India is characterized by a rich cultural diversity, part of which includes more than 67 million people who belong to indigenous tribal groups. Many of these groups have been socially and economically excluded for much of modern history. Today nearly half of tribal families live in poverty—a rate similar to where the general population was two decades ago. Only about 30 percent of indigenous adults and less than 25 percent of indigenous women can read and write.
In Madhya Pradesh, India’s second largest state, economic growth has largely bypassed tribal groups who account for more than a quarter of the state’s population. Many indigenous children in this state are out of school, malnourished and in poor health. India has one of the highest rates of childhood malnutrition in the world; 43 percent of children are underweight—a percentage higher than that found in much of sub-Saharan Africa.
CARE, a Global Impact charity partner, helps tribal communities organize and communicate with authorities to ensure government services are meeting their needs. CARE also works with government staff to improve the quality of health care in Anganwadi health centers and the quality of education offered to tribal groups. With support from the project, families are creating new income-generating activities that empower them with access to better nutrition, education and healthcare.
With more than six decades of experience in India, including landmark programs to improve health and nutrition for millions of women and children, CARE had the expertise to help Madhya Pradesh’s tribal communities achieve significant, sustainable changes. As a long-time government partner, CARE also had a trusted voice valued by the Indian government.
After talking with CARE, the Indian government agreed that if CARE could raise $31,000, they would match those funds with a grant of $450,000 to support new programming in Madhya Pradesh. CARE staff turned to the Impact Fund for support. By offering flexible funding, the Impact Fund allowed CARE to take advantage of this unforeseen opportunity with the Indian government. The return on investment was impressive: for every $1 from the Impact Fund, the Indian government gave $14.
In 2011 CARE successfully launched the Madhya Pradesh Tribal—SEHAT Project in partnership with the Indian government. This far-reaching and transformative project would not exist without the generous contributions made to the Impact Fund. Making a donation to the Impact Fund offers a vital source of revenue for CARE’s work, allowing the organization to innovate, launch new initiatives and continue successful programs that drive sustainable change.