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  1. 1. Gender Participation through Watershed Management for Achieving Sustainable Development Suhas P Wani, Anantha KH and Sreedevi, TK Resilient Dryland Systems International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT)The rain-fed areas in the tropics are characterized by low and erratic rainfall, severe landdegradation, low crop yields, and high poverty. Watershed management by adopting communityparticipatory and integrated approach is recommended and found effective for agricultural growthand sustainable development in rain-fed areas. Success and sustainability of watershed programs isdirectly related to collective action and community participation. Women are key players asmanagers and direct actors in managing natural resources in the watershed and addressing thehousehold food security. In this backdrop, this study seeks to address critical factors essential forenhancing gender participation through watershed programs using detailed case studies from India,China and Thailand. The paper demonstrated that through empowerment of women even withoutformal education women worked well collectively and managed watersheds efficiently andsuccessfully. In these watersheds, women involved in income generating activities (IGAs) directlyalong with generating employment, knowledge and skill development to other labours andconcentrate on more value added activities. In north east Thailand and China women do appreciate watershed management in increasingemployment and income, building up social capital through children education etc. Increasingeconomic resilience of the poor is largely about enabling women to realize their socioeconomicpotential more fully and improve the quality of their lives. The policy implications suggest thatwatershed programmes should look beyond land development activities to address rural livelihoodsto make difference in socio-economic status of women and vulnerable groups. Further,implementing and coordinating agencies need to take cognizance of resources and policy support toaddress gender equity.Authors’ profile Dr. Suhas P Wani is Assistant Research Program Director and Principal Scientist (Watersheds), Resilient Dry land Systems, International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), Patancheru, Andhra Pradesh. His area of specialization includes Integrated Watershed Management, Wasteland Development, Biodiesel Plantation and Integrated Nutrient Management for productivity enhancement and rural livelihoods He is the member of many advisory committees of GoI including planning commission and other International agencies. Dr. Anantha KH is Scientist (Watersheds), Resilient Dry land Systems, International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), Patancheru, Andhra Pradesh. His area of interest includes integrated watershed management, economics of dry land agriculture, gender and rural livelihoods. Dr. Sreedevi TK worked as Scientist (Watersheds) at Resilient Dry land Systems, International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), Patancheru, Andhra Pradesh. Currently, she is serving as Commissioner, Commercial Tax Department, Government of Andhra Pradesh. Her area of interest includes women empowerment, consortium approach, biodiesel plantations and rural livelihoods and institutions.

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