Vol 39 - Issue 3

Gender, Water & Climate Changes

Climate change represents the most complex challenge of our time. We acknowledge the important role that women have to play as key decision makers and stakeholders in the context of climate change. Climate change manifests itself most severely through changes in water (floods and droughts, for example), and women are disproportionately affected by these changes. To this end CSR aims to create sustainable and long-lasting solutions to climate change, that place women at their core.
The various projects implemented by GWCC include Water Conservation and Climate Change Training Program in Jaipur & Abu Road, Rajasthan (2013-2018); Trans-Boundary Disaster Management Training in Bihar & Nepal (2017- 2018); SHGs for Sustainable Water Resource management and Restoration of Water Resources in Alwar, Rajasthan (2018-2019); and the most recent project Water Conservation and Women’s Leadership: Building the capacity of Self Help Group (SHG) members in Sanganer, Rajasthan, (2019 – ongoing).

Site Inauguration at Kali-Khol, Alwar: 
Our collaborative project with Honda2wheelers India: “SHG’s for Sustainable Water Resource Management and Restoration of Water Resources” concluded in July. A launch event comprising a hand-holding and site inaugurate event was conducted on the 30th & 31st of July in Alwar, with all the SHG women trained under the program, Honda and CSR Representatives, and our local and technical experts in attendance.
The project was designed towards building women’s leadership capacities in water conservation. During the course of the project, 40 women members from existing Self Help Groups (SHGs) were trained in water conservation strategies, and the role of women in climate action. By working with a grassroots coalition of women skilled in advanced water management, it is expected that these women will then go on to effectively facilitate community-based natural resource development.
The two day concluding event was conducted with the aim of providing final session on the maintenance of the new water structures, and hosting an inaugural program to officially launch the sites. The first day of the event focused on a recap of the basic and technical sessions that had previously been conducted, and further lessons for maintenance and upkeep of the newly constructed medhbandhs (check-dams). On the second day the women sang a folk song about their experience with the project – one that encapsulated their learnings, challenges, and personal growth. Rajasthani folk music is a captivating oral tradition, passed down through generations, where Rajasthani people (mostly women) weave captivating stories about emotions, stories, and daily life. It was a beautiful moment, and a wonderful way for the project to be explained by the women’s own voices.
We also visited three of the five medhbandh sites – where our local partners and technical experts provided further maintenance lessons to our participants. It was a successful event, where we were able to gauge into the journey of personal growth that the women had set on after being recognized as leaders of change in the community.

Project Commencement at Sanganer: 

In collaboration with RITES Foundation, We launched a project working with SHG women in Sanganer, Jaipur. The CSR team conducted a three day visit to the target villages to conduct focused group discussions, and assess the specific needs and requirements of the area. It was a fruitful visit, and we are now moving forward and working on designing our project around our findings, and through further house-hold surveys conducted by our local partners.
The project aims to work with Self Help Group women, training them in climate action and water conservation strategies, and preparing them to become water leaders in their villages and districts.

Evaluation in Jaipur and Abu Road: 

We strive to ensure that the projects that we design and implement have a high social impact. We are currently working in conjunction with Hanns-Seidel-Stiftung (HSS) on an evaluation  of our “water conservation and climate change” project (2012-2018).
During the five-year course of this project we worked with 300 Elected Women Representatives (EWRs) and to-be EWRs  in Jaipur and in Abu Road. Training them to be leaders invested in enhancing water conservation measures and projects in their districts. We developed a training program that would increase their knowledge of the connections between water issues and gender inequality; increase their knowledge on water related schemes and activities; and increase their capacities to lead water conservation initiatives at the village level.

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