The Global Rain Water Harvesting Collective
[last updated January 5, 2005 2:25 AM]


General Information
Partnership website(s)
Expected Timeframe
2004 - Open Ended
  • Government of Ethiopia - Government of Ethiopia
  • Government of India - Central Ground Water Board
  • Government of India - Ministry Of Water Resources
  • Government of India - Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region
  • Government of India - Ministry of Rural Development
  • Government of India - Ministry of Tribal Welfare
  • Government of Nepal - Government of Nepal
  • Government of Senegal - Government of Senegal
Major Groups:
  • The Barefoot College (India)
  • Engineers Without Borders (Canada)
  • Earth 3000, Berlin (Germany)
  • German Agro Action (Germany)
  • Gender Water Alliance (Netherlands)
  • NORAGRIC (Norway)
  • Norwegian Church Aid (Norway)
  • Stakeholders Forum, WSSD Johannesburg (South Africa)
  • International Business Leaders Forum (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland)
  • The Fresh Water Action Network (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland)
  • Water Aid (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland)
UN System:
  • United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) (India)
  • United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Geneva (Switzerland)
Other intergovernmental organizations:
  • Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC) (Switzerland)
  • Sunshine Foundation (Austria)
  • Schwab Foundation for Social Entreprenuership (Switzerland)
  • UBS Foundation (Switzerland)
  • Saintsbury Foundation (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland)
Thematic Focus
Primary Themes:
  • Rural development
  • Energy for sustainable development
  • Disaster management and vulnerability
  • Mountains
  • Climate change
  • Water
  • Sanitation
  • Sustainable development for Africa
  • Desertification
  • Drought
  • Education
  • Gender equality
Secondary Themes:
  • Waste management
  • Poverty eradication
Geographic Coverage
Geographic Scope: National
Country(ies) where the partnership is being implemented:
National Focal Points
This partnership has not made any contact with the national focal points for sustainable development in the countries involved
Goals and Objectives
Summary of the partnership's goals and objectives
The Global Rain Harvesting Collective (GRWHC) has been established is to provide drinking water to schools facing an acute shortage all over the world, through roof top rain water harvesting in schools.
Rural communities all over the world have been collecting rainwater where it falls from time immemorial. In their fields, in open tanks and in traditional open wells. It was a technology that was accepted and applied on a large scale in the deserts, tribal regions and in the mountains.
This age old method is suggested as an alternative to the wasteful and costly use of hand pumps and piped water supply systems. Rural communities have the technical competence to collect rainwater where it falls. It also wants to provide this facility to community service centers.
The aim is to deliver tangible and sustainable results through a large number of small projects in many different countries at minimal operational and management cost. The `Demonstration Effect┐ of these projects may induce other stakeholders to replicate the process.
Collecting rain water in public places also has considerable social benefits. It provides water to poor children who otherwise have to walk for miles to fetch water.
Collected water is managed by local community hence they are less dependent on outside source.
Schools become more attractive because of the availability of drinking water. Mothers are prepared to send their children to school for sweet drinking water in non potable areas where water is brackish
It makes it more attractive for women to attend meetings at village centers such as about child care, health, education, literacy, and income generation activities.
Linking clean rooftop water to sanitation has reduced the incidence of water borne diseases. With the water comes sanitation(hand flushed latrines).
Education, poverty alleviation, gender equity objectives, implementation of environmental plans and community development programs can be achieved through rain water harvesting.
Likewise, low technology approaches such as water recharge through slowing down of run-off and also diverting surface run-off water into unused and abandoned open wells in villages, and installing large rainwater storage tanks carved into hillside, in fact a variation on terracing, provides similar benefits.
The Global Rainwater Harvesting Collective Programme[GRWHC] has two objectives
a)To collect rainwater from roof tops in community places like schools, dispensaries, family planning clinics, training centers, and women┐s hostels in desert and mountain rural and semi-urban areas:
b) To collect as much surface water in unused open wells in villages as possible so that the dry hand pumps in the thousands could be revitalized and these assets can be productive again.
The Basic Aim is to campaign for roof top rain water harvesting in schools as a Global Movement.
Targets and Progress
Partnership targets
The Global Rain Water Harvesting Collective(GRWHC) has been registered in Amsterdam. The new Board of the Trust Foundation will be in place in June-July 2004.
The GRWHC has already been registered in Jaipur the State capital of Rajasthan, in India.
a) The GRWHC will enter into a partnership with the Ministry of water Resources Government of India to implement roof top rain water harvesting structures in 100 schools all over the country
b) The GRWHC will enter into a MOU with the Water Supply Sanitation Collaborative Council(WSSCC) in Geneva to jointly implement roof top RWH tanks in schools globally
c) GRWHC will enter into a partnership with Plan Netherlands to construct 400 roof top RWH structures in 400 schools in Senegal, Ethiopia, India and Nepal.
d) To network with likeminded Business houses with a policy to promote Corporate Social Responsibility and encourage Public-Private partnerships on a large scale in the area of providing drinking water and sanitation in remote rural areas
e) A Partnership between GRWHC Collective and Water Aid in West Africa is being planned to cover Burkina Faso, Mali, Senegal and Cote d┐Ivoire
f) A partnership between GRWHC and Water Aid is being planned to cover remote schools in Nepal
g) Negotiations are continuing to enter into a joint partnership with the Georg Fischer Clean Water Campaign the Global Rain Water Harvesting Collective and the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship in Geneva to involve more social entrepreneurs from Mexico and Colombia in roof top rain water harvesting in schools.
h) Negotiations are continuing with 4 Norwegian based NGOS( CARE, Norwegian Church Aid, Development Fund and save the Children) to get funds from NORAD to do roof top rain water harvesting in schools in Ethiopia, Mali, Sudan and Eritrea. The GRWHC will provide the training and technical expertise.
i) To start a website and a Newsletter informing all the members of the progress we are making in these partnerships.
Progress against targets
a) In India
Rainwater collection Structures (Tanks ) Constructed by the Barefoot College for Drinking Water in rural schools and Community Centers in India till the Year 2003
1. Total Number of Tanks constructed by Barefoot Architects 446
2. - in rural schools 317
3. -in Community and Training centers 113
4. In S.C.|S.T. AREA 16
5. Total rainwater stored at normal rainfall 27 million litres
6. No. of villages 389
7. Districts 16
8. States Rajasthan, Sikkim, M.P., Gujarat and Uttaranchal
9. Geographical Area Desert , Hilly, and Plain
10. Local Employment generated for at least 30 days in a tank. Total no. of people 15,000
11. Rural Youth trained in traditional skills of tanka construction 200
12. Users' population 25,000
b) The partnership with the Ministry of Water resources Government of India resulted in the GRWHC receiving nearly $ 300,000 in financial support to cover 100 rural primary schools in 13 Indian States through 20 grass root organizations. This project is almost complete.
c) A MOU was signed in February 2004 in New Delhi India between the WSSCC and the GRWHC. An understanding to construct 4 roof top rain water harvesting tanks in schools in Dakar-the first of its kind ever in the country- through 4 community based organizations has been reached. The work will be completed in June-July. It will serve as a showcase and a demonstration model when the WSSCC holds in global meet on water and sanitation in November 2004 in Dakar. Field Visits of delegates are being planned to sensitise delegates from other countries who are no aware of the importance and relevance of roof top rain water harvesting in Africa.
d) A contract between GRWHC and Plan Nederlands has been signed for nearly EU 1 million for 3 years to construct a total of 400 RWH tanks in Senegal, India, Ethiopia and Nepal. The training of trainees has been carried out in the barefoot College, Tilonia Rajasthan India. The trainees came from Senegal and Nepal. Work on the roof top RWH tanks is about to begin in Senegal and Nepal.
e) The GRWHC entered into its first Public-Private Partnership with the Clean Water Campaign of the Georg Fischer Foundation Schaffhausen Switzerland. A Total of $ 50,000 was received to construct 30 RWH tanks in schools in Rajasthan and Sikkim. This was completed in October 2003
f) Another contract has been signed for $ 80,000 to cover 50 schools in Sikkim.
g) Two Newsletters and a website has been designed and are in place(
Capacity-Building and Technology Transfer
Arrangements for Capacity-Building and Technology Transfer
  • Human resources development/training
  • Education/building awareness
The Barefoot College Tilonia Rajasthan India is the Training center for the Global Rain Water Harvesting Collective(GRWHC). The GRWHC is registered in India as well as in Amsterdam Since 1990 the Barefoot College has been training ┐barefoot┐ architects men and women in roof top rain water harvesting as the Physical Achievements will indicate. Capacity Building(including confidence building)of very poor rural communities from all over the world is one of the strengths of the Barefoot College. In the process Technology Transfer has been demystified to enable the rural family to control, manage, distribute and contribute without depending on people from outside. Over 500 training programmes in roof top rain water harvesting in schools have been conducted for very grass root unemployed rural youth both men and women since 1990. With the establishment of RWH Capacity Centres in India, Senegal, Ethiopia and Nepal it will be far easier to transfer the technology of roof top rain water harvesting in schools on a wider scale all over the world.
Relationship to International Agreements on Sustainable Development
How the partnership contributes to the implementation of Agenda 21, the Programme for the Further Implementation of Agenda 21, and the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation
The mandate for the establishment of the Global Rain Water Harvesting Collective was received at the World Summit for Sustainable Development in Johannesburg when 114 organisations endorsed the objectives of the Collective in writing.
Background and Justification: The UN Millennium Development Goal (MDG) for Drinking Water is to halve the proportion of people without sustainable access to drinking water by 2015. During the World Summit for Sustainable Development the states agreed to launch programme of Actions, with financial and technical assistance to achieve MDG on drinking water. All governments also agreed to a new target to halve the proportion of people without access to basic adequate sanitation by 2015, which includes actions to integrate sanitation into water resources management strategies and to promote affordable and socially and culturally acceptable technologies and practices.
Keywords: Access to safe drinking water, remote rural areas, food security, nutrition, health and hygiene, water scarcity and distance to collect water specially in dry periods, women┐s working burden, girls education, involvement of indigenous institutions and knowledge, local problems and solutions, employment generation, participation and empowerment, capacity of local organisations and communities, decentralized low-cost solutions, transparency and accountability.
It is the obligation and commitment of every government in Least Developed Countries (LDCs) to provide drinking water to their people. Over a billion people around the world do not have adequate and safe water supply. Conventional methods of water supply have demonstrated their limitations in terms of sustainability, achieving coverage, user affordability and maintenance. A greater use of rooftop rainwater harvesting (RWH) techniques and technologies in combination with other small-scale water harvesting systems, will significantly help to deliver the commitments of the international community as formulated through the Millennium Development Goals and the World Summit for Sustainable Development.
LDCs have schools, health centres, training centres, libraries, and other community centres in the remote, rural areas where a majority of them have no access to a perennial source of safe drinking water or sanitation. Hand pumps have been installed in many locations but drilling deep tube wells are often prohibitively expensive and thousands in remote rural areas still remain to be covered. Piped water supply schemes also reach only a fraction of the schools and health centres for women and children.
Long term goals:
* Contribute to the UN Millennium Development Goal (MDG) for Drinking Water and Sanitation by making a tangible and visible difference to the quality of life of families in rural areas of ten countries in Africa, earning less than $ 1/day.
* Provide an alternative or supplemental source of water for drinking and sanitation where other sources, such as hand pumps and open wells, are either infeasible, unsuitable or do not provide enough water.
* Reduce the drudgery of women and children and facilitate increased attendance of girls in remote rural schools.
* Demonstrate the importance and relevance of traditional knowledge and skills being applied by people to solve their problems. Relevant Sections of Agenda 21
Protecting and promoting human health conditions; Managing fragile ecosystems: combating desertification and drought; Strengthening the role of non-governmental organizations: partners for sustainable development
Relevant Sections of the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation
Protection and managing the natural resource base of economic and social development ; Health and sustainable development
Coordination and Implementation
Coordination Mechanism of the Partnership
The Global rain Water Harvesting Collective will make an attempt to establish Partnerships based on Trust, Equality, Transparency and Collective Ownership. As the list of Partnership Targets will indicate the Public-Private Partnership has to include the Community of beneficiaries and practitioners as equal Partners as well.
Each Partnership will have its own unique Coordination Mechanism where the community will have equal decision making and taking powers than the donor and the Government where necessary.
Implementation Mechanism of the Partnership
The Plan of Action will involve Community Based Organisations(CBOS) who are working at the grass roots and are in constant touch with the communities who face acute water shortage. The idea is to concentrate and focus on providing drinking water in schools and places where services are being provided to the whole communities like dispensaries, family planning clinics, training,, centers , and women┐s hostels where there is very little water available for drinking water and sanitation. Where resources permit this is already being done on a small scale.
The first step will be to collect as much information as possible on communities already collecting rainwater to meet their water and sanitation needs. A proforma has already been prepared by the collective to be sent to all CBOs who have already expressed an interest in the Johannesburg Summit and are looking forward to be
The second step will be to collect and analyse the information relating to cost of labour, materials, traditional knowledge available and location. This is to establish the competence of the CBO and the preparation of the community to implement the project as soon as possible.
The third step will be to call a meeting of the CBOs who have responded to the GRWHC initiative with a sole purpose to finalising a Joint Plan of Action. This will contain
i) Name and location of CBO
ii) Name and location of the school\community place where the RWH structure is to be constructed
iii)The cost of digging, raw materials, water proofing, supervision, monitoring, and documentation
iv) The Work Plan and Time Plan
v) The time it will take to complete the work.
Funding Currently Available
Amount in US$: 1130000
Source(s): Other
a) Amount : EU 1 Million
Source: Plan Netherlands
Purpose: Establishment of Global Rainwater Harvesting Collective. NGO funds the set up and fixed costs of the Collective during its first three years
b) Amount $ 130,000
Source Georg Fischer Clean Water campaign Switzerland
Purpose 80 roof top rain water harvesting tanks in 80 schools in rajasthan and Sikkim in India through the Collective registered in India
Non-financial resources available
Funding Sought
Required Amount in US$: 1000000
Source(s) already approached: Efforts would be made to reach out to potential donors and create future funding opportunities. It is hoped within the year 2004 $ 1 million will be raised from various sources.
Non-financial resources sought
Source(s) approached and details:
Additional Information
Additional Relevant Information
History of the GRHC
The Barefoot College, located in Tilonia, India, has over twenty years of practical experience in rooftop rainwater harvesting in schools and health centers, where it has to date supported installation in over 500 schools in 13 states of India. In 2002, Barefoot College proposed this ?focused-on-schools? approach as a global movement at the World Summit on Sustainable Development held in Johannesburg.. The idea was widely accepted by some 144 grassroots organizations from 44 countries. As a result, the GRHC was established and registered in India in 2002.