N M Sadguru Water Development Foundation


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Introduction

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Navinchanda Mafatlal Sadguru is one of the NGO working on large scale in Gujarat & Rajasthan. It is non-political, non-profit making, secular organization registered under the Public Charitable Trust Act, the Societies Registration Act (1860) and the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act.

This NGO worked in areas of Dahod situated in Western India which was covered with thick dense forests a home for wild tigers and elephants. The tribals of the region earned their livelihood from the forests. For the last fifty years there has been immense natural resource destruction and inappropriate management leading to loss of biological diversity. The organization Sadguru Water Development Foundation, an NGO, established in 1974, dedicated itself to the betterment of rural and tribal people by helping them make better use of available resources, appropriate technology and participatory managerial practices. The aim is to help the tribal people break away from the vicious circle of poverty and once again restore the lost natural resources. By making best use of available water resources and demonstrating the economic and environmental benefits of afforestations and watershed development, Sadguru Water Development Foundation has reversed the exodus of tribal people forced out from their land by drought and erosion. This is bringing in new prosperity and a potential impetus for environmental improvement.

Sadguru endeavors to develop & expand environmentally, technically, socially sound natural resource interventions leading to poverty alleviation, through community participation, and empowering women and other disadvantaged groups, to ensure equitable and sustainable development.

Establishment

Navinchandra Mafatlal Sadguru foundation, established in 1974 it is a non-governmental organization.

It is recognized by the Department of Rural Development of the government of 3 states of Rajasthan, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. The organization is receiving funds from the state and central government, national and international funding agencies for its rural/tribal poverty alleviation NRM programs. Its main objectives are to improve the living condition of rural and tribal people by developing environmentally sound land and water resources programmers; improve the environment; arrest the distress migration; improve the socio-economic status of rural people and strive for their overall development. This is prompted by facilitating the growth of local institutions that support and sustain the NRM Programmes.

Presently, SADGURU has an active presence in the tribal areas of three states, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh in the contiguous districts of, Dahod, Panchmahals, Banswara, Jhalawar and Jhabua. More than 550 villages have been touched under various program interventions by SADGURU. Another 125 villages have been helped by other NGOs with SADGURU’s support. The visible poverty among the masses and relative backwardness were the major criteria for Sadguru selecting specific areas.

 

History

The organization, N M Sadguru Water and Development Foundation (SWDF), which is popularly known as “Sadguru”, came into existence in the year 1974.The project was initiated and supported by the STANROSE group of companies, the Mafatlals in the beginning. Mr. Harnath Jagawat, the director took the reins of this organization in the year 1974 and the first 2 years he walked from village to village collecting information and data related to the situation of the natural resources and the reasons for the high levels of poverty and migration in these tribal regions of western India. He was later joined by his wife Ms. Sharmisthaben and many professionals interested in working in the field of development.

Development Journey

  • A social research was carried out in the region from 1974-1975. The following areas of concern came up;
  • The Eastern regions of Dahod and Jhalod taluka of Panchmahals district was the most backward and economically most vulnerable
  • 95% tribal population with 90% below poverty line was the status of the people
  • Almost 100% migration due to many factors like poor land quality, limited irrigation facilities, outdated agricultural practices, poor extension services.
  • Only 6% of land was under irrigation of the total land whereas there were high irrigation potentials existing.
  • The water resources of the region were under utilized or not utilized at all.

Based on these intensive studies, water resources development in the form of community lift irrigation schemes was given the highest priority. Subsequently, programmes such as: agro forest – farm forestry, micro watershed development, community water harvesting, Bio-gas, and non-farm income generation activities involving women, Joint Forest Management (JFM), horticulture, floriculture, women’s self help groups, have later, evolved on the basis of need and potential.

Throughout this development journey, village institutions were established to help strengthen and sustain the programs. The oldest village organization has been in existence for more than 25 years.

 

 

Environment & Forestry

The Forestry sector activities are vital elements in any regional development program. It not only contributes to environmental rehabilitation, but also enhances the net capital assets of the region. SADGURU has promoted forestry in its project areas as a core objective.

To have a more effective impact on the socio-economic status of the household and augment empowerment, the forestry sector interventions revolve around women.

The activities under the Forestry Program are:

  • Agro-farm forestry
  • Joint forest management
  • Horticulture and floriculture development
  • Promotion of drip irrigation, net houses and green houses
  • Environment conservation forum

Environment Conservation Forum

  • Develop and strengthen linkages between partners in natural resource development and management.
  • Promote publication and dissemination of information on regional issues and practices of environmental conservation and development.
  • Advocacy to facilitate change in state and national policies related to natural resources and the stake of local communities.
  • Ensure execution of policy at local levels, through capacity building and mutual dialogue with the village partners.

Participatory micro Watershed development

Participatory Micro Watershed development helps to conserve and manage land and water on an area basis so that the basic needs of people (food, fodder, fuel, water and livelihood) are met in a sustainable and socially just manner.

The organization operates in the Mahi river basin that drains through Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Gujarat in the Western Part of India. The operational strategy is to work on micro and milli watersheds. SADGURU’s approach is special because it is not confined to just soil and water conservation activities, but includes land and water development.

SADGURU has effectively integrated surface water and ground water development with a massive plantation programme under its micro watershed programme. As a result of this, the overall impact of watershed programme in Sadguru is much more visible, effective and sustainable.

Soil and moisture conservation activities, Plantations, Poultry, farming, Dairy development and Creation of village institutions focused on economic initiatives.

Achievements

  • More than THREE DECADES of successful experience in Natural Resource Management (NRM).
  • SADGURU is considered amongst the topmost NGOs in India in Natural Resource Management.
  • It has excellent working relationships with the government, other non-government agencies and International organizations.
  • SADGURU is recognized for high quality work and achieving targets on time.
  • Phenomenal and incomparable scaling up in Natural Resource Management activities in NGO sector in recent years.
  • EMPHASIS on grassroots mobilisation in the form of community participation, community management and village institutions.
  • WOMEN focussed and gender sensitive approaches in all the programs.
    Prompt, clear and accurate reporting.
  • High degree of accountability, transparency and integrity.
  • TARGETTED programmes have benefited nearly 1, 30,000 households and 8, 00,000 people in Western India.
  • REPLICATING its development model in newer areas like Jhalawar in Rajasthan and consultancy in many states.

We have reached land mark of more than 444 water resources projects. Our community lifts irrigation schemes and water harvesting structures are of big size, each catering to large numbers of people. Many NGOs take into account the earthen and stone structures under the micro watershed development programme as check dams or water harvesting structures. If we have to consider such structures as water harvesting structures / check dams, we have in our project constructed more than 25,000 water harvesting structures. However, in our definition only masonry water harvesting structures across the rivers / rivulets, storing tangible water are the check dams / water harvesting structures. This explanation is incorporated here because many new and small NGOs have started claiming that they have constructed hundreds of check dams / water harvesting structures under the watershed development programme.

The Government agencies and NGOs from 15 states took benefit of our training programmes and large numbers of them come for the exposure visits of our activities.

In Jhalawar district, Rajasthan, we have implemented first phase of water resources development project under the Central Government SGSY Special Project, under which five check dams and seven community lift irrigation schemes have been completed in record time of less than six months from the starting, costing more than Rs. five crores.

The Government of India, Ministry of Tribal Affairs, wants us to expand our activities in various tribal regions. We have conveyed that we cannot expand directly at all the places, but, we can certainly give training and technical support to local NGOs and the Government agencies.

Two Central Government Ministers, belonging to Rajasthan, are very keen that we expand our activities manifolds in Rajasthan. We cannot respond to such demand as we have our present focused areas.

The organization’s Director Mr Harnath Jagawat is nominated on the State Level Advisory Council of Watershed Development Programme, Department of Rural Development, Rajasthan, and also on the State Level Advisory Council of Watershed Development in the Department of Agriculture, Rajasthan. Similarly, Sadguru is represented on Advisory Council for Watershed Development in Gujarat, Department of Rural Development. Mr Jagawat is also represented on important Task Force of Participatory Irrigation Management constituted by Government of Gujarat.

We have implemented Centrally Sponsored Horticulture Development Project of Government of India in Dahod District. This was only project allotted to Gujarat, which was implemented by our organization. On account of the success of this project, Central Government have extended this project for five years with the outlay of Rs. 4.75 crores.

Our idea on the potential for water resources development in the tribal regions of country is now receiving attention in various forums. The Planning Commission, the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Government of India, and some international agencies have taken note of this potential that we have been advocating for last 20 years. In order to focus on this potential on scientific way, the International Water Management Institute, Sri Lanka, under their Tata-IWMI Research Project have undertaken various studies in various tribal regions to highlight the successes and the potentials. In this study, we are collaborating along with PRADAN. Two studies in this collaboration, one for Dahod, Gujarat, and another for Jhabua, Madhya Pradesh, have been undertaken by the organisation.

Commissioner, Rural Development, Andhra Pradesh, having impressed with our activities, took away CD of our programmes and made presentation of the same on Power Point before AP Cabinet. We are told the CM and Cabinet were very much impressed and CM advised the officers to adopt our approach in integrated water resources programmes in Andhra Pradesh.

 

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