Social Impact Assessment by AQWA for Watershed Development Projects

   A team of 4 students from AQWA, a reputed French Social Impact Assessment Agency performed a rigorous assessment of Kovilur and Nammiyampattu watershed development projects in Jawadhu Hills in January and February 2017. The objectives of the impact assessment were two fold – to better communicate about Hand in Hand India’s watershed initiatives to donors and to improve the projects’ processes and efficiency. The farmers’ economic situation, well-being and empowerment were assessed.

   Intermediary impacts of the study include improved economic situation through better access to water for crops, better soil quality and production quality, ability of crop diversification and use of organic fertilizers. The project has been crucial in empowering farmers through improving knowledge through trainings, good practice sharing and in the long term, there is potential for improved self-confidence and enhanced sense of ownership.

   The assessment highlights that some of the main advantages of the watershed project are better water storage capacity when it rains, improvement in soil quality, better revenues in the future and crop diversification. 98% of the target are keen on continuing to work with Hand in Hand India’s watershed project as they are convinced of the positive impact in the future. Since the project is highly dependent on rainfall, erratic rain patterns emerge as the main limitation.

   Hand in Hand India thanks the AQWA team for their in-depth meticulous study and assessment of the watershed projects. Their strategic recommendations and results will be useful for paving the way forward for Hand in Hand India’s natural resource management pillar!