University of Cincinnati honor students recently discovered first-hand the empowering nature that easy access to water has on a woman's life in rural India.

They traveled to three villages in western India to document the work being done by Navinchandra Mafatlal Sadguru Water and Development Foundation, a non-governmental organization (NGO) that helps tribal people break away from poverty by making better use of resources, technology and management practices.

Their work is featured in this video.

Sadguru’s programs include the development of reliable irrigation and drinking-water systems – systems taken for granted in established countries.

For nearly 40 years Sadguru has gathered anecdotal evidence of their impact on the rural regions of western India, in the Dahod district in the state of Gujarat, just outside of Dahod city in a small region called Chosala.

Sadguru’s close relationship with the Gujarati people has given them a general understanding of how their work has affected individuals, families and communities. However, Sadguru mostly has tracked output: how many dams have been built, water systems have been installed, or self-help groups started. They generally start with improving the infrastructure for access to water through the building of small check-dams, pumps and basic irrigation systems. The people in the villages are trained to maintain the tools in concert with new agricultural techniques, so they're harvesting diverse crops over several seasons instead of one crop during at best one season. This gives them access to a larger supply of food to eat and sell as well as diversity in their diet.

In addition to watershed development, Sadguru has programs for dairy (hand-milked buffalo usually), horticulture, floriculture, self-help groups, community-based organizations and micro-lending.

Continued at ucjournalism.org/archives/1532

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