Since 1986 Seva Mandir has been working in Kotra Block, its largest work area at 242,237 ha, with projects in 106 villages. Seva Mandir’s main office in Kotra is located 115 km away, the furthest of any block.
Located in the southwestern part of the Udaipur District, Kotra is a very remote region characterized by a hilly geography with villages made up of many hamlets scattered and spread out over a large area. The typical village consists of 150 families spread across a 3-4 km radius.
While Seva Mandir is currently working with close to 20,600 people, the total population of Kotra is 183,504, of which 90% are tribal consisting of primarily the Bhil, Meena and Garasia groups.
Agriculture serves as the primary source of income, though just a small section of the total land is devoted to it, due to low soil moisture from the recurring drought, limited irrigation capacities and a lack of labor. One of the major problems in the region is the seasonal migration into the local state of Gujarat to work on farms and as masons.
At 24.52, Kotra block’s literacy rate is the lowest of any of the blocks, with the female literacy rate at only 11.5% and male at 37.55%. However since Seva Mandir introduced its education programs in Kotra Block there has been an improvement in the overall literacy levels of the region.
- There is a major lack of Government facilities in the Kotra Block and those that are present do not function properly.
- There is a major shortage of schools and high levels of teacher absenteeism as well as a general lack of facilities within schools that do exist. Even when children try and attend school they are forced to drop out due to these reasons.
- There are similar problems with health facilities and services in the area with a lack of ANM and GNM facilities.
- The geography of the region serves as a major problem with the terrain and general remoteness making it difficult to access much of the area.
- Kotra is predominantly a tribal region and the strong tribal culture can make it challenging to for a village to accept and adapt to new programs and interventions.
- Because of its proximity to Gujarat migration to work in both agriculture as well as, as daily wage laborers is a major problems often leading to the migration of entire families.