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WillOurWorld's goal is to support extremely poor rural communities to become self sustaining and self reliant. When people have sustainable livelihoods they have a firm basis for making decisions about their own and their families' future and so are no longer dependant on the largesse of others.
Our project in India
India was chosen as the location our first project. The World Bank has estimated that over 450 million Indians, about 40% of its population, now live under the global poverty line of $1 per day.
Uttar Pradesh (UP), in NE India, is India's most populous state and is considered to have the highest number of people in India below the poverty line. 80% of these can be described as living in a poverty trap in rural villages, the majority of which have no electricity, paved roads or running water. Households usually have no toilets and sewage runs freely by the roadside. The largest part of this trap is the absence of opportunities for the rural poor to provide sustainable livelihoods for themselves. Most villagers are small-holding subsistence farmers or landless laborers who depend on seasonal labour.
Our Barabanki community project
All of the difficult conditions described above apply to the rural community being supported by Will Our World. The community comprises five villages in the Barabanki district of Uttar Pradesh, about 30 km from Lucknow city. This is a community of over 3000 inhabitants of mixed Mulsim-Hindu ethnicity. The health, education and livelihoods data that we obtained (through our baseline study) shows the community to be not only extremely poor but also ill-equipped to handle the challenges needed to extract themselves from their poverty trap. One of the starkest statistics is the high illiteracy rate (see inset) and the low educational achievements of the youth group. While Will Our World will focus on livelihoods development we will also spearhead efforts to involve educators and healthcare organizations in the project. Our main target is to increase the community's average per capita income from $1 to $3 per day within a five year period. This three-fold increase won't make them rich but it will allow them to be self reliant and will give them choices about their own future, something they didn't previously have.