Thirty five villages of Dhanora Taluka in Gadchiroli District which falls under the GoI’s Aspirational Districts Programme (ADP) selected for Watershed Development work.
The Project ‘Integrated Community led Watershed Development and Management Programme’ to include promotion of sustainable living, desiltation and construction of lakes, livelihood promotion with new agricultural technologies and plantation drives.
WOTR has been working for integrated water resource management and sustainable agriculture in rural communities across India for decades to empower people in rural regions, nurture and build resilient livelihoods. On the 12th of October, 2022 WOTR commenced its latest project ‘Integrated Community-led Watershed Development and Management Programme’ in the Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra. The project was inaugurated in the august presence of the administration heads, public representatives and village leaders in a function held at Mendha Lekha, Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra which is amongst the chosen areas for the initiative. This project is funded by RG Mandhune Foundation for Excellence (MFE), popularly known as Motivation for Excellence.
Prakash Keskar- Executive Director of WOTR, Dr. Anand Bang-Trustee of MFE and SEARCH, Manik Chavhan-Deputy CEO of Gadchiroli Zilla Parishad, and Devaji Toffa-a prominent Social Worker were some of the dignitaries present at the event. Other important guests at the occasion included ex-MLA Hiraman Warkhade, and Debaji Pada- another renowned Social Worker.
During the inauguration, Prakash Keskar, Executive Director of WOTR affirming the hopes of the villagers said “Watershed development in the 35 villages of Dhanora will bring in focus on water conservation, agricultural development, and livelihoods which will achieve sustainable development in the region.”
Furthermore, Dr. Anand Bang, Trustee, MFE and SEARCH said “In the Gadchiroli district, the Dhanore taluka is completely forested and is home to several indigenous communities. We are very happy and proud that WOTR is starting a new project on watershed development in the region. We extend our sincere gratitude and best wishes to WOTR and will provide full support for the project.”
This project will undertake watershed development in the selected 35 villages of Gadchiroli to help the villagers lead a sustainable life along with activities such as lake desiltation and construction of new lakes. This project will provide villagers, who mostly pursue the traditional ways of agriculture, technical knowledge and training via demo plots to foster their cultivation. In collaboration with the government agencies, they will also be trained to convert their efforts to sustainable development. During the course of the project, various workshops and training programmes would also be hosted for development of livelihoods. Additionally, a nursery would be opened for enhancing biodiversity to help in forest plantation and for facilitating training.
At the inauguration, representatives of Yuva Parivartan Manch, Piramal Foundation, Farmer for Forest were present with a total of 300 participants including guests and villagers present during the launch. Mulching for a hundred bamboo saplings was done, and these saplings were fed with Jivamrut on the same day of the inauguration.
Initially, a total of 50 villages were shortlisted for the project. The selection process was guided and led by Dr Anand Bang, Physician and Public health specialist at SEARCH, who is also an honorary advisor to the Chief Minister of Maharashtra. Of the 50 shortlisted villages, 35 of them were finally selected with consultation and agreement with the local village bodies.
Hermann Bacher’s birthday (12th October), co-founder of WOTR and popularly known as the father of the community-led watershed movement in India, is celebrated as Shramdaan Day. Coinciding with the project launch in Gadchiroli, to commemorate Father Bacher’s birthday, a total of 750 villagers from Mendha Lekha, Darachi, and Ghodzeri participated in Shramdaan.
This project, like WOTR’s other projects, aims at transforming the lives of communities of the Gadchiroli district which is amongst the Aspirational Districts of the Government of India, through participatory watershed development, climate resilient sustainable agriculture, with a special emphasis on building resilience of the vulnerable communities, farmers, and women.