Watershed Organization Trust announces its Clinton Global Initiative commitment

NEW YORK, NY, Sept. 25, 2009 -- At the Clinton Global Initiative's Fifth Annual meeting today, Wesley Clark announced the commitment of Watershed Organization Trust (WOTR), India, to the expansion of its successful participatory integrated watershed development approach to Kenya and Tanzania...

• Commitment to expand participatory integrated watershed development that adapts to climate change in Tanzania and Kenya

NEW YORK, NY, Sept. 25, 2009 -- At the Clinton Global Initiative's Fifth Annual meeting today, Wesley Clark announced the commitment of Watershed Organization Trust (WOTR), India, to the expansion of its successful participatory integrated watershed development approach to Kenya and Tanzania.

Water scarcity forces people to migrate in distress to escape hunger. Water scarcity is closely linked to ill health due to lack of safe drinking water and sanitation. "Yet, water scarcity and land degradation can be prime movers for villages to come together to regenerate and protect the environment and to improve their economic conditions," says Marcella D'Souza, executive director of WOTR, talking from their experience in some 900 villages in 600 micro watersheds (covering over 1,400,000 acres) in 4 states in India.

WOTR will develop and test adaptable models and strategies for large scale implementation that will address poverty through the regeneration of the degraded micro-watersheds, the in-situ harvesting of rain water and the promotion of appropriate agricultural practices to improve water availability and food security. Together with local partners, during the next five years WOTR will develop and test these models in four villages (two each in Kenya and Tanzania). In addition to expanding to Kenya and Tanzania, WOTR will continue its effort in India. WOTR is seeking funding partners to support its implementation for its Africa project.

WOTR has developed a capacity building pedagogy and various tools for assisting village development committees and NGOs to successfully implement integrated watershed development, which have been adopted in several major watershed development programs in India. In the last few years, WOTR has conducted 11 international training programs for over 200 participants from various countries. The participants have remarked that similar approaches could well be adapted for their countries. Between 2005 and 2007 WOTR successfully tested its approach in an International Fund for Agriculture and Development (IFAD) supported project in remote Somaliland. The impacts were documented by Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in SWALIM 21st June 2007(www.faoswalim.org).

Besides reaching out to Kenya and Tanzania in this CGI commitment, WOTR's efforts in India will continue.

To begin with a $1 million fund is required to set up the pilot project in 4 villages in the two countries, following which, the success will attract in more funds for its expansion.

About Watershed Organization Trust (WOTR)
WOTR is a capacity building agency for integrated participatory watershed and community development. Located in India, WOTR was the key partner responsible for developing the Capacity Building pedagogy for the Indo-German Watershed Development Program, and the NABARD supported Watershed Development Fund that is being implemented in 14 states of India, and has also worked closely with government programs. In this function WOTR has supported over 184 NGOs.

In its capacity as a training institute, WOTR has had over 174,000 Indian participants since 2001 and over 200 participants from other countries. Keeping an ear to the ground, WOTR continues to adapt its strategies and develop new models to respond better to the changing context and to new situations. WOTR won the Kyoto World Water Grand Prize at the World Water Forum for its WASUNDHARA Approach -- an innovative strategy for community participation. Today, WOTR is working on another required strategy 'Climate Proofing for Poverty Alleviation." For more information www.wotr.org

Soon to be set up is the American Friends of WOTR

About the Clinton Global initiative (CGI):
Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) convenes global leaders to devise and implement innovative solutions to some of the world's most pressing challenges. Since 2005, CGI Annual Meetings have brought together more than 100 current and former heads of state, 14 Nobel Peace Prize laureates, hundreds of leading CEOs, heads of foundations, major philanthropists, directors of the most effective nongovernmental organizations, and prominent members of the media. These CGI members have made more than 1,400 commitments valued at $46 billion, which have already improved the lives of 200 million people in 150 countries. Commitments made at the 2008 Annual Meeting are expected to affect almost 160 million people. The CGI community also includes CGI University (CGI U), a forum to engage college students in global citizenship; and MyCommitment.org, an online portal where anybody can make their own Commitment to Action. CGI will hold its Fifth Annual Meeting September 22-25, 2009, in New York City. For more information, visit www.clintonglobalinitiative.org.

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