Describe the contribution of Tarun Bhart Sangh (TBS) to watershed development in rural area

Tarun Bharat Sangh (TBS), founded by Rajendra Singh in 1975, is a non-governmental organization based in Rajasthan, India, known for its significant contribution to watershed development in rural areas.

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TBS has pioneered the concept of water conservation and revitalization of traditional water harvesting structures, such as johads (small earthen dams) and anicuts (check dams), to address water scarcity and ecological degradation in arid and semi-arid regions. Here are some key contributions of TBS to watershed development:

  1. Water Conservation and Rejuvenation: TBS has played a pivotal role in promoting water conservation and rejuvenation of traditional water bodies in rural areas. By reviving and building small-scale water harvesting structures, they have contributed to the recharge of groundwater, increased water availability for agriculture and domestic use, and improved overall water security in the region.
  2. Community Participation and Empowerment: TBS has focused on mobilizing and empowering local communities to actively participate in watershed development initiatives. They have promoted the concept of “people-led development,” involving villagers in planning, implementation, and management of water conservation projects. Through community engagement and capacity building, TBS has empowered rural communities to take ownership of their natural resources and sustainably manage them.
  3. Reforestation and Biodiversity Conservation: TBS recognizes the crucial link between forests, water, and sustainable livelihoods. They have implemented afforestation and reforestation programs to restore degraded lands and conserve biodiversity. By promoting the planting of indigenous trees and sustainable land management practices, TBS has contributed to soil conservation, improved microclimate, and enhanced ecological balance in the region.
  4. Integrated Watershed Management: TBS adopts an integrated approach to watershed management, considering the interrelationships between various components such as soil, water, vegetation, and livelihoods. They implement soil and water conservation measures, promote organic farming practices, and encourage agroforestry to enhance the overall resilience and productivity of the land. This holistic approach has yielded positive results in terms of increased agricultural productivity and improved livelihoods for rural communities.
  5. Policy Advocacy and Replication: TBS has been actively involved in policy advocacy and knowledge dissemination related to watershed development. They have shared their successful experiences and best practices with government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and other stakeholders, advocating for the replication of their model in different regions. Their efforts have contributed to the mainstreaming of watershed development approaches in government policies and programs.
  6. Awards and Recognition: The work of TBS in watershed development has gained national and international recognition. Rajendra Singh, the founder of TBS, received the Ramon Magsaysay Award (also known as the Asian Nobel Prize) in 2001 for his pioneering efforts in water harvesting and community-led initiatives. The success of TBS has inspired and influenced many other organizations and individuals to adopt similar approaches to address water scarcity and rural development challenges.

The contributions of Tarun Bharat Sangh (TBS) in watershed development demonstrate the potential for community-led initiatives to address water scarcity, revive traditional water management practices, and promote sustainable livelihoods in rural areas. Their work serves as a model for integrated and participatory approaches to watershed management, inspiring similar initiatives across India and beyond.

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