Friday, August 02, 2013

Community radio reporters help village communities solve their water woes

Chandrapal Singh Rajput of Papawani village wakes up every morning with the hope of seeing a proper irrigation source for his parched fields.
Situated in the drought proneregion of Bundelkhand in Central, this village along with many others faces severe water problems. Reducing crop yields and farmers' incomes have forced residents to migrate to far away cities in search of work.
To address problems of the community in Papawani, reporters from Radio Bundelkhand, a community radio that runs a climate change communication campaign called ShubhKal, organised a panipanchayat (water conservation meeting) in the village in March 2013.
Radio reporters shared thereal life example of Hivre Bazaar,a village situated in the drought prone Ahmednagar district of which completely transformed itself using water conservation measures.
They mentioned how the villagers of Hivre Bazaar used government funding to implement rain water harvesting and afforestation to regenerate their natural resources. These measures helped in boosting ground water levels and agricultural production. Soon, families who had migrated away started returning back to Hivre Bazaar and began doing farming again.
The community members of Papawani felt quite motivated and hopeful hearing these stories of change. This was followed by a constructive discussion between the locals and the government officials on how to solve the severe water problem affecting the village. Mr. S.K. Khare, the agriculture extension officer from Prithvipur block, educated the farmers on the use of different water and soil conservation measures. He shared details of the 'BalramTalabYojna', a scheme under which villagers can get financial help from the state government to build farm ponds.
With this 'panipanchayat', the community of Papawani has taken a constructive step to deal with the water stress in their village. If similar panipanchayats are held in other water starved villages of India, it could lead to a water revolution.