A community member from Ghodabadi, India works to prepare the field for planting.

It’s a dirty job, and everyone’s happy to do it — community-led teams in Ghodabadi, India worked together at every stage of their irrigation project.

Earlier this summer, teams in Ghodabadi, India implemented a brand-new irrigation system for their fields. Previously, Ghodabadi lacked any connection between the land they use to cultivate crops and the two small rivers that encircle their village. This made the community dependent on seasonal, monsoon-powered rains to nurture their crops. Unfortunately, these rains don’t always show up when they’re needed. Because they could not manually irrigate their crops, yields could vary wildly year to year. Consequently, this made the prospect of farmers earning a reliable level of household income each season impossible to predict.

Too Much Down-Time

This lack of irrigation in Ghodabadi meant that harvests only came once a year.  Farmers would spend a few months planting, cultivating and harvesting. Then, if rains came as predicted, they’d spend the rest of their time idling at home. This is because they’d have no more work to do, and no opportunities until monsoon season returned the next year.

A community member from Ghodabadi, India tends to their garden as the new irrigation system does its job.

Another member of Ghodabadi’s community-led team monitors water levels as their new irrigation system “springs” to life.

So, the Outreach field staff stepped in to facilitate development. Ghodabadi’s community-led team worked together to access the funding and resources they needed to quench their fields’ thirst. Over the span of a few months, community members met to discuss the issue and consider all possible solutions. From there, they identified a government office that could provide the grant money. This covered the material costs for a new irrigation system. They also worked together to draft a request letter, role-play among themselves to prepare for an in-person visit to the office by local leaders. The group then collected contributions from other team members to cover their travel costs. Their preparation paid off, and their request was approved after two follow-up visits.

Electric motors in the “power house”

They installed electric motors near one of the rivers surrounding their village to draw water into a system of pipes. This bridges the gap between the riverbanks and their shared plot of land. Consequently, it allowed Ghodabadi’s farmers to work year-round for the first time in their community’s history! More than half of Ghodabadi’s residents are direct beneficiaries of this project, with the other half benefitting indirectly. Thanks to the economic impact that comes with a sustainable level of income, the community more than doubled their previous annual earnings.

Sunflowers grown by Ghodabadi community members in India

Thanks to the work of community-led teams in Ghodabadi, this field of sunflowers now occupies what was once a barren field.

Additionally, the community appointed leaders to manage the project’s ongoing upkeep. They elected a president, secretary and treasurer to oversee maintenance duties, as well as tending to the community’s new group savings account. They named their account the “Ghodabadi Irrigation Committee,” at a local bank, to sustain the project for years to come.

Fields of Expertise

It’s a big deal for everyone in Ghodabadi. Sangana, a member of the community-led team in Ghodabadi told us in his own words. “My father and grandfather dreamt for this facility, but failed to experience this system of cultivation in their lifetimes. Today, we have this project because of the unity among our village’s people. One person cannot do anything for the community. But when all village people join together for any issue and mobilize, that issue will be resolved.”

How to Help

Outreach’s community-led teams do more than merely getting things done — what’s fixed stays fixed, and whatever needs attention will get it. Issues don’t stand a chance against a motivated, empowered team of Outreach’s community partners. You can have a direct role projects like this and many others in Outreach-affiliated communities around the globe. 100% of all donations to Outreach directly support our work in the field worldwide. Your gifts change lives. Give now, feel great forever.