A sustainable livelihood is indispensable for people to reach their full potential and cope with the stresses of modern life.

At times, sustaining a business or other means of livelihood requires financial assistance, usually in the form of credit. However, lower-income groups of India face major problems in accessing credit. Their lack of assets for collateral and limited credit history makes it extremely difficult to obtain credit from conventional financial institutions.

In these cases, microfinance programs provide a practical and valuable alternative. The easy credits provided by these programs are instrumental in reducing poverty and lifting families toward a more sustainable livelihood.

Micro Financing is key to achieving Sustainable Livelihoods in the rural parts of our country. And Sustainable Livelihoods, in themselves, are indispensable to lead a happy life.


The Sheohar district of Bihar is an agrarian economy. Over 90% of its rural households are dependent on agriculture for their livelihoods. But the agricultural activities in Sheohar rely heavily on rainfall, which is not always consistent in the region.

As a countermeasure, the “Reform- Perform-Transform” initiative is being piloted in all the five blocks of Sheohar district – Sheohar, Dumri Katsari, Piprahi, Purnahiya and Tariyani. The purpose of this need-based initiative is to ensure stability in agricultural produce and enhance the productivity for WASH intervention in each block. Our livelihood intervention is aligned with SDG 6 principles of water-use efficiency and a synergistic approach to ABC (Access, Behaviour, Capital) and Everyone Forever components of Project Sheohar.

live Hoods

We help poor farmers obtain cost-effective and locally appropriate tools to optimize water use and crop yield. This increases the average household income, which in turn improves the quality of life with access to toilets and better WASH facilities. To further modernise the farming community, Water For People India applies innovative approaches to Solid waste management (Coordinated Compost Pit, Vermicomposting), Enterprise development (FPOs) and water-efficient technologies (Rain Gun, Sprinklers).

Water For People India has allied with Kanchan Seva Ashram (KSA) in leading the activities pertaining to Farmer Clubs, Water Conservation tools and techniques, and the Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs). There is a special focus on strengthening the FPOs to promote farmer group sustainability, as mandated within the National Policy for the Promotion of FPOs.

Our underlying goal is to sensitize, mobilize and orient locals to improve their situation. Because a sensitized and mobilized community is invested in optimal use and proper upkeep of the amenities created for them.

Project Sheohar – Contribution of Livelihood Towards Result Mid-Term (RMT)

project Sheoher

Microfinance – Access to Capital

Getting a loan can be extremely tough for the poor, especially in the rural parts of our country. To solve this problem, Self Help Groups (SHGs) are formed. These are informal, village-based saving and loan groups composed of 10-20 women or men. They follow the common method of pooling personal income to develop a revolving loan fund for members.

As of 2018, there are 5838 SHGs in Sheohar under the umbrella of JEEViKA. Unfortunately, only 7% of the households (2.4% women) in Sheohar were reached by these SHGs (2012). Reluctantly, people turn to local money lenders – mahajans – who charge a very high interest rate of 3-5 percent per month. Although Axis Bank and Share Microfinance are also working in Sheohar district as a microfinance organisation, they provide loans for livelihood purposes only.

As a result, it is virtually impossible to obtain investments for upgrading sanitation. According to the 2011 Census, 78% of households in Sheohar did not have a latrine and practiced open defecation. Although the central government has allocated considerable funds to incentivize the construction of Individual Household Latrines (IHHLs), it is ultimately the responsibility of the individuals to take the initiative for their households.

The inadequate water and sanitation coverage in Sheohar had caused the poor-quality WASH facilities to have a far-reaching impact on the overall well-being of the people. Through Water For People India’s intervention, microfinance institutions were initiated to increase community access to credit for sanitation products and services. This strengthened the financial capacity of households and allowed them to build sanitation facilities. The intervention is contributing towards the Swachh Bharat Mission’s ODF++ goal of having 95% of the population accessing and using an IHHL.

Development orientat

In 2015-16, Water For People India partnered with the Centre For Development Orientation and Training (CDOT) for disbursement of sanitation loans through Joint Liability Groups (JLGs). Project Sheohar as part of Sanitation as Business (SaaB) approach facilitates CDOT to increase the access to small loans for building IHHLs.

The community mobilizers, field facilitators, farmers’ clubs and Point of Purchases (PoPs) are pivotal in connecting the needy households with Micro Finance Institutions (MFI). In addition to promoting PoPs, FPOs are being encouraged to consider non-farm activity (point of purchase for sanitation) as part of their business plans.

For improving the market systems related to WASH products and services, a greater emphasis is put on reaching the most vulnerable small farmers, especially women. Additionally, the use of social art is complementing these efforts ensuring long-lasting behaviour change.