About WOTR

About WOTR

Established in 1993, WOTR is a non-profit organisation that engages at the intersection of practice, knowledge and policy across scales and in collaboration with various stakeholders across sectors. Our goal is to ensure water and food availability, along with livelihoods and income security – to support the sustainable growth and well-being of vulnerable and disadvantaged communities in rural India.

As of March 2021, WOTR, in collaboration with its partners, has worked in over 5,200 villages across 9 Indian states – Maharashtra, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Bihar, Chhattisgarh and Odisha. We have impacted more than 4.3 million people, trained over 530,000 people from across India and 63 countries and collaborated with 230 NGOs/ Project Implementing Agencies (PIAs), and promoted over 15,500 SHGs involving 190,000 women.

Areas of Work

Watershed Development and Ecosystem Management

Integrated Water Resources Management

Climate Resilient Agriculture

Sustainable Rural Livelihoods

Biodiversity

Women Empowerment

Nutrition, Health and Sanitation

Cross-cutting thematics across these areas include adaptation and resilience to climate change, institutional development, governance and policy engagement.

Vision

Resilient rural communities that enjoy a fulfilling quality of life within vibrant and sustainable ecosystems.

Mission

WOTR tackles the key causes of rural poverty by rejuvenating ecosystems and building the community’s resilience to climate change. We enhance the availability of water, increase the productivity of land and agriculture, diversify livelihoods, empower women, and strengthen the health and well-being of vulnerable rural communities.

Founders

Our Founders are regarded as the pioneers of participatory watershed development in India, having designed and launched the well-known bilateral Indo-German Watershed Development Program in collaboration with NABARD (IGWDP) which laid the foundation for the setting up of the national Watershed Development Fund (WDF) at NABARD by the Government of India in 1999. They were also instrumental in initiating the establishment of the National Adaptation Fund for Climate Change (NAFCC) in 2015 at the Ministry of Environment and Forests and Climate Change.

Late Father Hermann Bacher is regarded as the ‘Father of Community-led Watershed Development in India.’ Originally a teacher from Switzerland, he made India his home early in life. He initiated the Indo-German Watershed Development Programme and his efforts brought about the emergence of the now widely used participatory model of watershed development. Among his various outstanding contributions is the creation of a cadre of grassroots professionals with a common vision and a passion for promoting community-led watershed development at the village level.

After 60 years of service in Maharashtra, dedicated to the upliftment of the poor, the landless and rural women, Fr. Bacher returned to his hometown in Switzerland, where he breathed his last on 14th September 2021. In recognition of his outstanding efforts, Fr. Bacher was given Germany’s highest civilian award, the Federal Cross of the Order of Merit in 1994 at a ceremony in the watershed village of Mendhwan in Sangamner. This was followed by the Krishi Bhushan, at the hands of the Governor of Maharashtra, in the same year. Several honors followed and in 2010, the Government of Maharashtra conferred upon him and WOTR its highest Award in agriculture, “The Dr. Punjabrao Deshmukh Krishi Ratna”.

Crispino Lobo, Co-Founder & Managing Trustee of WOTR, is well regarded in the national and international development circles for his knowledge and achievements in the fields of natural resource management, participatory watershed development and integrated water resources management. Crispino has also contributed to central and state policy level changes through participation in a number of committees. His contributions at the Pre-Budget Consultations on Agriculture, in which he has regularly participated for the last 22 years, led to the establishment of the Watershed Development Fund (WDF) and the National Adaptation Fund for Climate Change (NAFCC) at the MoEF&CC. He is regularly invited to address the development community both in India and overseas at conferences and seminars.

Founders

Our Founders are regarded as the pioneers of participatory watershed development in India, having designed and launched the well-known bilateral Indo-German Watershed Development Program in collaboration with NABARD (IGWDP) which laid the foundation for the setting up of the national Watershed Development Fund (WDF) at NABARD by the Government of India in 1999. They were also instrumental in initiating the establishment of the National Adaptation Fund for Climate Change (NAFCC) in 2015 at the Ministry of Environment and Forests and Climate Change.

Late Father Hermann Bacher is regarded as the ‘Father of Community-led Watershed Development in India.’ Originally a teacher from Switzerland, he made India his home early in life. He initiated the Indo-German Watershed Development Programme and his efforts brought about the emergence of the now widely used participatory model of watershed development. Among his various outstanding contributions is the creation of a cadre of grassroots professionals with a common vision and a passion for promoting community-led watershed development at the village level.

After 60 years of service in Maharashtra, dedicated to the upliftment of the poor, the landless and rural women, Fr. Bacher returned to his hometown in Switzerland, where he breathed his last on 14th September 2021. In recognition of his outstanding efforts, Fr. Bacher was given Germany’s highest civilian award, the Federal Cross of the Order of Merit in 1994 at a ceremony in the watershed village of Mendhwan in Sangamner. This was followed by the Krishi Bhushan, at the hands of the Governor of Maharashtra, in the same year. Several honors followed and in 2010, the Government of Maharashtra conferred upon him and WOTR its highest Award in agriculture, “The Dr. Punjabrao Deshmukh Krishi Ratna”.

Crispino Lobo, Co-Founder & Managing Trustee of WOTR, is well regarded in the national and international development circles for his knowledge and achievements in the fields of natural resource management, participatory watershed development and integrated water resources management. Crispino has also contributed to central and state policy level changes through participation in a number of committees. His contributions at the Pre-Budget Consultations on Agriculture, in which he has regularly participated for the last 22 years, led to the establishment of the Watershed Development Fund (WDF) and the National Adaptation Fund for Climate Change (NAFCC) at the MoEF&CC. He is regularly invited to address the development community both in India and overseas at conferences and seminars.

Journey & Milestones