Project Rise completes work on its Water Security and Farmer Uplift Programme in Yavatmal Region of Maharashtra.
This story has been reported by The Times of India on 15.09.2022
“Earlier we used to grow only one crop per year and that was cotton. Now, because of adequate water resources, we have grown five crops last year” – Manick Singh Rathod, a local farmer from the Vidarbha region in Yavatmal, beams in delight as he shares the state of affairs in his fields. Echoing his sentiments, local residents also shared about the unfortunate realities of living in a water-scarce environment, and how that is changing today.
The Dawoodi Bohra community and World Vision India organised a function on 14th October 2022 to recognise the achievements and impact of their ‘Project Rise Water Security & Farmer Uplift Programme”. The project supported vulnerable farming communities of four rural rain-fed villages – Chinchghat, Wadner, Marthad and Shivani in Yavatmal District, Maharashtra, reaching more than 1,000 families engaged primarily in agriculture.
Yavatmal district in the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra is chronically drought-prone with unpredictable rainfall that often witnesses a high number of farmer suicides. Being a largely agrarian economy, Yavatmal and other areas of Vidarbha have over the years, become notorious for reporting the highest number of cases of farmer suicides – the problem largely plagued with uneven rainfall and drought.
This watershed management programme expanded the cultivable areas under assured irrigation through the construction of check dams, water reservoirs and desilting of the ponds. Integration of water sources and improving farm water usage were essential components of the project.
Applauding the farmers and the partnership efforts, Mr Sony Thomas, Group Director – Resource Mobilisation & Public Engagement, World Vision India, said, “Much of India’s rural population remains dependent on a rain-fed agricultural economy that provides meagre and uncertain income. Their plight is aggravated by degraded soil quality and depleting water resources. We are happy to have partnered with the Dawoodi Bohra community to implement watershed management programs which created a positive impact on agriculture and the livelihood of farmers in Yavatmal, Maharashtra. We believe that creating sustainable livelihoods for families will enhance the holistic well-being of a child and give children a better future to thrive.”
“Our children have now started going to school. They are getting good nutritious food”, said Asha Yogesh Rathod, the village Sarpanch (council head) of Chinchghat and Wadner villages. On a similar note, Govind Rathod, a local from Wadner said, “The people of our village, especially children and women, have got many facilities. Because of poultry farming their families are doing good. We have got a lot of hope”.
Addressing the audience, Mr Shabbir Najmuddin, Senior Official of Project Rise and Vice Executive Trustee of Burhani Foundation, said, “The climate crisis is intensifying water-related disasters like droughts and floods across the globe. The lack of water resources, especially in the Vidarbha region, is a major concern for farmers and their families. We feel privileged to have successfully completed this long-term watershed management project in five villages to address the problem of water scarcity and provide better opportunities to the people of the region.”
“The head of the community, Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin, has always guided us to provide aid and ease the hardships of vulnerable sections of society. With this vision in mind, Project Rise continues to engage with local communities and government authorities to work in areas of food and malnutrition, water, hygiene and sanitation, education, healthcare and improving the environment,” Najmuddin added.
Some of the significant outcomes of the project include:
- Increased surface as well as groundwater levels. Surface water levels were found to have increased by 2.5 feet in Wadner and by 3 feet in Chinchghat.
- The watershed programs reduced the extent of soil erosion. In Chinchghat, soil erosion was reduced to 25 – 50 % in the target area.
- There has been a positive change in land use pattern leading to an increase in net sown area. The watershed activities have increased agricultural land area from 436 acres to 2124 acres (4.87 times) in Chinchghat and 526 acres to 627 acres (1.19 times) in Wadner village.
- Reduction in soil erosion, rainwater run-off reduction, increase in the groundwater table and increase in cropping intensity are expected to trigger an increase in agricultural yields in the five- targeted villages.
- The project also documented more benefits for farmers in terms of creating more agricultural opportunities and jobs within the villages, which aims to reduce seasonal migration for work.
Glimpses of the Project
Project Rise is a global philanthropic arm of the Dawoodi Bohra community, which supports vulnerable members of society across different parts of the world through better education, healthcare, nutrition, water and sanitation, and environmental protection.
World Vision India is one of the country’s largest child-focused humanitarian organisations. With over seven decades of experience at the grassroots, the NGO looks to empower vulnerable children and communities living in contexts of poverty and injustice to become self-sufficient and bring about an impactful change in their lives for the better.