Honeywell has announced its partnership with Watershed Organization Trust (WOTR) which focuses on replenishing rural water bodies, increasing the water table in the target areas and promoting livelihood opportunities for farmers and women. Honeywell, through the Honeywell Hometown Solutions India Foundation (HHSIF) will extend financial and volunteering support to WOTR through the course of the partnership. The partnership is also significant as this coincides with the World Water Day 2023 celebrations on March 22 that highlight the importance of fresh water and advocate the need for sustainable management of freshwater resources.
HHSIF’s partnership with WOTR aims to stabilize and enhance the productive capacity of the local ecosystem, through soil and water conservation. Alongside this, the project will also focus on promoting sustainable agriculture practices with agricultural diversifications as well as facilitating ma rket linages. Additionally, the partnership aims to improve the irrigation potential and coverage in project villages, assist in organizing Farmer Groups, set up Village Development Committees, and promote income generation activities for poor and vulnerable groups. The total number of beneficiaries of the project will be 47,525.
Speaking on the partnership, Ashish Modi, president, Honeywell India said “In India, biodiversity, soil health and water availability are under threat largely due to unsustainable land, water and agriculture management practices. Our partnership with WOTR will not only facilitate the development of sustainable agricultural practices but will also empower farmer collectives (such as FPOs), who play a crucial role in ecosystem restoration and management in the context of climate change. This project will therefore develop a methodology to sensitize them to this role and enable them to implement measures that build the adaptive capacities and resilience of communities to climate change as well as protect and conserve the ecosystems (and biodiversity) they live in, and draw upon for sustenance and livelihoods. “
The partnership consists of implementation and knowledge components. The implementation component will be based on community participation where local communities are organized to plan and implement the project interventions related to natural resource management, climate-resilient agriculture, sustainable livelihoods, and participatory governance. This will be implemented in a cluster of 10 villages from Manchal block of Rangareddy district in Telangana and 3 villages from Gauribinanur block of Chikkabalapura district of Karnataka. In Telangana, project will be initiated in Year-1 and continued till year-3 and in Karnataka, project implementation will begin in year-2.
The knowledge component will be piloted in 3 villages in Maharashtra and Telangana where farmers’ collectives will be guided and facilitated by the WOTR team to follow an Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EBA) approach. It will be anchored and executed by the WOTR Centre for Resilience Studies (W-CReS). The EBA approach once piloted, will be developed into an adaptable model that can be scaled up to other arid and semi-arid regions of the country.
Prakash Keskar, Executive Director, WOTR said “WOTR aims to tackle key causes of rural poverty by rejuvenating ecosystems and building the community’s resilience to climate change. Through this partnership, we want to enhance the availability of water, increase the productivity of land and agriculture, diversify livelihoods, empower women, and strengthen the health and well-being of vulnerable rural communities in our target locations.”
The project aims to facilitate soil conservation and water conservation on 840 ha, set up 130 water harvesting structures in the proposed villages, enable Farmer groups in 13 villages, provide water-saving devices to 130 farmers and enable at least 50% of the target farmers to adopt eco-friendly agricultural practices. Additionally, the partnership aims to set up 36 health camps and introduce many drudgery reduction activities for women.