Kate Griesemer: India

I'm a senior international studies student, and I've been interning with an NGO called Gravis in Northwestern India. I got interested in the International Development Internship Program last year after beginning to contemplate careers with international organizations, who often conduct their work in partnership with Non-Governmental Organizations around the world. Gravis focuses its work on rural development in India's Thar desert, a region facing intense poverty, water insecurity, and increasingly, the devastating effects of climate change. My main project for Gravis is a small-scale impact assessment of the rainwater collection program. The people of the Thar Desert have been collecting rainwater in underground dugout tanks for centuries, but the local knowledge that used to be passed down from generation to generation has been lost in the last couple of decades due to the local government's aggressive promotion of automated wells to pump groundwater instead. Now that the supply of groundwater is running out, people need to return to their traditional method of collecting rainwater, and Gravis seeks to help by teaching historical rainwater collection techniques and supplying funding for families to build their own rainwater tanks. My impact assessment involves interviewing women who have received assistance building a rainwater collection tank from Gravis, to try to gain an understanding of how on-site rainwater storage changes women's lives. Interview questions focus on whether or not women are choosing to work when they no longer have to spend several hours per day collecting water from ponds or canals, as well as sanitation and hygiene practices.