The Rajiv Gandhi Foundation will now focus its energies towards achieving systemic and social change through Education. Other programs will continue as Development Support Initiatives. Natural Resource Management is the flagship livelihood promotion programme of the Foundation directly implemented in the remote villages of Rajasthan. The programme is implemented on the principle that because of water scarcity and growing competition large swathes of rural communities are pushed towards impoverishment and could threaten equitable and sustainable development, ecological balance and political stability. The increasing gap between the water availability and demand highlights the need to conserve, utilize and manage this important resource in a sustainable manner.GEOGRAPHICAL COVERAGEFoundation started its NRM interventions in the remote areas of the Rajasthan state covering backward villages of Jaipur, Pali and Karoli district.
The project area was selected on the basis of the poor conditions of the natural resources and willingness of the partner community to participate in the programme.The extreme economic backwardness of the region may be attributed in some measure directly to environmental degradation arising from lack of appropriate planning and poor developmental interventions.The natural resources in the region are in poor conditions because the geographic location does not support the abundant rainfall, poor quality and excessive depth of ground water, absence of Perennial River, open scrub forests and huge withdrawal from limited ground water.AREA OF INTERVENTIONSThe major focus of the programme is on augmenting village water resources, for increased availability of water. The core value of the programme is to incorporate strong participation of the community at every stage of implementation. Most of the interventions and project investments are made for improving the livelihood conditions of the partner community and increasing options for food security. In order to ensure sustainability and prolonged existence of the created structures village institutions are formed and capacitated for taking up desired measures.
Livelihood Promotion through rain water harvesting programmeWater harvesting Programme is RGF's only directly implemented initiative under its livelihood promotion portfolio. Livelihood options are generated through creation of water harvesting structures, initiating watershed activities, adopting and inculcating improved agriculture practices.The most pronounced benefit from the water harvesting structures has been in agriculture productivity. Because of water availability in wells and tube wells farmers have therefore been able to provide more irrigation to their crops which has led to increase in productivity, switch to more remunerative crops and increased net area under cultivation.To ensure that the communities have an ongoing stake in the assets being created, it is ensured that a minimum of 33 percent of the total expenditure would be borne by the community for works carried out on common lands whereas for individual and small user groups the contribution has been fixed at 50 percent or more.Also, Rajiv Gandhi Foundation endeavours to create access for the largest number of children to an education that encourages curiosity, independent thinking and open-mindedness, enables each child to live by the values of integrity, equality and humanity and equips each child to realize his/her full potential.