The WISE-Foundation
Our Mission: To improve people's lives by providing the knowledge and means by which they can become more independent and self sufficient.
Yogesh M. & Bella Y. Patel



Gujarat Project:  The tribal population of East Gujarat is one of the poorest in the country and is characterized by a rolling and rocky countryside. Our Foundation working through ARCH has provided 40 villages consisting of about 400 families with grants to clear their land build a tiering system that will allow for water conservation. The grant will also enable the farmers to purchase seed and ferterlizer that can be used to increase their crop yields.  This tiering method of farming will enable the farmers to make better use of the land and scarce water resources by preventing runoff and soil erosion.

In return for accepting the grant, the tribal families have agreed to educate the girls and women in the family to at least a 6th grade level.  UN studies have shown that when the women of the household receive at least a 6th grade education, the families of those women tend to break the poverty cycle.  The pictures illustrated below are from the 1st year of the 5 year project.

The links to subsequent years are:
       
As you can see from these images, the countryside is steep and there has been considerable erosion of the topsoil.

 


   
        

The picture on the left shows the initial construction of an earthen and stone wall designed to contain water runoff by tiering the farmers fields.  The picture on the right shows a completed wall.    



Dr Anil Patel and Bella Patel inspecting the progress of the earthen dam project in Dariapada, December 2009.



Village Tribal women during the construction phase of the check dams.  The local farmers have partnered with the Patels by donating half of the overall labor to transporting materials (stones and earth) to the check dams.
 



The first crop of sesame seeds after the completion of a pilot check dam.




Tribal women listening intently as Bella Patel explains that they will manage the income generated by the crops as United Nations studies indicate that households managed by women are less likely to experience poverty.



Dr Anil Patel, Yogesh and Bella Patel and Truptiben fielding questions from the villagers.


  

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