Diversification of Livelihoods: Transforming relations within the Yanadi (a formerly asset-less coastal community) – Andhra Pradesh

The case study was prepared by Dr. Sophia J D, Principal Scientist, MSSRF, Chennai | To read the full paper, click here >>

Background

The growing human population all along the coastal zone is vulnerable to cyclones, storm surges and other natural disasters, including sea level rise. The livelihoods of millions are likely to be affected as a result of both physical and social vulnerabilities. Despite inherent capacity among coastal communities to adapt and cope with changing scenarios, the situation analysis at Sorlagondi village, located in Krishna district of Andhra Pradesh (AP), revealed that an asset-less community depending largely on uncertain income sources is facing vulnerabilities due to climate change. They are Yanadi, one of the prominent tribal congregates present along the extended areas between the rivers Krishna and Godavari. The traditionally preferred life style was to live in harmony with god, humanity and nature however, their strong attachment to natural environment was lost due to displacement. They remained landless and homeless for decades, living in undulating terrain rich in natural resources, especially water bodies and mangrove forests.   […]  

Process and strategies

An attempt to enhance ability to make strategic choices for their future lives and livelihoods was done by strengthening access to and control over natural physical resources. This was achieved by extending financial support as well as developing social and human capital. As a first step men and women of Yanadi community were given representation in the village level institution along with the fisher community and helped create an enabling environment to contribute in the formal and informal decision– making processes as well as voice their needs and rights, earlier denied in the larger society.  […]  

The impoverished Yanadi community with the technical guidance and financial support established IMFFS. It is similar to aquaculture ponds but comprises inner bunds to grow mangroves/halophytes and water spread area to culture fishes/crabs/ shrimps in an integrated manner. It is an eco-friendly and low input aquaculture farming with tidal flow through gravity.  […]  

Traditional gender relations among married Yanadi were economic cooperation by complementing and supplementing their productive roles and carrying the produce together to market. Accordingly men and women were going for fishing and catch crabs from mangrove wetlands using ‘J’ shaped hooks and ring nets tied with bait.  […]  

Mainstreaming into society

They have also acquired skills to negotiate, particularly with the traders for marketing the produce, and with government officials to access their schemes. Once hiding from village meetings, they are now able to communicate effectively. Earlier women were dependent on men for all their needs. But now they travel to nearby towns and procure their domestic needs and necessary house hold articles. Once asset less families now possess ownership rights to one acre pond each. Women are entitled for access and control over land as a productive resource except selling, as it is classified as D form land. The land at the time of purchase was Rs.8000/acre but due to its productive functions is now worth to Rs.200,000/- per acre.  […]  

Demand for justice

Generally Yanadi women were victimised and harassed by fishers, traders etc. but it was ignored by both by men and women as they were dependent on them for livelihoods. But mobilising them into self-help groups and providing space in village level institutions not only increased their participation and decision making capacity at household and community levels, but also enhanced self-reliance, self-esteem and self- confidence among women. This further gave them power to raise their voices for their rights in the public sphere.  […]  

The transformation over eight years which began in 2007 with tiny steps addressing their practical gender needs at the household level is today taking big leaps to address their strategic gender needs both at household and community levels.

Source: Diversification of Livelihoods in Transforming Socio Economic and Gender Relations: A case study of Yanadi Tribes in AP
URL: http://www.mssrf.org/mssrfoldsite/?q=content/diversification-livelihoods-transforming-socio-economic-and-gender-relations-case-study
Date accessed: 11 January 2019

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