Gender and social inclusion approach in watershed projects : Insights on gender norms and gender relations inParasai-Sindh watershed, India

A number of studies have demonstrated that the success of agricultural projects depends on the degree of participation by all stakeholders, gender-sensitivity and inclusion (Quisumbing et al. 2014). Alongside this, there is now an increased focus on understanding cultural and social norms in a given context for adoption of innovations. Such evidence is limited or lacking especially for watershed projects.. Against this background, this report examines gender norms and gender relations in an agricultural watershed project led by ICRISAT and CAFRI in the Parasai-Sindh watershed, Bundelkhand Region, Central India. The insights highlight the challenges and the opportunities in empowering communities through increased awareness and sensitivity of gender and social norms in a watershed project. The main objective of the ICRISAT-CAFRI community watershed project was to increase drought resilience of farming through groundwater recharge and agroforestry interventions. Three villages – Parasai, Chataarpurn and Bachauni – covering 1250 ha of land, having 210 households with a population of 1068 male and 850 female members, were selected as pilot sites for implementing watershed, agroforestry and social interventions. 63% of the geographical area of the watershed is agricultural land whereas the remaining 32% land is barren and scrub land used from grazing animals. Groundnut, black gram, sesame are dominant rainy season (Kharif) crops. Wheat and chickpea are mainly grown in post rainy (Rabi) season. Thus, cultivation of food crops, livestock rearing and sale of milk are the dominant livelihood options for the men and women in these villages…