This long and detailed study describes how the mandal (administrative area) of Devikere in Jagalar, Karnataka State was selected as the appropriate site for an Action Aid anti-poverty project. A socio-economic survey was conducted by a multi-disciplinary team using mainly RRA techniques. The methodology employed appears to have much in common with farming systems research. A section of the report is devoted to health issues. This includes: nutrition and food availability; mother and child wellbeing, health practices and beliefs; the environment; housing; occupation and health services. The anthropological/ethnographic technique of using case studies of individuals adds a strong human dimension to the study. Separate sections are devoted to women, infrastructure and sanitation, and socio-economic conditions.