At Development Focus we have made a conscious decision that our work would focus on the most needy and vulnerable sections of our society in under-developed districts of India. This led the organisation to start work in Jharkhand, Odisha (formerly Orissa) and Chhattisgarh. All these states are in Central India and some of the least developed states. Even within these states our programmes are implemented in the poorer districts – these are districts which have been identified as the poorest in the country. In all these districts, there is a high concentration of Dalits and Tribals, who have been historically neglected. They have been the major beneficiaries of all our programmes.
The logic behind this preferential option for the poorest communities is:
-The very poor are ignored and entrenched in poverty
-Disparity between the Haves’ and the Have Nots’ is increasing
-Vested interests are gaining acceptance
-There is an incentive to maintain a poor layer in society
From the inception of the organisation in 2006, we have been working in these 3 states and still continue to do so. In 2016, we started work in North Karnataka. Although Karnataka is not one of the poor states of the country, a few districts in North Karnataka that has a high Dalit population belong to the list of poorest districts in the country. We work in Raichur and Bijapur districts.
In 2018, we have extended our work to North East India, starting with Mizoram. The Tribal population in Mizoram is 100%. The type of poverty is a little different there. In indicators like; literacy rate, access to basic necessities, per capita income etc. they are above average. However when it comes to livelihood opportunities for youth, there is dearth. Except for government jobs – which are limited – there are hardly any opportunities. We have taken the BridgeIT project there.
Our intention is not to spread thinly to many places, but have geographic focus on needy areas so that a clear Impact can be seen over the years.
Our office is in Bangalore, the capital city of Karnataka. Since we work in many states and through implementing partners this is convenient. We did have a field office in Odisha for a few years but it was not viable to continue. Bangalore has several advantages like; good communication facilities, reliable services and can attract talented human resources.