Forging ties
CSE and RELMA join hands to
promote RWH in Asia and Africa

In March 2003, two members of Regional Land Management Unit (RELMA), a Nairobi-based international organisation, travelled to Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan to experience community-led water works. This visit by Maimbo Malesu, regional coordinator and Paito Obote, program officer, marked a new beginning. CSE and RELMA have entered into a partnership - ‘Green water harvester’s network’ to spread awareness about the potential of rainwater harvesting practices (RWH) in Africa and south Asia.

The 18 nations forming this network are: Kenya,Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Rwanda, Somaliland, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Botswana, South Africa, India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Bhutan. While working together, CSE will focus on the south Asian region while RELMA will cover eastern and southern Africa. Global Water Partnership, an international organisation, is funding this project, which gives both CSE and RELMA an added advantage to share and learn from the experiences of other international actors.

click hereObote and Malesu’s journey began with the Rain Centre, Chennai, where they got a thorough orientation on RWH. Malesu found the centre to be ‘meticulously planned for the visitors’. The linkages drawn between the national and local water scenario in the panels, and the presence of a technical expert was admired. Later in the day, the visitors went to see the 600 year old temple tank located at Pammal, 20 km south west of Chennai. An interaction with the locals about the revival efforts amazed the guests. Obote said, "It is rare to find initiatives like these in urban areas". Village Thalambedu was the next stop. This visit looked at the tank management efforts of a Madurai-based NGO,Dhan Foundation. Neerkattis (water managers) shared their age-old water management practices with them.

Ralegaon Siddhi in Maharashtra acquainted the guests with the instrumental role of watersheds in ushering a new life in rural India. Hardevsinh Jadeja, the ex-sarpanch and the initiator of the water works in village Raj Samadhiyala. This village has enough water to irrigate, despite years of water scarcity. Impressed by Jadeja’s work, Malesu invited him to visit Africa. Laporiya in Rajasthan was the last stop, where Laxman Singh, the dynamic local leader has developed a unique system — chauka (dykes) for managing pastures and water.This visit has paved the way to share and replicate experiences in both the continents.

For further information:
Sumita Dasgupta at
Maimbo M Malesu at

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