1985 : TARUN BHARAT SANGH (TBS), a non government organization starts to bring people together on the issues of management of forests and water resources.
Water security, Conservation of forests and wildlife are closely interlinked. One cannot be separated from another.Tarun Bharat Sangh triggered off the process by building one Johad (a pond like water structure). Johads serve to recharge ground water and as drinking water for the wildlife and cattle of the area
1985: Very few people are motivated enough to work together in common interest.
Bringing People Together...
Success of the first Johad inspired people to take up the building of more such structures – the connection between water and forests was made and this alsoled to the revival of traditional rules.
In the past, forest ownership had been taken over by the Forest Department, leading to alienation of the people and loss of traditions of conservation – making it difficult to bring people together again.
1995: It is difficult to keep people away from working for the common cause.
The TBS as an organisation was set up in 1974 in the University campus of Jaipur and had been working for combating disaster situations for the last 15 years in rural Rajasthan. TBS identified water as the main problem in rural India in 1985 and concluded that without augmenting water as a resource, no effective development could take place. For rapid progress, they have to rediscover traditional methods of rain water harvesting. Co-ordination of all the work will be done by this organisation, Tarun Bharat Sangh.
Since then over 4000 water harvesting structures have been built by the local people with the support arranged by the TBS. A geographical area of 6500 sq.kms comprising 750 villages has been turned into "white zone" from "Dark zone" over the years. Water harvesting has been instrumental in reducing the ill effects of drought as well as floods. TBS has won several awards over the years for this work. One of the villages BHAONTA received an award of Rs.1 lakh, from the President of India, when he visited this area on 27th March this year.
At least 5 rivulets which were dry during the last 50 years have become perennials. Other areas where TBS has done very effective work are:
The objectives of TBS
The major aims that drive TBS are:
Initially TBS's work was on crisis management coupled with sensitization of villagers with TBS as a catalyst. Gradually it settled down to a system of problem response activities, and then Gram sabhas having stabilized, it began planning on futuristic basis, evolving out of the needs of the communities.
Thier way of doing things is by business management, tempering with a little humane approach. The members of TBS are scattered in the field leading simple life with the villages, so that they are one with them in their day to day problems and help them in finding indigenous solutions.
The strategies used by TBS
The TBS strengthened by constant contact with the villagers around Bhikampura began to evolve a method of working with the people. Their strategy gradually crystallizes into five themes.
The first was the effort to be a collective one from the villagers in which all would benefit.
The second was that this collective wisdom could be conceived in an atmosphere where informal communication took place.
The third was that all decisions would be strictly enforced.
The fourth was that each person in the collective community would be individually responsible to carry out the tasks.
The fifth was that the community would only use outside help as a catalyst for their guidance.
After discussions with the villagers, they found that they could provide most of the materials required, except technical help. TBS always insisted that in some way or another, the community would have to bear at least 25 percent of the cost of repair, and after they worked out the benefits, the community would always agree.
The Johad as the pivot of development
TBS had done a great deal of spade work before deciding upon the water management system which was an important solution to the economic problems of the community.
The first step for TBS was creating awareness through informal meetings and the people's observations that the johads had gone out of use, and the villagers needed to take some action. They created an awareness, creation among the villagers, explained them all the pros and cons, before any johad building could be undertaken.