Promotion of climate change adaption

Promotion of climate change adaption: Addressing water management, agriculture and education

(WOTR, Ahmednagar, 2013)

This project was completed in 2013.

The problem: Lack of education and access to water for irrigation

In India, monsoon determines people’s life and especially the farmers’ ones. Their crop production depends on the amount of rainfall during the monsoon time. Due to climate change, the changed monsoon mechanism reinforces rainfall variability. Concretely, the monsoon arrival is delayed, more unpredictable and the yearly rainfall amount decreases. A higher frequency of drought, intensity and duration during the crop growth period increases the vulnerability of farmers, specially the small and marginal ones.

The remote tribal village Kaluchi Thakarwadi in the Ahmednagar District lies in the semi-arid zone in the rain shadow of the Sahydris (Western Gaths). The hamlet Manai lies very remote in the hills and no road is going there. In the hamlet live 13 families with about a 100 people with an income below the poverty line. The people are malnourished as they don’t get enough food out of their farming.

The hamlet disposes of a primary school but most of the children don’t attend it. The low school attendance rate can be traced back to 2 reasons. Firstly, the parents aren’t aware of how important education is as they themselves never attended any school classes. Therefore, they don’t send their children to school and the pupils only dispose of a minimum of school materials. Secondly, it is also the appointed teachers that don’t show much interest in motivating the children to come to school and don’t provide them with adequate classes.

Previously being landless, the Manai people obtained cultivable land from the forest government. The second common lift irrigation system given by the NGO WOTR was received by 10 families from Manai in 2008. A kerosene engine to pump the water from the river and the corresponding pipeline that allows the water to flow to the fields and irrigate them was provided. A kerosene engine was chosen due to a lack of electricity supply. The Manai dwellers started farming as their main source of livelihood. For the reason of shortage and costly fuel, the system was extremely uneconomic and expensive. Hence, it could only run for one year and was later abandoned. They still aren’t able to irrigate their rain fed fields and have to fight daily for their survival. The people take all the work they can get, including the children as they need to earn some money for the family

The Manai people live next to the river whose water is the solution to their existential problems. Facing a critical financial situation they can’t afford to fill in the gap with their own financial contribution.

The solution: Four pillars improving water management, agriculture and education

Pillar one: Revitalization of the old common lift irrigation system

In the meantime, electricity has come to Manai. Hence, the kerosine engine will be replaced with an adequate electric pump in order to be able to irrigate the lands. An electric pump provides more power to lift the water to the fields in a more economical way. GTI will provide support for the purchase and installation of an electric pump (7.5 horsepower) with its necessary accessories as well as the electric connection. With the money they will also be able to extend the existing pipeline by 240 meters in order to reach more fields further away from the river for irrigation purpose.

Pillar two: Agricultural trainings and crop cultivation demonstrations

Field irrigation allows the farmers to cultivate high-income generating cash crops like onions and tomatoes. Finally, their income increases considerably and prevents them from migrating. Once the fields of Manai will be under a functioning irrigation it is crucial that they receive cash crops’ specific cultivation trainings and demonstrations. It is proposed that the farmers are provided with agriculture inputs and information through expert visits to the demonstration plots. After the agricultural trainings and demonstrations, they will be able to cultivate cash crops without further external assistance and purchase the seeds for the next cultivation period on their own.

Pillar three: Provision of school material, organization of a school camp for parents and teachers as well as an exposure visit to other schools for the parents

It is firstly planned to organize an awareness camp in Manai for the parents and teachers to make them realize how important education is and to respond to their concerns and anxieties. Secondly, an exposure visit for the parents to model primary schools of the tribal community in nearby villages is organized. During the exposure visit, there will be direct interaction between the school teachers as well as parents of these two villages and the Manai people so as to motivate the parents from the Manai hamlet to support their children’s education. Thirdly, it is planned to provide some education material like school bags, books as well as other teaching and playing materials to the pupils of the Manai School.

Pillar four: Installment of an onion storage facility

To overcome the losses occurring from the low market prices, onions must be stored in scientific manner. To encourage the villagers to set up scientific onion storage systems, it is proposed to erect a common improved onion storage structure with the capacity of 10 metric tons for the poor farmers in the village of Bhaledara. The improved onion structure will aerate the onions from all sides and therefore maintain the onion’s quality. The scientific design and the construction know-how will be provided by the NGO WOTR. An onion storage facility with the improved method will minimize the storage losses and quality deterioration of the onions which will in turn help the poor farmers to fetch better prices for their products.

Long-term effects and sustainability of the project

For the smooth functioning and for regular maintenance of the project, it is proposed that the farmers form a Self-Help Group (SHG) which involves all the 10 households. Monthly meetings will be held. During these meetings, the regular follow up of the water distribution and other issues related to the village situation will be discussed. The conflicts or issues, if any arise, will be resolved in these meetings. The local community will maintain and look after the infrastructure created through the project fund.