There is an urgent need to create mechanisms to empower widows in Yavatmal and Vidarbha, and give them the support they need to pick up the pieces of their lives and move forward. However, such initiatives are rare. One of the few such projects for the welfare of the helpless women is run by Watershed Organisation Trust (WOTR) and its sister organization Sampada Trust.
“Though raised in a city, I always had a fascination for plants and natural habitat. So, I decided to do an MSc. in Agricultural Science. Since I was keen on working for natural resource management, WOTR’s areas of work seemed like a perfect match.” says Bhavana reflecting on her 10-year journey with WOTR. To this Jyothirmayee adds that, "Each of us has a different educational background- Development, Environmental Sciences and Agricultural Sciences. Therefore, we have a multi-disciplinary approach". Bhavana then mentions that, "We see ourselves as a team of practitioners that does research, and not as a research team that does field work. It is a matter of pride for us to be the RRC that is led by an all-women team engaging in research and practice simultaneously. However, there are several advantages and disadvantages to that. The advantages being that we are better able to relate to the challenges faced by female farmers and thus, can plan effective intervention activities for them. For instance, most of the female farmers are wage workers and so we try to organise farmer field schools in their lunch time so that they can attend it. However, the disadvantage is that, we totally miss out on a male perspective." Adding to this Divya says, "One constant feedback we get from training, seminars and workshops that we host is that they are shocked that the training was conducted by an all-women team. On the other hand we feel that, the work we do is sometimes very frustrating. But what keep us going are the success stories of people’s lives changing positive due to our interventions. We derive immense satisfaction seeing them progress and this makes all our efforts worthwhile."