The objective of the project is to enhance livelihood opportunities through increased agricultural productivity. Soil and moisture conservation and other related means were implemented to achieve this goal.


The Watershed Organisation Trust (WOTR) has implemented the project 'Community Based Natural Resource Management along Watershed Lines for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods' (CBNRM). The project period was January 2002 to December 2007. This project is based on a study on sustainable livelihood development in the two talukas namely Pathardi and Akole of Ahmednagar district in Maharashtra. In Purushwadi, village from Akole gets reasonably average rainfall, agriculture is not looked at as a major source of income; hence, agriculture was not well developed. In Lohasar village is in Pathardi block and is a drought prone region.

The overall aim is to enhance livelihood opportunities, mainly farm based, for women and men in the project area. The comprehensive strategy is adopted to achieve the aims and objectives of CBNRM project.

  • Impact Assessment (M&E) Phase Project completed on 31 Mar, 2008 Implementation Phase
  • Implementation Phase Project started on 1 Jan, 2002 Preparation Phase

The objective of the project is to enhance livelihood opportunities through increased agricultural productivity. Soil and moisture conservation and other related means were implemented to achieve this goal.


The Watershed Organisation Trust (WOTR) has implemented the project 'Community Based Natural Resource Management along Watershed Lines for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods' (CBNRM). The project period was January 2002 to December 2007. This project is based on a study on sustainable livelihood development in the two talukas namely Pathardi and Akole of Ahmednagar district in Maharashtra. In Purushwadi, village from Akole gets reasonably average rainfall, agriculture is not looked at as a major source of income; hence, agriculture was not well developed. In Lohasar village is in Pathardi block and is a drought prone region.

The overall aim is to enhance livelihood opportunities, mainly farm based, for women and men in the project area. The comprehensive strategy is adopted to achieve the aims and objectives of CBNRM project.


Creating and measuring long-term impact

Community Managed Rural Tourism

The objective is to facilitate the village and its institutions to independently provide quality hospitality services to tourists. The goal of the project is poverty reduction and conservation of natural resources by providing the villagers livelihood opportunities in the hospitality industry. It provides marginalized communities access to new opportunities in responsible tourism in the village. Community-managed tourism is founded on the principles of responsible tourism i.e. tourism should be beneficial for local communities, local environment, and tourists; through promotion and sustainable utilization of locally available resources, manpower, and knowledge systems. The endeavor is to provide tourists with rare authentic experiences of nature, cultures and traditional lifestyles, and also responsibly conserve and promote the environment, culture and tradition of the local communities and environment.

To facilitate this process we have undertaken the following over the period of two years.
• Orientation Programme : of villagers on the various aspects of responsible tourism
• Capacity Building Process : of villagers so that they can showcase to clients their lifestyle, culture, traditions and cuisine.
• Institutional Building : to manage the various aspects of ‘ community managed rural tourism ’ in the village.
• Infrastructural building support : To be able to accommodate clients; proving the basic needs of shelter and clean wash rooms.
• Marketing and Promotion : Branding, making of various packages, pricing and promotion of the ‘community managed rural tourism’ to responsible tourists.
• Quality control & monitoring
• Partner Management
• Green Field ( Identification and Exploration of New locations )

2.11.1 Human Resource Development

• Gramsabha & CBO’s Meetings :- Initially we had conducted grambabhas to introduce this concept of tourism. Subsequently we had separate meetings with VDC (Village Development Committee ) and SMS (Sanyukt Mahila Samittee ) (Local Institutions ) to increase their the participation . Test groups of service providers (Cook, Guide , and House Keeper ) were selected through the gramsabha. Then few groups of tourist were invited to experience authentic village life. this provided the villagers with a glimpse of the working of community managed rural tourism..
• Demonstration visits by tourists: orientation by doing; a few groups of tourists were enrolled to provide the villagers a first hand experience of what it took to cater to tourists needs.
• Exposure visit to cultural hotels: Villagers (Tourism committee, Guide and House Keeper) were taken to a cultural hotel and made to witness from a tourist point of view. E.g., it’s not food that people want to eat, but the experience of being served and being spoken to while people are eating.
Due to this activities villagers becoming aware of the various aspects of tourism, their agreement to form various groups of service providers, which include cooks, housekeepers, and guides. They also become aware of the potential of augmenting their annual income thru tourism.

2.11.2 Capacity Building Process:-
To be able to cater to tourists needs the capacity of the villagers had to be built. While training the villagers, extensive attention was paid to highlight and promote the local culture, sensitivities, traditions and lifestyles. Three groups of service providers were trained, to cater to the basic need of tourists.
The housekeepers: responsible for the cleanliness of the staying premises as well as the restrooms, also responsible for the water requirements of the women who cooks up exquisite traditional cuisines for the guests
Guides: village youth who coordinate between the villagers and the tourists as coordinate the tourists visit.
The women and village youth have been extensively tapped for these training programs. Initially the women were trained as housekeepers as well as cooks, however after a few months of tourists’ visit the women themselves recommended that the village youth be assigned the responsibilities of a housekeeper.

Activities : To be able to train the village youth and women as quality service providers, we had undertaken the following activities
On the job training: we commenced with on the job training, thus provided the villagers with a first hand experience of being a service providers in hospitality service. Initially we had only a few women and village youth willing to work, this we attributed to fear of the unknown. Thus instead of first commencing with workshops we encouraged villagers to get involved with the test tourists. Thus building from the first hand experience of villagers, we were then able to register a bigger set of people who were willing to get involved with the project and thus be willing to attend the training workshops
Skill sharing: periodically there are service provider meets, where in the cooks, guides housekeepers shared their experience with their fellow villagers, thus sharing with them what the tourist liked and did not like. Villagers are thus provided with a platform of learning from each other strengths, weaknesses and experience.
Cooking and hygiene workshops for the women, as well as communication works shops for the village youth have been carried out.
Outputs: The villagers are able to dispense quality hospitality services. Thus a tourist is assured of their basic needs as well is welcomed into a very warm, hospitable caring and sharing experience.

2.11.3 Institutional Building
The project is envisioned to be ‘community Based rural tourism’ where in tourism is owned, managed and run by the villagers themselves. To be able to achieve this, institutions at the village level had to be built to look after the management of tourism within the village. The ‘Village Tourism Committee’ comprising of representatives of each section of the village, would have to be instituted.
Activities: To be able to orient the villagers on the different aspects of tourism, workshops, demonstration visits as well as exposure visits were undertaken. After the first year of the project, the committee was then introduced to account keeping and management aspects of ‘community managed rural tourism’
Initially village level meetings were held once every fortnight. After villagers became familiar with catering to tourists, meeting were held once in a month. Besides that youth group (Probable Guides) are meeting once in a month to share their experiences as guide. This provides platform to upgrade their knowledge and skills.
Conflict management is much easier when there is a village institution in place
a village tourism committee comprising of representatives of each section of the village has been instituted. This committee negotiates between the NGO and the villager w.r.t rates, quality parameters, community norms and also manages conflict if any arises.
2.11.4 Infrastructural Building Support:
• To accommodate tourists, we need some basic infrastructure Like
• Staying: clean safe place to rest
• Clean well maintained washrooms
• Lighting equipment
• Basic furniture
• Linen
Initially we had a cottage with two rooms and a rest room sufficient to accommodate 4 tourists. Till today the following infrastructure has been purchased or built to accommodate 30 – 40 tourists.
• 2 sanitation units
⇒ In Cottage Campus ( 2 bathrooms and 3 toilets )
⇒ At Tent Site ( Attached )
• A store room to accommodate the equipments purchased for tourism
• 6 tents, each of which can accommodate family of 4 tourists
• Furniture, linen, solar lanterns and other necessary equipments needed to accommodate 30 – 40 tourists.
• Roof Water Harvesting Structure

With reference to safe places to rest: three models were tested out, initially a cottage was built to accommodate tourists, and the cottage was built on common property. Though this provided a comfortable option to tourists, it turned out to be difficult to maintain and expensive to build. Two other models have been tested out; these include the use of tents and the use of empty villagers’ houses. The tents provide us with a cheap alternative to housing tourists; the tents are set up prior to the tourist visit and are packed once the tourist leave. Secondly the tents though have a high rate of depreciation, are relatively cheap thus the village tourism committee can purchase new tents once the old ones have to be replaced.
ϖ With the using of tents, the villagers themselves had prompted us to utilize their empty houses. The rates of which are negotiated between the owners of the house and the village tourism committee. These houses provide a ideal housing for tourists, they are clean and safe as well as have a local flavour in their design, they are low cost to maintain and little if no money has been used to build them.

2.11.5 Marketing
The ‘community Based rural tourism’ in Purushwadi is marketed under the brand name of ‘Grassroutes’. Our main targets are domestic tourists in Pune and Mumbai. We have segmented the target groups into 3 groups
• Youth groups/school kids
• Basic package
• Corporate package

We have tested low cost marketing methods like advertisements in local newspapers, meetings with Human resource personnel of various corporate as well as internet marketing strategies. The website has been a great means of promoting ‘community managed rural tourism’. The feedback from various clients has been positive and encouraging. We have already had repeat customers, thus reducing the cost of acquiring new clients.

Branding of Community Based rural tourism :-
The branding of ‘Community Managed rural tourism’ was done with two objectives
• Promotion of ‘Community Managed Rural tourism in Purushwadi
• Promoting of ‘Community Managed Rural tourism in new villages.

‘Grassroutes’ image and branding has been undertaken keeping in mind the vision of a promoting ‘Community Based Rural Tourism’ in different parts of India. Studio Ananya has been responsible for the designing of the new concept of Grassroutes. To assist us in the promotion of ‘Grassroutes’ Studio Ananya has also produced well designed communication collateral, namely letterheads, business cards, envelops, marketing brochures and has revamped the current website . Presenting a professional image has enabled us to approach institutions to promote ‘Grassroutes’ ‘community Based rural tourism. This has enhanced our reach and credibility. This branding exercise will enhance the frequency of tourists in village Purushwadi.
2.11.6 Monitoring and Upgrading:
The community managed rural tourism project in Purushwadi needs constant periodic monitoring for the following reasons
• Monitor the feedback of the villagers, and keep a pulse of the various issues that arise due to tourism
• Quality control: since we are catering to the service industry, it is imperative to maintain and upgrade quality standards. Thus ensuring that the tourist have a pleasant and wonderful experience.

Financially sustainable model: the uniqueness of this “community managed rural tourism’s” financial model is besides a the initial set up costs, running costs are only incurred if tourists visit the village, when there is non occupancy of tourists in the village, the running costs are literally zero. There are high margins of profit for all the stake holders, the service providers, the community and the marketing agencies.
Livelihood venture: Farming is the main livelihood; however diminishing returns have forced the villagers to seek alternative opportunities for earning. This type of tourism is found to provide the villagers the opportunities needed to augment their income from agriculture. We conservatively estimate an increase of 550-600 person days of employment
More livelihood opportunities: With tourism in the village, the villagers are encouraged to set up support ventures like pickle making, selling of packaged water, rural transport, selling of organic produce (grains, pulses, fruits etc) and poultry.
Reduced migration: Alternative livelihood opportunities are rare if not non-existent in village economies. Villagers are forced to migrate to well-irrigated farmlands or cities in search of livelihoods to augment their incomes from agriculture. Migration leads to exploitation of villagers, increase in communicable diseases, increase in social disharmony among very closely knit communities and many more problems. Our model provides villagers the opportunities to earn by staying in their village.
Empowerment of people: Villagers are trained in service industry skills, through their interactions with the tourists; we have found an increase in the self-esteem of service providers. Another observation is the increase in cooperation amongst the people, when a woman undertakes the responsibility of cooking for a group of tourists, it is observed that women who had previously undertaken the responsibility come and assist the current cook.
Conservation of culture and environments: since the local communities are in charge of the functioning of the tourism, they insure the conservation of their culture and environments.
Boosting of local economies: Our conservative projections of around 200-250 tourists frequenting these villages annually boost the local economy by over Rs. 3 lakhs (utilizing the tourism output multiplier of 1.8). More over since there is extensive utilization of local goods and services; it is the local economy that benefits the most, leakages to external economies is kept to a minimum.

Other Issues

Unusual and unexpected issues faced during project execution

The difficulties faced during the project period are as follows:

• People are slow to adopt new techniques specially demonstrations on water saving devices and demonstrations of agricultural practices. Very few farmers have come forward to attempt the demonstrations.

• The work of lift irrigation activity was delayed. To get the permission for electricity connection was a lengthy procedure it delayed installation of lift irrigation activity in project village Purushwadi.

• The concept of watershed development, the self-selection criteria and the strategy were new to the people hence it took considerable time to initiate the project. The migration status of the project villages affected work progress in initial years.

• The political movements at the block level and the district level affected the atmosphere of the village in January 2006. The political influence changed the scenario of the village. The two groups emerged finding faults in each other’s work. It percolated into project activities also. It affects the progress of the project in the year 2006.


Knowledge of project and process for sharing

The activities of agricultural demonstration should be done well in time and in appropriate season so that it maximum benefits can be obtained.

To discourage people from migrating, a comparison has to be presented in project villages to prove that by staying in the village they could get maximum benefit and that the village itself will be developed which will then benefit them.
The regular inputs on health and hygiene are useful to create awareness among the members of SHGs. Impact of this activity can be seen in the project villages.

Exposure visit can give new ideas to implement or develop new activity in the village. Visual impact motivates the people.

The capacity building of CBOs is the key issue in project implementation. If VDC members are trained properly, they will able to undertake their roles and responsibility for implementing the project in a full manner

Experience sharing workshops are useful to spread a common mission in the region. This platform is can be used to form regional level networks.

Whenever the results of demonstrations are discussed in a gramsabha following field day, helps in replication of the demonstration.

If the responsibility of the project activities handed over to the people at the early stage, the involvement and participation of the people is more. Particularly the financial transactions handled by the people gives them lot of confidence. Involvement of the community members in the monitoring and evaluation process helps in increasing the confidence of the members of the VDC. They also get the sense of the responsibility and become the leaders of the village in due course of the time. Women members become more active in such a process.

For livelihood activities to begin, a considerable time is required for feasibility and assessment of the activity. A study is useful in identifying the potential in the area and plan accordingly by involving the people in it.

The impact of watershed work increased water level in the village. Because of the availability of water there is more work available in the field for the farmers. For the same reason people in the village are busy in their own farms and there is shortage of labour in the latter part of the project for area treatment work.

The villagers are very hospitable by nature, and it’s in their culture to welcome and tender to guests. However they used to consider it improper to take any money from the guest they have catered to. The orientation activities have shown to the villagers the possibilities of livelihood opportunities in responsible rural tourism, one of the key outcome e is that the villagers, this has been one of the prominent changes brought about by orientation. For the villagers to comprehend tourism, the best method adopted was to get test tourists groups into the village, thus witnessing and experiencing the basic aspects of tourism mitigated to a great extent the apprehensions and fear of the unknown in the minds of the villagers.

The process of orientation in Purushwadi took a lot of time, however, when the ‘community Based rural tourism’ program will be replicated in other parts of India, Purushwadi will be used as a demonstration centre, where in villagers from other villagers will be brought to interact with villagers from Purushwadi.

Periodic and regular meetings with the various service providers have proven to be imperative. In these meetings, the service providers share with us the problems they face, as well as their learnings. The villagers are capable of addressing many of the operational problems, e.g., initially the tourists were served food at their campsite, as the campsite was at a distance of 0.5 km from the village, and the food served was not hot. Further the village women were uncomfortable when serving food at the campsite. After 4 tourists group visits, the women suggested that the food be served in their home, this turned out to be a brilliant feedback from the village women as not only were the women more comfortable serving the tourists in their home, the tourists have loved the experience of eating hot, traditional food sitting down with their host family, near a nice hot chula (a clay stove). This is one of the many examples of the villagers actively participating in addressing various issues in ‘community Based rural tourism

‘Community Based Rural Tourism’ in Purushwadi has reached a stage where in quality of hospitality services are maintained. Further the groups in the village which were opposed to the concept have now begun approaching us to be included in the project, for which periodic training programs and skill sharing workshops will be conducted. This has been accomplished, as the villagers are able to see first hand the benefits of ‘community managed rural tourism’. Further payments to the service providers are done in the presence of villagers. This provides a motivation for other to get involved.

It is very important to get a buy in from each section of the village, this makes the village institution more robust, and however the time taken to achieve this is long.

Use of local technology while building infrastructure is very important, this not only reduces costs, but also lowers maintenance. Further instead of building all infrastructure it is possible to motivate the local community to rent out their existing infrastructure, this ensures lower set up costs, better aesthetics for tourists as well as lower maintenance costs.


People Impacted: 1339

People Getting Safe Drinking Water: 1339

Watershed project rejuvenated the water table for 295 community areas.


Final Cost:
edit $91,430:
Karl Kübel Stiftung (KKS)