Observations of Life in Orissa, India (Part II)

Last week, I mentioned that I would be posting more information from my trip to Orissa, India.

This week I would like to share my observations of what life looks like for many of the people in Orissa, and why it is important to meet the Millennium Development Goals.

Here are the first four topics:

Poverty and Hunger
Forty-seven percent of Orissa’s population lives in poverty. Even though India is one of the most densely populated nations in the world, most of the population of Orissa lives in rural areas. These people are dependent on agriculture for their livelihoods.  Land ownership is illusive for many and agricultural practices are inefficient. Hunger accounts for a high percentage of deaths in the area. Malnutrition is particularly high in the tribal areas of Orissa.

Universal Primary Education
If there is one goal more than any that India wants to meet, it is this one. Since 2002, The Indian Constitution has mandated free and compulsory education to all children ages six to fourteen. S till, there are 52,820 villages in Orissa, out of which 12,445 have no primary school.  As many as 50 percent of tribal children do not attend school because there is none accessible.

Children in a child development center in one of the tribal areas.

Gender Equality
The law doesn’t exclude women from formal political participation, but in practice, there is a big gap between formal political equality and actual participation of women in the decision-making process.  In Orissa, the greatest threat to women comes from a rise in human trafficking.  More needs to be done to protect women from exploitation.

Child Mortality
The infant mortality rate in Orissa is the highest in the country. Fewer than forty percent of the deliveries occur in a hospital or clinic. For many, it is too far to go to get to a birthing center.  Women nearing their delivery date sometimes have to travel miles on foot to the district hospital. More trained delivery practitioners are needed.

Next week, I will share information on:

  • Maternal Health
  • HIV/AIDS, Malaria, and Other Diseases
  • Environmental Stability
  • Global Partnerships

Stay tuned to learn more!

Posted by:  Sharon Rabb, Project Specialist