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Women for water

As farmers, community professionals and entrepreneurs, women are first adopters of solutions that transform water conservation efforts and judicious use of water. India's 100 million women farmers are key to solving the country's water crisis.

What will women for water do?

Women for water is a platform to raise visibility and generate evidence around the role that women play in solving India’s water and farm crisis. It aims to make collaborative and targeted investments for women in pivotal roles across the water-agriculture chain.

Women for water will focus on three core investment areas.

First Mile Para professionals

Amplify the role of women as 'First Mile' para-professionals

  • Build and capacitate large cadres of women para-professionals
  • Evangelise adoption of digital tools and content to drive action
Women stood near sign

Mainstream women's leadership in water governance

  • Advocate for women’s leadership in water resource planning, implementation and governance
  • Establish evidence to advocate for larger allocations for women-led initiatives
Women harvesting produce

Equip women farmers to transition from adversity to abundance

  • Equip women farmers to overcome barriers of knowledge, resources, and markets
  • Promote agriculture and allied activities as a viable enterprise for women farmers

Women water leaders who inspire us


Woman sat amongst crops

Yelamma, age 40

A landless migrant farm worker from Karnataka, Yelamma started working as a labourer when she was just 8 years old. Her farm experience over the years has made her a much sought after farm leader, today. She has banded together a group of labourers, who are in high demand as they offer higher productivity on a per day effort basis compared to other options.

Woman kneeling in front of canes

Priya Sharma, age 40

Priya from Uttar Pradesh, battled patriarchy to convince her family to adopt newer farming techniques and let her manage the farm. Today, she is known as a progressive farmer and is routinely invited to train others.

Community leaders

Woman stood surrounded by crops

K Selvi, age 35

Selvi from Tamil Nadu is a small holder farmer. Water for crops was a perennial problem for poor farmers like her, as the rich did not allow them access to the community village well. Selvi and her Self Help Group (SHG) worked with the district administration to remove encroachments on the well and grant them uninterrupted access to the same.

Woman sat outside home

Madhuben, age 62

Hailing from Gujarat, Madhuben lived with water scarcity throughout her life. She wanted to ensure that her grandchildren do not have to live with the same scarcity and that they get a better quality of life than she did. She joined an organisation in 2004 and with their help, she mobilised women farmers to petition the administration to improve water availability in the village canal. She also promoted vermicomposting as a sustainable and water conserving agriculture practice.

Community volunteers

Young woman, smiling

Neetu Singh, age 24

Neetu from Uttar Pradesh is the daughter of an ASHA worker. She became the first woman in her village to gain a Bachelor’s Degree. She chose to use her education to help solve water and related issues in her village and thus got trained as a Community Resource Person to help manage the twin (and inter-related) problems of water and women’s empowerment. She has been awarded by the Chief Minister for her stellar work.

Woman holing straw bale

Lilabati Mahato, age 29

Lilabato, from Dalkati, West Bengal, got married at 16, and endured a life of poverty and hardships. However, she learnt about new farming techniques that save water and soon became a trainer for other farmers in her village. She also inspired women collectively demand the panchayat to build a pond in their village.

Women In leadership

Woman stood in front of landscape

Hemalatha Reddy, 39

Hemalatha from Andhra Pradesh quit her corporate career to help rural communities overcome the water crisis. She conducts simulation games in villages to help farmers learn how their crop choices impacts water availability in the future. She engages with them and nudges them to take collective action. She has impacted the lives of over 1000 farmers in drought prone regions over last 4 years.

Woman stood in front of marble wall

Akta Singh , age 39

Akta from Uttar Pradesh set up PARAS, a non-profit foundation to help battle the discrimination women faced in an orthodox society. PARAS works on women’s issues and with women farmers in the deeply feudal region of Eastern Uttar Pradesh. Her foundation works with farmers and trains them in water management techniques and helps them reduce their irrigation costs. She has worked with over 4000 farmers, out of which 3000 are women.

Read more about the women who have championed the cause of water in their regions: women for water book (PDF 22.28 MB).

Contact us to join the women for water platform.

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