Madhyam Foundation

The living conditions and the food situation in the poor Indian state of Odisha are precarious. Together with our partner organization Madhyam Foundation, we promote the cultivation of vegetables in women's cooperatives, thus ensuring food security and a substantial improvement in the living conditions of women.

The state of Odisha is located in eastern India and counts as the second poorest in the country. Living conditions are alarming: poor access to clean drinking water, a high infant mortality rate, low levels of literacy and widespread violence against women. Even in the Indian context the state performs poorly. Living conditions are also hampered by numerous natural disasters such as drought, flooding and erosion. Our project districts Khurda, Kalahandi and Malkangiri are particularly affected. The precarious conditions in the region force young people to migrate to the surrounding cities and neighboring states. Internal migration to urban centers has become a kind of survival strategy for many people. However, this rarely leads to an improvement in people's living conditions

For women and children the situation is particularly difficult. To support their families and provide a nutritional base, many children in the affected regions drop out of school. Women usually work as unqualified workers in the informal and primary sectors because they are denied access to education. In addition, discrimination and humiliation are part of everyday life for many women in Odisha: According to official figures, 2 out of 7 women have experienced domestic violence in their marriage. Gender-based violence has risen 139 percent in the last two decades.

Vegetable growing as an income generating activity

Since 2009, together with our partner organization Madhyam Foundation, we have implemented a program to improve the nutritional situation in the region. We promote the cultivation of vegetables in women's cooperatives and thus ensure food security and a substantial improvement in the living conditions of women. Madhyam teaches women new methods of cultivation to improve long-term living conditions while lowering poverty levels. In addition, trained counselors help the women with the brokerage of leased land, which is the basis for a successful formation of vegetable cooperatives. Harvesting creates a secure food base and a secure income for women. Cooperation in cooperatives strengthens women and facilitates the exchange with state actors. This is of particular importance, since in this context the problems of those affected can be discussed in order to subsequently find common solutions.

The long-standing partnership between AWO International and Madhyam has helped to recognize vegetable farming as an alternative income generating activity in the region. The state government is now also using the method in other parts of India as an instrument for combating poverty. As part of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development's (BMZ) special initiative "A World without Hunger", this innovative approach was extended to other districts in 2015.



Project information:

Project Name: Strengthening women vegetable growers co-operatives in three districts of Odisha in India
Implementation areas: Khurda, Kalahandi, Malkangiri Distrikt, Odisha

Partner: Madhyam Foundation

Target Group: Landless women and farmers from from rural areas


- Income generating activities

- Promoting organic agriculture

- Lobbyism and advocacy

- Improvement of social structures

Implementation period: 2017-2019

Budget: 88.100 Euro p.a.

Donor: BMZ

For project impressions from last phase please click: Success Stories - Glimpses of the Project




Madhyam Foundation
N-3/202,  IRC Village, Nayapalli
Bhubaneswar -  751015
Orissa, India
Tel: +91-(0) 674-2557029