Jatan engages with JIVA which is an integrated community development program supported by the John Deere Foundation and implemented by PYXERA Global and local partners in three rural villages of Rajasthan, India. JIVA, which means “livelihood” or “life” in the local village dialect, focuses on improving agricultural productivity, bolstering educational opportunities, and building basic infrastructure to improve the quality of life for the villagers in this area. Deeply committed to long-term sustainability, JIVA works with various community partners to build local capacity and ensure full local ownership of the project through its duration and beyond.
The JIVA difference lies in its multi-faceted approach to community development. A departure from the traditional development model that often focuses on one or two issues at a time, JIVA looks at the system as a whole—working simultaneously in various sectors to address the complex, overlapping challenges within the existing system. Through this integrated approach, JIVA is able to leverage more resources, foster new partnerships, and maximize participation throughout the communities.
In order to achieve greater income security in these villages, JIVA works with farmers to increase their agricultural productivity through targeted demonstration trainings on improved agricultural practices and mechanizations. JIVA’s “Train the Trainer” approach also allows farmers to become trainers and change agents within their communities. Although agriculture is the primary occupation in JIVA’s three villages, increasing agricultural productivity is only half the story. In 2012, JIVA’s baseline study found that 30% of the school-going age population had dropped out. To target high drop-out rates, JIVA established after-school tutoring programs in each village to provide access to education during off-school hours. JIVA continuously works to build local stakeholder capacity and empower the community to lead the education reform process by engaging students, parents, teachers, administrators, and local Government officials in all project initiatives.
JIVA also focuses on strengthening existing infrastructure in the villages. To complement the focus on quality of education, JIVA constructed new toilets and wash basins at all of the village schools. To support greater agricultural productivity, JIVA also reconstructed an old defective check dam at a nearby river, which is expected to recharge 100% of the villages’ wells in the coming year. For the sustainability of all infrastructure activities, JIVA trains local carpenters and masons in their construction and maintenance, and works with beneficiaries to develop long-term management and funding plans.