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When She Has Water She Has Opportunity - The WomenServe Water Impact

WomenServe is dedicated to achieving 100% water security to improve the lives of women and girls in Western Rajasthan, India. 


In the Thar Desert of Western Rajasthan, India, a hot and desolate frontier where women face extreme gender inequality due to scarce resources, lack of education, and the opportunities for upward mobility it affords exists.


In 2006, Nioma Sadler, founder of WomenServe and co-founder of Traditional Medicinals Tea Co. visited Rajasthan and met the women of the Thar Desert. Listening to stories of their struggles and hopes, she was moved to help them overcome the burdens of the desert so they could empower themselves.

When she has water she can generate income, build a business, and create her own future.  

In Rajasthan, women and girls must learn to navigate an environment of deeply entrenched gender roles and rigid social structure.


Here are some startling statistics you may not have been aware of.


Access to water is a major burden in the desert, whereit only rains one month out of the year.Women and girls face this most strongly, as the responsibility of water collection falls on their shoulders.


Women and girls walk up to 10 hours a day in temperatures up to 110 degrees Fahrenheit in the Thar Desert of Western Rajasthan. This keeps women in the home, unable to earn income, girls out of school, and poses grave risks to their health and safety.  


When she has water she no longer has to walk and can access hygiene and sanitation resources to care for herself and her family


WomenServe increases access to water and establish sustainable water-secure systems through the following means:



A taanka is a traditional rainwater harvesting tank constructed by digging a 10’ by 10’ hole on a natural incline in the land. It is filled with concrete and reinforced with brick with an inlet built to filter sand and silt. When the monsoons come, the taanka is filled with filtered rainwater.


WomenServe builds taankas (traditional rainwater catchment tanks) providing year-round water security to families. A taanka lasts on average 10 years or more. 

To date WomenServe.org has:

  • Built 565 taankas since 2009
  • Saved an estimated 2 million hours walking for water since 2009
  • Trained every person who’s received a taanka on taanka use, repair, and maintenance


But the work does not stop there. WomenServe also partners with Self Help Groups (SHG) to train women on water management practices and the complete water-related ecosystems derived from water security.

Some of the areas of training include:

  • Building Kitchen Gardens for improved health & nutrition
  • Azolla Firm Farming for livestock health (a fern that feeds livestock and contributes to more nutritious milk production.)
  • Model sanitation systems for homes and livestock


WomenServe partners with the recipient’s family and community to secure a community contribution and investment in the building, care and maintenance of the water system


Naadis are rainwater catchment ponds. WomenServe maintains naadis (rainwater catchment ponds) to provide water reservoirs to refill taankas that sustain village water supply in off-season or if monsoon doesn’t produce.  WomenServe has built 9 naadis since 2009. 


A Khadin is an agricultural rainwater harvesting system. WomenServe builds and maintains khadins to grow crops. A khadin is a field embankment that collects runoff and is used for farming.

  • 145 khadins since 2009 
  • 292 gardens built to date
  • 16 gardens built in 2019
  • 6 Demonstration (training) Azolla units installed in 2020

When she has water she can go to school, stays in school, and graduate 12th grade.  

As you can see, WomenServe is a high-impact non-profit organization that is committed to social change and sustainability. Support this project by donating or shopping at the store today.