Water has emerged as one of the most important commodities of the 21st century.Nevertheless, water is a shared responsibility of consumers, communities,
governments and corporations (UN 2006).The global demand for freshwater over the
next 25 years is expected to exceed by 40% with serious ecological, economic and
social consequences (Hoekstra 2013).
The Government of India had declared 2001 as the ‘Year of Women’s Empowerment’ by
passing a national policy to enhance the status of women in society. However, much of the
rural women’s work is not systematically accounted for in official statistics and the national
data collection agencies admit that there is under-estimation of tribal women's contribution as
workers (Leach and Sitaram 2002).
During 1995-1996, the Sadguru Foundation initiated a community lift
irrigation (LI) scheme at Mota Dharola village (currently Santrampur taluka,
Mahisagar district, Gujarat). In February 2014, I visited Mota Dharola
accompanied by colleagues, Ramesh Patel (Head of Forestry) and Kanhaiya
Choudhary (CEO, Sadguru Foundation) and spoke to community leaders to
assess the economic impact of lift irrigation.
It has been a matter of great priviledge for us to be involve in the rapid study and
assessment of RKVY project implemented by highly reputed NGO Sadguru
Foundation in district Banswara. We are greatful to the organisation to entrust this
study to us as it has been always a matter of pride for anyone to undertake such study
of the partnership work of the government and reputed NGO.
In the late 1980s, Robert Chambers and I visited scores of development initiatives around
India to understand what works best for improving the livelihoods of poor people. Sadguru
Foundation in Dahod was one of those NGOs with which we spent quite sometime especially
because all of Sadguru's work targeted poor Adivasi communities. The book that we coauthored
in 1987, “To the hands of the poor: Water and trees” (Chambers, Saxena and Shah
1987) was deeply influenced by our Sadguru experience.