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Student Activists Revivify Rajasthan Desert

on 2001/8/22 9:48:02 ( 1101 reads )


RAJASTHAN, INDIA, August 13, 2001: Tarun Bharat Sangh, a group of college activists, is committed to reclaiming regions the government had written off as "black zones" due to the severe water shortage. Lead by Rajendra Singh, the young activists got the villagers involved in making their own decisions about water, forests and other local resources. Previously, locals lacked the motivation and, crucially, the money to do it. The village undertook one-quarter of the total cost by contributing cash as well as labor. Singh has been named this year's winner of the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Prize for Community Leadership. He says the surge of publicity that has accompanied the prize announcement may put pressure on government officials to adopt a more positive attitude toward community-based efforts. Starting with just one village in 1986, the Tarun Bharat Sangh has spread its success to more than 700 villages in Rajasthan.

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