Wells for India's Rajasthan Emergency Drought Relief Programme: An Update

Wells for India are providing support since October 2002 on a regular basis to over 10,235 most needy households, 57,700 people and 64,000 small animals (sheep and goats) located in 315 settlements in 105 scattered villages in 5 districts of Rajasthan state of India. All villages are receiving drinking water supplies, 36 food grain, 78 animal feed and fodder, and 36 are involved in cash and food for work programmes. Programme is implemented in close collaboration with Rajasthan state government departments and managed by 11 project implementation partners in the state

Wells for India is part of a European Commission Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO) Euro 3.0 million programme. This is providing desperately needed support to 4 districts of western Rajasthan: Jodhpur, Barmer, Jaisalmer and Bikaner, other Programme partners are Oxfam, Save the Children Fund, and Church Auxiliary for Social Action (CASA), Dan Church Aid (DCA), CARE and Action Aid. Total Wells for India supporters and ECHO contribution: =A3180,000 / Rs.1, 3600,000 / US$ 290,000

In Jodhpur, Barmer and Bikaner districts Wells for India in partnership with local agencies implementing two relief projects: one is funded through a grant from the ECHO, and the other is funded by donations from Wells for India supporters. Programmes includes Drinking Water Supply at the rate of 60 litres / family / day to 62 villages in Baap Block. Livestock Feed and Fodder Supplies to goat / sheep. Food and cash for work programmes in 11 villages, beneficiaries are desilting their village pond so as to reduce their vulnerability to future droughts as well as receiving wages in return for work they undertake.

While in Udaipur district Wells for India in collaboration with the Government of Rajasthan Relief Department is supporting a major drought relief project in 5 blocks of the district through 6 local partner organizations. The project targets 900 families in 16 most vulnerable and remote villages. Implementation of this project started in February 2003 and will continue through until the mid of July. The main activities being undertaken in return for cash and food for work are: loose stone check dam and masonry water harvesting structure construction. These structures not only provide immediate relief in terms of wages but will also help to mitigate drought condition in the villages on a long-term basis.

In Jaipur district Under the UKP 5,000 relief project, 11 most vulnerable villages have been receiving regular supplies of drinking water from October to June.

Apart from relief programme Wells for India is also supporting most vulnerable families by supplying Crop production input packs. Veterinary Camps and Medical Camps

Water and Feed For Work - New Dimensions to Drought Relief Programmes

This year a very innovate approaches to drought relief programmes was introduced by Wells for India Partner agencies. This approach is primarily based on Gandhi's principles of village self-reliance and sustainability, which stressed the need for a realization by the people that resources are limited and there is a need for judicious usage of its. Our partner organization dealing with drought relief programmes realize that traditional drought relief programme develops a dependency factor among the beneficiaries. Villagers see it's the responsibility of Government or Non-government institutions to provide relief such as water, food and fodder.

In Jaipur district Water for work programme was introduced by GSMI: Mr. Vivek Purohit, Project leader describes " The ongoing relief project is linked to an innovative approach: water for work. The concept is based on Gandhi's principle of self-reliance and sustainability. Wells for India and GSMI designed the conceptual framework based on the premise that water is a very precious commodity and not a free and infinite resource. The time has come for everyone to realize the importance of water and to act accordingly".

Water for work emphasizes the need to strengthening traditional systems of developing water resources in lieu of water supplied to the village. In the past people inherently developed and maintained their water resources without support from any outside organisation.

Wells for India and GSMI have had various meetings with the village development committee members and leaders. After a series of discussions village people were able to understand the importance of water and traditional systems. They agreed to do work in return for water supplied to their family / village / settlement. To begin with no tasks are agreed upon. It was only agreed that on a particular day (festivals or Sundays) all the village people must maintain and develop their water resources. In Dudu, people in 5 villages are successfully demonstrating this concept. They are working on community desilting of ponds. People from Khedisuva village, located 10 Km from Dudu sums up " Water for work programme will definitely help us to understand the growing importance of water that now water is not finite and time has come for people to harvest the water as much as they can. Water for work programme gives us a opportunity to understand the importance of it".

Similarly in Jodhpur district our Partner agency GRAVIS is helping people to understand the importance of self-reliance and sustainability. Mr. Roshan Lal, Programme in charge describes " Under Feed for Work beneficiaries work on community: desilting of ponds, water diversion bund, desilting of beries in ponds, and removing sand from roads so that drinking water can be easily delivered to settlements by tractor tanker; and individual projects: spreading organic manure in agriculture fields, taking measures to check soil erosion through high velocity winds, strengthening agriculture field fencing, repair of houses, digging pits/ preparing plot for planting fruit trees in home garden. Households owing 3-5 goats/ sheep need to complete 1,000 cu. ft. of earth work in 15 days and those own below 50 cu.ft in order to secure their feed.

For more information, contact:

Dr. Nicholas Grey, Director Wells for India,
The Winchester Centre, 68 St George's Street, Winchester SO23 8 AH, UK,


OP Sharma, Programme Manager,
Wells for India Programme Support Unit, 95, Panerion Ki Madri, Udaipur, Rajasthan, India
Tel + 91 294 2467311, 2464061, email :