On September 11th 2018, I had the pleasure of visiting three villages located near Aurangabad, that benefit from our CSR initiatives in association with our NGO partner, Watershed Organisation Trust (WOTR). Our independent board director, Mrs. Rupa Vora, members from the CSR team and the Head of WOTR, Mr. Crispino Lobo also participated.
We received a very warm welcome when we entered the first village, Khedgaon. It seemed like the entire village was there to greet us. School children played and sang, as we were escorted to a community hall. There we listened to presentations from villagers about the direct benefits they had experienced from the project, which has been running since 2015.
The main project components have been:
- Soil and water conservation
- Water resource development and enhancement of water efficiency
- Sustainable agriculture practices
- Gender and women development
- Strengthening of community based organisations
The impact has been significant. The water supply is much better, even under drought conditions. Many farmers have switched to organic farming techniques, with less use of pesticides and commercial fertilizers. The women in the villages have started several new initiatives such as flour mills, grocery shops, clothes shops, juice & cold drink centre, etc. All the presentations were in Marathi, but luckily I had a good translator, and their enthusiasm and passion was also clearly visible, without any translation.
We also had the opportunity to visit several farms, where we inspected wells, drip irrigation systems, farm ponts and of course all the wonderful organic crops. We enjoyed a delicious vegetarian lunch at one of the farm houses, prepared from local product by the women of the village. The hospitality we received was truly fantastic, and I very much enjoyed seeing our CSR funds being well invested, with a significant sustainable positive impact.
While flying back I had a smile of satisfaction on my face and recollected
these words by Mahatma Gandhi –
"India’s way is not of Europe’s; India is not Calcutta or Bombay.
India lives in her seven hundred thousand villages."