Comprehensive Approach to Environmental Management through Holistic Development (by adopting WOTR Wasundhara Approach) [India]

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Reporting Entity: India

Clarify if the technology described in the template, or a part of it, is covered by property rights: No

Completeness: 77%

General Information

General Information

Title of best practice:

Comprehensive Approach to Environmental Management through Holistic Development (by adopting WOTR Wasundhara Approach)



Reporting Entity:


Property Rights

Clarify if the technology described in the template, or a part of it, is covered by property rights:



Section 1. Context of the best practice: frame conditions (natural and human environment)

Short description of the best practice

Climate change proofing & developmental activities implemented
1. Soil and water conservation through a systematic ridge to valley area treatment (Continuous contour trenches (CCT), a forestation, farm bunds) is done that prevents soil erosion.
2. Demonstration and replication of Vermi compost units
3. Collaboration with the Forest department under joint forest management programme.
4. Horticulture plots for Mango and Chikku plantation
5. Improved agricultural Equipment
6. Growth Assessment of the children below 5 years age, followed by establishment of Anganwadi
7. Understanding the weather (Agro met station)
8. Common lift irrigation schemes
9. Drainage line treatments (Gully plugs, Gabions.)
10. Plantation in forest area
11. Farm Ponds (7 )
12. Alternate livelihoods:
Back- yard Poultry sheds (44 units);
Barber shop (1);
Local banjo party group (13 members).
Paper Plate Making (1)|


Sattechiwadi is hamlet of the Hivargaon main village which is situated at the foothills of the Sahyadari ranges of Western Maharashtra in Sangamner block of Ahmednagar District, at distance of 35 Km. from block headquarter.|

Brief description of the natural environment within the specified location.

The watershed is characterized with sandy loam and silty loam soil, having very shallow soil depth.|
The topography of the area is undulating and hilly. The village is encircled by mountains from three sides. The village with an area of roughly 350 ha comprises a well- defined watershed. The entire area in turn is divided in two micro watersheds with one drainage outlet flowing from north to south direction.
Sattechiwadi is situated in Sangamner tehsil of Ahmednagar district which is a rain shadow region. The area receives all of its annual precipitation from the Southwest monsoon. The average rainfall in the area is about 450 mm. The monsoon breaks in the first/second week of June, and lasts till the end of September generally and sometimes extends up to the second week of November.|

Prevailing socio-economic conditions of those living in the location and/or nearby

Most of the people in the village own land. Average gross landholding per household in Sattechiwadi is about 2.46 ha. of rainfed land 25.30% families are landless families.
Average Annual Income: Rs. 6000 - 8000 (INR)
83 % of the families have Agriculture and allied activities as the main source of income. Backyard Poultry and raring small ruminants are other supportive income sources especially for landless and very poor families. The villages labor is known for expert for onion and tomato farming.

On the basis of which criteria and/or indicator(s) (not related to The Strategy) the proposed practice and corresponding technology has been considered as 'best'?

1. Several approaches and instruments developed by WOTR (Such as Participatory Net Planning (PNP) for planning technical aspects of watershed, capacity building, multi-stakeholder partnerships) have been adopted in state and national watershed development projects.
2. Permission to treat degraded forest land was obtained by WOTR for the Indo-German Watershed Development Program (IGWDP). This was a singular achievement as such lands come under the purview of the Forest Conservation Act, which is a very strict Act.|

Section 2. Problems addressed (direct and indirect causes) and objectives of the best practice

Main problems addressed by the best practice

- Drinking water security for whole year
-Vegetative canopy
- Reduction in Runoff and zero soil erosion
- Regeneration of Biodiversity
- Increase in wild animals.|Economic:
- Agricultural employment has increased from 2 moths/ year to10 months/ year.
- Increased fodder and biomass availability.
- Increase in income due to various livelihood interventions.|Social:
- Women’s drudgery reduction through promotion of renewable energy products.(Improved hot water stove,
solar home lights)
- Improvement in social and human capitals.|The village community organized in various CBOs, and capacitated to function effectively and efficiently.|Infrastructure:
1. Road construction- approach road from main road to the village (4 km), constructed through govt. funds
2. Community hall
3. Houses for the houseless BPL families through “Indira Awaas Scheme” by the Govt. of India
4. Piped drinking water schemes
5. Individual toilets

Outline specific land degradation problems addressed by the best practice

Land treatments and plantation- The entire land with appropriate land treatment and drainage line treatment was completed by the Village Development Committee (VDC). The land treatment in the forest area was completed under the Joint Forest Management through Forest Protection Committee with the collaboration of forest department.
Formation of user’s group: Promoted common lift irrigation schemes for small groups of farmers on equitable water sharing basis.

Specify the objectives of the best practice

Reducing vulnerabilities of project villagers|Building response capacity|Managing climate risks by reducing drought impacts|Managing impacts of climate change

Section 3. Activities

Brief description of main activities, by objective

Enhancing of Climate information to be incorporated in to decisions to reduce negative effects on resources and livelihoods.
1. Building response capacities, skills, livelihood assets and infrastructure (physical, environmental and ecological) that facilitate adaptation and reduce poverty.
2. Promotion of climate proofing livelihood activities|
To enhance Adaptation activities focus on building robust systems for problem solving.
To enhance actions focus almost exclusively on addressing impacts associated with Climate change. Promotion of climate proofing livelihood activities

Short description and technical specifications of the technology

Wasundhara Approach
Watershed Development is the basis of this approach. It is simple Ridge-To-Valley approach that changes lives by reshaping landscapes and combating social injustices. The poorest people hold land on the ridges, where the land is the worst because it fails to collect water. We believe it is most just to uplift them first, and then move down toward the people in the valley who need help less urgently.|

Section 4. Institutions/actors involved (collaboration, participation, role of stakeholders)

Name and address of the institution developing the technology

Watershed Organisation Trust (WOTR)|2nd Floor, "The Forum" S. No. 63/B, Padmavati Corner
Pune- Satara Road
Pune - 411 009 (Maharashtra)

Was the technology developed in partnership?


Specify the framework within which the technology was promoted

  • Programme/project-based initiative
  • Other (please specify)

The whole approach was a combined(co-funded approach, filling in the needs from the different donor sources.

Was the participation of local stakeholders, including CSOs, fostered in the development of the technology?


List local stakeholders involved:

Local Village Development Committee (Satteaai Village Development Committee), comprising of 3 men and 4 women, which is a subcommittee of Gram Panchayat,
formed under Wasundhara Approach.|Sanyukta Mahila Samiti (SMS)|Watershed Organisation Trust|The Agricultural Department|Soil Conservation Department|Forest Department|Hivargaon Grampanchayat (local governance body)|Zilla Parishad (ZP)|Agricultural University: Mahatma Phule Krishi Vidyapeeth (MPKV)|Villagers|Government of Maharashtra|Funders: Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, Hong-Kong Singapore Banking Corporation (HSBC), Arghyam, Bangalore (funding Agency)|Funding Agency Andheri Hilfe, Bonn (AHB)

For the stakeholders listed above, specify their role in the design, introduction, use and maintenance of the technology, if any.

1. Local Village Development Committee: (Satteaai Village Watershed Committee) is the main actor and implementer of the project. The President and the members of the Village Watershed Committee were responsible for planning, implementation, supervision, monitoring and quality control of the project. The VDC was responsible for the organizing monthly regular meetings, community mobilization, conflict resolution within the village, and smooth implementation of the village developmental activities.
2. WOTR: facilitated the capacity building and implementation process by providing trainings and helping to mobilize the community. The technical and social mobilization support was provided by WOTR staff.
3. Agricultural Department: supported for the crop demonstrations by supplying new improved seeds and fertilizers.
4. Soil Conservation Department: constructed earthen dams and Continuous Contour Trenches for plantation on the waste lands.
5. Forest Department: The entire forest land of Sattechiwadi village was treated with various treatments (CCT, gully plugs, earthen plugs, reforestation, grass seeding, stone bunds etc.) under the supervision and technical guidance of
the forest department. The up lands belonging to the forest department were treated as per the ridge to valley principal by the Forest Protection Committee with the coordinated efforts with the forest department. The land treatment and plantation is being cared and maintained by the VDC and FPC. The ban on free grazing is observed by the village community. The VDC is responsible for the non- free grazing in the forest area.
6. Funders- Swiss Development Cooperation, New Delhi has provided financial support in the initial stage to implement the watershed works.
7. HSBC- has provided financial support mainly for the post watershed work, agricultural and livelihood activities
8. Arghyam-Bangalore- provided financial support for the implementation of the safe drinking water and sanitation facilities in the village. Therefore the village could achieve the open defecation free status.
9. Govt. of Maharashtra/GP: The underground piped drinking water supply scheme was completed under the state Government scheme by the GP.
10. Mahatma Phule Krishi Vidyapeeth (MPKV): provided technical guidance and support for the new varieties of the crops.
11. The village community is involved in joint consultation.|

Was the population living in the location and/or nearby involved in the development of the technology?



The entire village community was involved in the implementation of the project. Entire labor work was carried out by the village community. The land owned households contributed equivalent to 20% cost of the project in the form of free labor. Major decisions of the project were taken by Gramshabhas.


Section 5. Contribution to impact

Describe on-site impacts (the major two impacts by category)

Grass fodder which was available only for six months earlier, now is available throughout the year.|
Land Use and Agriculture:
Waste land has decreased by 82 % in post-project period.
Previously only 2 ha of land was perennially irrigated, which has gone up to 45 ha.Overall land use has increased by 85 %.|
Water Availability:
Before this project, all the wells were seasonal; now 18 of them have water available till end of June the next year. Water from Nallahs can be used till January, which otherwise used to go dry immediately after rainy season was over. Water tables have increased.|
Increase in per acre production (Quintals) of pearl millet and wheat from 5-6 Bags to 14-15 Bags.
Fuel wood, dung cake and kerosene were earlier used for lighting and cooking purposes and in order to meet this need trees had to be cut down but as a result of women’s initiative, All the households have solar lamps and 56 hot water Chula.|
Wasundhara approach created the necessary dynamics and incentives to the VDC, the Samyukta Mahila Samiti and the Panchayati Raj Institutions  to demonstrate a positive discrimination in the favor of the disadvantaged. Village Development Committee gives special attention to its poor.  |

Describe the major two off-site (i.e. not occurring in the location but in the surrounding areas) impacts

Convergence approach which was adopted for integrated village development and demonstrated successfully in Sattechiwadi village is now being spread to other WOTR project areas in its Climate Change Adaptation project.
The Wasundhara Approach has been adopted by WOTR in its all project areas which amount 357project, covering more than 243210 ha areas. Also ridge to valley approach as demonstrated by WOTR has been adopted by NABARD and Government of Maharashtra for their project areas.|

Impact on biodiversity and climate change

Explain the reasons:

1. Hot Water Chullahs (cooking stoves) used for cooking reduce fuel wood consumption by 50%, thus helps reducing carbon emissions and preserving carbon sinks.
2. WOTR works for mitigation through promotion practices. All efforts taken in Sattechiwadi leads to secure livelihoods of the community which are more climate resilient. The plantation work leads to mitigation.
3. Planted trees on the agricultural bunds have added into the biodiversity of the region. These trees also act as perching sites for the natural pest control-the birds. Controlled grazing has helped strengthening soil base. Providing livelihood options has minimized pressure on the surrounding ecosystem. Minimizing chemical fertilizers and more use of organic|

Has a cost-benefit analysis been carried out?

Has a cost-benefit analysis been carried out?


Section 6. Adoption and replicability

Was the technology disseminated/introduced to other locations?

Was the technology disseminated/introduced to other locations?



The Wasundhara Approach and Ridge to Valley approach for watershed development has been adopted by WOTR in its more than 357 project areas covering 243210 ha land, and 365320 population|

Can you identify the three main conditions that led to the success of the presented best practice/technology?

Addressing the issue of equitable distribution of benefits and involving community to distribute benefits to the poorest of the poor. And it is village’s better off who need to take concrete steps towards it.
Village envisioning helped villagers to see their future and design their own path for development of their village.
The local participation the key and hence awareness building and motivation is the only way out and hence best practice(s) mentioned above can be replicated if this is taken care of.
Wasundhara approach that led to local initiative to take up the activities. Participative nature of all the activities ensured the community’s continuous support throughout the project period and after the completion of the project also.


In your opinion, the best practice/technology you have proposed can be replicated, although with some level of adaptation, elsewhere?


At which level?
  • Local

Section 7. Lessons learned

Related to human resources

Along with the watershed development a lot of other measures were taken to nourish the human capital, one of them being women’s promotion, under which five Self Help Groups (SHGs) were formed. These groups act as forum of developmental and income generating activities for the women of the village. The apex body of such SHGs is known as Samyukta Mahila Samiti.|The members of the SHGs and SMS underwent a lot of trainings and awareness programs in aspects like concept of Self Help, roles and responsibilities of managing SHGs, social development activities, health and education for children etc. |The direct impact of empowered women is visible now. Almost every kid in Sattechiwadi goes to school, men don’t drink inordinately anymore and women are open enough to be a part of the discussions in Village Development Committee’s meetings and in the normal course of life.

Related to technical aspects

1. A systematic ridge to valley approach for watershed development is essential.
2. A detailed Participatory Net Planning is important because all structures that need to be put have to be site specific. If it’s not done with people nothing can be achieved.

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