The project area, (Anantapur district in Andhra Pradesh, India) was officially recognized as an arid district in the year 1995 by the Government of India.

Anantapur is the only district recognized as a desert in the entire South India. The common features of the district are:
(a) Low Rainfall (520m.m) and Frequent occurrences of droughts,
(b) crop failures,
(c) migration of the labourers in search of the employment opportunities, (d) malnutrition etc.

Some important facts about the district:

  • It has just 6% of the geographical area covered with the forest area
  • Irrigation facilities are available only for 7% of the area.
  • High fluoride content (above 1.5 ppm) in the ground water in almost 1/3 of the villages is another dimension of the severity of the dryness in the district.
  • In Anantapur district 418 villages are declared as dark villages due to over exploitation of the ground water and failures of rain falls.
  • In the past 5 years about 2500 farmers have committed suicide due to agriculture crisis in Anantapur district.
  • 75% of the rural masses are not having individual sanitary latrines
  • Based on the revised estimates, the adult HIV prevalence in the proposed project area in 2006 is estimated to be above1.05% where as it is just 0.39 at the national level
  • Anantapur is also well known for child and women trafficking. Many poor girls and women of this district are usually located in the red light areas of major cities like Delhi, Bombay and Goa etc as sex workers in police raids.
  • The occurrences of the Domestic violence on women are very high in the district probably due to the background of the frustrating livelihood opportunities and age old feudal value systems.