Five years ago, Banudas Sarak cultivated his barren farmland, producing a single crop just once a year. By 2015, his crops multiplied, yielding 12 months of work and an additional $8,000 in annual income.
He is one of many near Phaltan, India whose lives have improved significantly because of Cummins India’s “Model Villages” program.
“I am thankful to Cummins for showing the way,” Sarak said. “There is no looking back.”
When the Cummins India Megasite opened in 2011, it was equipped with all the latest technology. Nearby villages, however, lacked many of life’s basics, including water, hygiene, agriculture and education. To address those needs, Cummins employees partnered with area residents shortly after the Cummins campus opened and, together, built a strategy for sustainable growth.
The Model Villages program started in Nandal, which receives just two inches of rainfall per year on average. Such droughts led employees and villagers to create wells and a small barrier sometimes called a “check dam” to preserve monsoon rains.
They also built drip-irrigation systems to water crops in a way that conserves water, and education classes to improve farming techniques. Sarak was one of the farmers who attended.
Three years later, Nandal has harvested 43.6 million liters of water. Cummins India teams replicated the dams and wells in six more villages in 2015.
“Once, the villages around the Megasite were dependant on water tankers during summer, and today they are almost tanker-free,” said Sunil G. Bathe, the project leader for Cummins of the Model Villages effort. “Water availability has brought new meaning to farmers’ lives – a simple solution for a major crisis.”
Seven miles away in Mulikwadi, 30 percent of farmers live below the poverty line. To aid their livelihoods, a check dam was completed in 2015, bringing higher water levels to eight wells and adding 70 more acres of cultivated farmland. And just as in Nandal, Cummins employees followed their agricultural assistance with education initiatives.
Only 77 percent of children had attended school in Mulikwadi. To encourage higher enrollment, in 2015, Cummins employees upgraded a nearby school’s roof and bathrooms and incorporated e-learning software with the government-approved curriculum.
Meanwhile, in the village of Manjarsumba, Cummins employees installed 45 biogas stations that run on cow manure, reducing deadly indoor air pollution from burning wood. In the Nimgaon Bogi village, two check dams were completed, harvesting about 3.6 million gallons of water.
Employees in Rajoda built on their 2014 water efforts by constructing a pedestrian bridge to give village students a safer pathway to school. And in Karwasa in 2015, Cummins’ village partnership de-silted two ponds, resulting in the harvesting of 1.57 million gallons of water.
In 2016, those villages will continue the model launched in Nandal: moving their efforts indoors to schools, with a focus on assisting teachers, incorporating digital curriculum and supporting multi-lingual learning software.
As for Nandal, the seed planted five years ago is bearing fruit throughout the year. The village now has 300 additional acres of cultivatable land, near self-sufficiency in potable water and surplus income to meet such basic needs as food and shelter. The village also has been crime-free for the past three years.
By seeing that impact firsthand, Nandal’s villagers are today leading their own water-management efforts and have persuaded the government to contribute. They are the model, showing how villagers, including farmers like Sarak, can turn a scarce resource into a river of opportunity.
Congratulations for the Cummins India Team that made this possible. The work you guys did is an inspiration for all of us. Giving back to the communities is the best thing we can do.Thank You. Keep up this good work.
The model village work of Sunil, Ravi and the India ABO led by Anant is among the best Cummins community work in the world. Water access provided by the check dams in a water constrained environment has created agricultural opportunity for the villagers, who now grow and sell their produce using sustainable farming practices. This in turn has opened the door to better teaching and learning in village schools, higher quality sanitation (especially impacting girls), and overall improved quality of life for our neighbors around the Mega Site near Phaltan. Congratulations to the India ABO and the many many engaged employees who make our communities stronger. Mary
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