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Ekta believes that enabling disadvantaged communities to provide for themselves through a sustainable livelihoods approach is the key to tackling poverty in the longterm. Without access to lasting, productive crops many families have found themselves unable to generate enough income or food to support themselves, placing them at risk of financial problems if they are forced to take out loans or borrow food stocks. Often, loans are only available with excessive interest charges and even if they are able to farm families can find themselves trapped in a battle where they must choose between survival and paying back their debts. In Odisha, Sustainable Livelihoods are inextricably tied to farming. According to the 2001 Census, 65% of the state's workforce is employed in the agriculture sector and this is of course higher in rural districts such as Koraput. Rice is Odisha's principal crop, making up around 78% of total food grain production in the state.
Ekta works with farming communities through programmes:Sustainable Option for Uplifting Livelihood project (SOUL) is being implemented in 10 villages of Kutuli and Kumbhikota Gram Panchayat of Rayagada District since 1st May, 2013. This project is being supported by Indo Global Social Service Society (IGSSS) New Delhi. We focus sustainable livelihood options through community based organization (CBO) at grass root level. Through these programmes we work to educate farming communities on approaches which can improve productivity such as sustainable agricultural practices, vocational training, self help groups and cooperatives. These programmes help disadvantaged families to not just increase their income but also to create support networks which mean that they can rely on each other in times of need without having to seek assistance from external groups or money lenders.