (SRI), which is less expensive and less resource-intensive than traditional paddy farming. Starting in 2006 with 50 farmers in five villages,

it had spread rapidly by 2010 to 23,418 farmers in 940 villages covering 12,000 acres. In the eastern districts, MPRLP has helped small farmers learn organic farming methods. One hundred and eighty-six farmers and 637 acres have already received certificates marking the first year of their transition to organic status. By improving water management, MPRLP has helped small and marginal farmers cultivate hitherto fallow lands, while at the same time converting some single-cropped areas to double cropping. Farmers are now growing crops on 41,380 acres previously left fallow and double cropping 32,000 acres.

Livelihood promotion activities MPRLP has been promoting microenterprises by channelling money through Gram Kosh (village accounts) into revolving funds, from which individuals, livelihood-promotion groups and self-help groups can borrow to launch or develop their microenterprises. The Project's multi-skilled team also helps rural entrepreneurs gain the technical skills and business knowledge that they need to thrive and to diversify into climate non-sensitive activities, such as bead-making and toy-making.

Social protection measures MPRLP has been providing the rural poor with information about government insurance and pension schemes and how they can submit claims.

With solar lighting, shops can stay open later. Photo: © MPRLP/Sandeep Khanwalkar

It has helped establish funds and grain banks for use during times of emergency. By September 2010, 2911 emergency funds and 265 grain banks had been established, more than

30,000 households had benefited from emergency funds, and more than 75,000 households were covered by social protection schemes.

The way forward 

A carbon footprint analysis to document and analyse the low-carbon development activities promoted by MPRLP. An assessment to see if MPRLP should be doing anything differently in the light of increased climate variability and climate change. These assessments would help key stakeholders design and deliver adaptation and mitigation benefit programmes and climate risk management strategies that take into account the particular vulnerabilities of the rural poor in Madhya Pradesh.

Contact Telephone: +91-(0)755-2766812, 814, 815 Fax: +91-(0)755-2766818 Email: Website: MPRLP is funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID). This publication does not necessarily represent the views of the Department for International Development.

MPRLP Update series no.12: Climate change  
MPRLP Update series no.12: Climate change  

Madhya Pradesh Rural Livelihoods Project was not set up to help adapt to or mitigate climate change, but the evidence indicates that it has...