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Livelihood Options - Snakes and Ladders: Coping Strategies in Rural Madhya Pradesh


Written by Rachel Slater


Around 70% of the populations of South Asia rely on agriculture and renewable resources for a major part of their livelihoods. Historically there has been in all these countries for people to move from rural to urban areas, and within rural areas to move out of natural resource-based occupations.  However, these transitions are neither simple nor painless. Some people are able to escape poverty by specialising in some new full-time occupation. For other, the only way forward is to diversify into new, part-time occupation. For others, the only way forward is to diversify into new, part-time activities, taking up some and dropping others as circumstances allow. Diversification and specialisation do not always lead to positive exits from poverty and those that are forced to diversify out of desperation can become caught in downwards spirals of poverty.  This film, shot on location in Madhya Pradesh, explores the different strategies of people in villages there as they try to cope with increasing vulnerability to poverty, and highlights the key implications for policy-makers seeking to reduce poverty.

Script by Daniel Start, Rachel Slater, Annetha Kanukolanu and Smitha Sashidharan