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Livelihood Options - Snakes and Ladders: Moving out of Poverty 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, identifies the strategies and activities that have enabled certain households to lift themselves out of poverty - through migration, adaptation of caste occupations and diversification into new markets.

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