eMag by SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT
The SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT INITIATIVES Fund is supporting Rain Drop, an organisation working with rural populations in India. Its aim is to raise people’s awareness of and to teach them new, more sustainable ways of managing their resources. We take a closer look at its work.
Founded four years ago, this organisation provides support to villagers from the lower castes in India, by helping them to secure access to water and by developing more sustainable ways of managing their resources, particularly in agriculture. To address the issues of increasingly long periods of drought and the unpredictable monsoon season, Rain Drop builds water retention reservoirs, from which families can draw water all year long, and plants trees to replenish water tables.
Together with these villagers, Rain Drop has set up projects that combine the efficiency of traditional methods, such as dikes and dams, with modern ones, such as drip irrigation and sprinklers, to provide more economical irrigation and, more generally, to manage water in a sustainable way. Awareness sessions delivered by experts enable the local people to master techniques previously unknown to them, such as SRI (System of Rice Intensification) or SCI (System of Crop Intensification). Both these techniques are based on the principle of increasing agricultural production, using fewer seeds, less water and fewer pesticides. Although they were originally designed for rice production, they can be easily adapted to other vegetable or cereal crops.
One of Rain Drop’s main aims is to promote female independence. This is achieved by providing training in areas that can provide them with a source of income. This is how the women in the village of Kitahaï became the first to undertake a jam-making course. Very soon, they were able to sell their products at the local market.
The projects launched and implemented by Rain Drop aim to help these vulnerable people, but they also seek to educate them: teaching villagers to master tools and techniques that will enable them to develop income-generating businesses and to manage them independently. And so, it is not the organisation that decides on the techniques to be used, but the villagers who choose the solutions that best suit their needs. They are, therefore, fully involved from the outset, which is the underlying secret of success for these projects.