The SM Sehgal Foundation hosted a conference to share good practices and challenges of rural development initiatives in Aurangabad, Maharashtra on December 16, 2021.
Government, business and NGOs have worked together to address development challenges in Aurangabad District, located in the heart of Maharashtra, also known for its world famous tourist and heritage sites. The district often makes the headlines due to frequent droughts, erratic rainfall and distress migrations. The low rainfall severely affects agriculture, which ultimately affects the income of families. These challenges can only be met through appropriate development initiatives around water, soil conservation and raising farmers’ awareness of appropriate agricultural practices.
The SM Sehgal Foundation has carried out a number of development initiatives in the blocks of Phulambari, Sillod and Paithan on improving the rainwater harvesting capacity of villages through increasing resources, creating facilities for better access to drinking water, transformation of schools, increase in agricultural productivity of farms through adoption of better agricultural practices and capacity building of communities to manage development initiatives . The conference brought together actors who shared their experiences given the geographic challenges, the solutions implemented and the impacts.
CSR representatives from various companies working in Aurangabad and Maharashtra, progressive farmers in the district, government officials, university professors and elected gram panchayat women spoke at the event. From the SM Sehgal Foundation, Anjali Makhija, COO, opened the event and shared the journey of the Foundation team in Aurangabad from 2018 to today and also dedicated a video presenting the impacts on the community. She noted, “Our trip so far to Aurangabad has only been possible with the support of partners, including government and business. We thank them for collaborating with us in this development process, working with communities to meet the most urgent needs of the region. The overall impacts in the district include 270 million liters of water savings, 1,500 farmers sensitized to agricultural practices, 200 villagers actively participate in village development, school management and water management committees for sustainability, 1,000 children in two schools have an improved learning environment, and 200 women leaders are now acting as change agents in their villages.
The thematic session on water management and local participation was moderated by Anjali Makhija. Speakers for the session included Vishnu Khedkar, Program Manager, Sehgal Foundation; Prafull More, Chief Associate Director, Godrej & Boyce Mfg. Co. Ltd; Deepak Lalwani, Regional Director, Mahindra & Mahindra Kirsh-e, Maharashtra; Shailesh Parte, CSR Manager, Canpack India Pvt. Ltd. ; Teacher. PM Shahapurkar, Assistant Professor, College of Social Work, Dr. BR AmbedkarMarathwada University, Aurangabad and sharing of experiences by villagers. The other session, on Agriculture Development, was moderated by Pooja O. Murada, Senior Officer, Outreach for Development, and presenters were Professor TulshidasBaliramBastewad, Dr AnnasahebShinde College of Agricultural Engineering & Technology, Mahatma PhuleKrishiVidyapeeth, Rahuri, Ahmednagar; TusharChavan, Subject Matter Specialist, Mahatma Gandhi Mission, KVK, Aurangabad; SumitPatil, Hytech India and sharing of experiences by farmers.
Dr VikasJha, Senior Manager, Local Participation and Sustainability, SM Sehgal Foundation, delivered the closing remarks. Also present at the event SubhransuBebarta, Manager, Project Development; and the implementation team in Aurangabad.
India RSE I December 16, 2021