There is an urgent need to create mechanisms to empower widows in Yavatmal and Vidarbha, and give them the support they need to pick up the pieces of their lives and move forward. However, such initiatives are rare. One of the few such projects for the welfare of the helpless women is run by Watershed Organisation Trust (WOTR) and its sister organization Sampada Trust.
The WOTR Centre for Resilience Studies (W-CReS)
On the 20th of December 2016, WOTR established the WOTR Centre for Resilience Studies (W-CReS). W-CReS is the realisation of a dream that inspired the setting up in WOTR of a unit for knowledge and applied research in 2010.
India is among those countries expected to be greatly and mostly negatively affected by Climate Change. The overall impacts of climate change on ecosystems, water, agriculture, forests, wet lands and grasslands are expected to be adverse, further exacerbating existing problems. In an economy where over 60% of its population - a large number of whom are poor - depends on agriculture and nature-based enterprises for a living, this presents a multi-dimensional challenge to growing and sustaining India’s economy that is both inclusive and nature friendly.
There exist considerable knowledge gaps in understanding vulnerability especially arising from climate change and socio-economic developments and identifying suitable pathways that can build resilience. And there is an urgent need for developing and implementing science-and-evidence based risk mitigation and adaptation policies and strategies.
While some of the existing research centres have high degrees of technical capacities, they are to a large extent top down and technocratic and are often unable to bridge the “implementation gap”. Agencies with strong grassroots presence – such as civil society organizations - are ideally placed to strengthen the adaptive capacities of communities and contribute to the formulation of realistic policies and effective action; but they often lack the technical knowledge and skill sets required for this purpose.
This is the raison d’etre of the W-CReS - to bridge some of the gaps between science, policy and practice and promote multi-stakeholder collaboration at all levels.
Goal and Thematic Areas of Engagement:
Specifically, W-CReS’s Overall Goal is to conduct rigorous trans-disciplinary, applied research with a view to contributing grounded insights and learnings to policy formulation, program design and implementation, capacity building and behavioural change processes.
The objective is to promote adaptive responses and mitigate the impacts of climate change on ecosystems, water resources, agriculture, food and nutrition, health, livelihoods, gender, governance and local institutions. These themes will be the core focus of its enquiry and study.
W-CReS is engaged in:
(1) Three large-scale, collaborative applied research projects, namely:
(a) “Adaptation at Scale in Semi-Arid Regions“ (ASSAR) in Africa and India which is funded by the IDRC-DfID;
(b) Studies to assess and address the impacts of climatic and non-climatic drivers in rain-fed landscapes in Maharashtra and Telangana, funded by the HUF;
(c) “Soil Conservation and Rehabilitation of Degraded Lands for Food security in India”, funded by the GIZ.
(2) Capacity building, Training and Knowledge Sharing Events for policy makers, government officials, knowledge workers, development practitioners, donors, local leaders and communities;
(3) Piloting innovative, scalable, and knowledge-intensive projects such as:
(i) The Water Stewardship and Multi- Stakeholder Engagement Initiative which seeks to develop actionable Water Stewardship Plans at the village and cluster levels, involving the governance, developmental and administrative entities up to the state level;
(ii) Farmer-Centric Agro-meteorology, in partnership with government entities, to automate the process of generating weather- based crop advisories that are farmer and locale specific.
W-CReS gratefully acknowledges the generous support received from the Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC) and the Hindustan Unilever Foundation (HUF) that has made possible its establishment.