The article written by Eshwer Kale and Marcella D’Souza was published in the compendium ‘Water Conservation and Saving in Agriculture: Initiatives, Achievements and Challenges in Maharashtra’ by Water Resources Department (WRD) Government of Maharashtra.
WOTR CoDriVE - Visual Integrator
Generally rural communities are left out of development planning as they are considered unable to project their views and needs with a long term vision. Development workers, however, are aware that without the active participation of the local community, sustainability cannot be achieved. Hence, it is best to engage the local inhabitants at the onset, with planning. The gap lies in the ability of the rural inhabitants to communicate their views. To be fruitful, effective communication between the three main players i.e., the local communities, project facilitators, and relevant governmental bodies is the most important requirement. Each player may seem correct in their respective sphere. However, when seen in the totality of the context, the chips may not add up. These discrepancies and differences may be due to reasons like: The information supplied on the social, economic, physical/spatial and ethnic structures in a cluster of villages, may be interpreted differently by the various stakeholders. Given our legendary diversity and existing disparities, interest holders are likely to deduce and respond in ways most suited to current personal interests. At times this may run counter to the interests of other stakeholders, to natural justice, and even future generations. Participatory mapping (as in PRA) is a commonly used tool in rural development, for communicating indigenous spatial knowledge. Though these convey local human relationships with the surrounding landscape, they often lack a precise geo-location and/or consistent scaling that makes them useful only for temporary, localised purposes. Hence, PRA is not usually acknowledged by research scientists or governments as “credible” spatial information, due to which rural communities get excluded from decision-making processes. This in turn, has a direct bearing on the development and management of the local landscapes and resources. Enter “Participatory Three-Dimensional Modelling (P3DM)” – a methodology derived through constructing and demarcating geo-referenced, scaled relief models, that displays indigenous knowledge in a way that is meaningful not only for policymakers and academics but to the communities themselves. P3DM, now adapted and presented as CoDriVE – Visual Integrator (CoDriVE - VI) was conceived in the late 1980s in Thailand.