ISP Jaipur Bureau
She is a friend of the indigenous villagers of Gujarat. A two-wheeler riding angel who is at their doorstep whenever they are in need. Nita Patel works on water conservation and women empowerment. Her work in the last 12 years has touched the lives of more than 30K people and the beneficiaries say in one voice that she is their hero.
Nita Patel is popularly known as the ‘water champion’ in the region. Her work on water conservation and women empowerment stands out for her personal touch and dedicated efforts which she puts to make things happen.
Nita was born in Mograwadi village of Navsari district in Gujarat and her childhood was mostly spent in severe poverty. Her difficult childhood taught her the hard lesson of farmers being self-dependent for their food through sustainable agricultural practices.
With hardwork and determination Nita could finish her Bachelor of Rural Studies from the prestigious Gujarat Vidyapith and got herself affiliated to Aga Khan Foundation which works on the issues of water conservation, forest rights etc. She has taken a conscious decision to remain unmarried for life and dedicate herself for the cause of the tribals of Gujarat.
Patel works in the remote tribal villages of Gujarat in the districts of Dang, Narmada and Bharuch and adjoining areas.The regions she works are mostly backward and economically backward with very less no nill livelihood opportunities. She works with the local community to make them self-sufficient with farming.
She travels through the hilly areas every day on her two-wheeler sometimes putting up a travel of around a 100 km on a single to meet and discuss initiatives with the people. She mobilises hundreds of women in each village towards the need for conserving water and uses the women’s camaraderie to raise awareness on the issue in their respective panchayats. Her work has not just helped raise knowledge about water scarcity but has also helped women to be in the pivotal seat in these efforts.
Her major initiates are around creating consensus within the village community and raising water-related issues with the Panchayats. She then helps out the local community to erect water harvesting structures and set up water committees to take care of the community assets for future use.
Kudos to Nita Patel and her army of women volunteers, water conservation through women empowerment has transformed many water-scarce villages into water-sufficient villages now.