Harnessing limited resources for better livelihood
India has made great efforts over the last decades to reduce the percentage of people living under the poverty line: from about 55% in 1973, it has gone down to about 27% in 2004. But poverty remains a chronic condition for almost 30% of the country’s rural population.
In 2009, Humana People to People India started the Green Action Project in the Neemrana region in Rajasthan.The project addresses land degradation, scarcity of drinking and irrigation water, and community developments.
In rural communities of India, people's living conditions are deteriorating because of environmental degradation and their vulnerability to natural disasters. The district of Rajasthan receives only 16 inches of annual rainfall, but has long been known for its underground water supply. However, the growing number of industries established in the area and the use of modern and more efficient pumps, have caused severe depletion of the groundwater table.
Through Humana People to People’s Green Action program in India, the project has mobilized communities in 68 villages in Rajasthan to organize together and find ways to improve the efficiency of rainwater harvesting and reducing its impact on the depleting groundwater table through rejuvenation of village ponds, roof water harvesting and wastewater management. This is an initiative to promote sustainable land and water resource management, that will improve the life conditions of the Neemrana community.
Improving crop productivity
Besides using low cost drip irrigation and water harvesting systems, the program has promoted kitchen gardens irrigated with wastewater to boost the consumption of healthy food. Some of the agricultural results that have been achieved through the actions of the farmers, cotton crop has increased around 28% although being new to the area. Pearl Millet and Cluster Beans also showed an important increase in crop productivity, with 18% and 21%, respectively.
More than 3.600 farmers have participated in the initiative and, according to the project leaders, “the community has understood the value of conserving water resource and is starting to adopt different water saving techniques”.