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Innovative rainwater harvesting empowers women in Gujarat, India

This case study showcases how an innovative rainwater harvesting technology has empowered women and strengthened climate resilience in Gujarat.

Prolonged dry spells and unseasonal rainfall in the western state of Gujarat in India has resulted in drought-like conditions or waterlogging in many fields, leading to the destruction of crops. This has seriously threatened underprivileged female farmers whose livelihood depends on the monsoon. 

A rainwater harvesting technique called Bhungroo allows for the successful storing of excess rainwater underground, making it more accessible for farming, and pumps it out for use during dry spells. Naireeta Services, a local social enterprise, has been training and empowering women to install, manage and monitor Bhungroo since 2011. The initiative is improving the socio-economic circumstances of marginal women farmers by building their skills and giving them greater control over their natural and social environment.

Key messages from this case study include: 

  • Recognising the contribution of women in agriculture and bringing them to the forefront enhances agricultural productivity and strengthens climate resilience.
  • Providing women with land ownership and natural resources, and getting them involved in decision-making processes, can have manifold impacts, such as ensuring household food security and improved living conditions.
  • The active representation of women in politics and local government decision-making eventually helped to address other gender relations issues, like their social position in their families, and helped negotiations with government to fund more relevant programmes.

Photo: A woman with her certification of Bhungroo ownership. Credit Naireeta Services.

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