Pune, MM, India
Fellow Since 1994
This profile was prepared when Prasad Rasal was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1994.
The New Idea
Prasad Rasal diagnosed two principal constraints to effective watershed management in rural India. First, there was a high level of dependency on "technical experts", who were both generally unavailable and ineffective. Secondly, there was an absence of appropriate education and other support materials that would lead to an alternative approach managed by the villagers. This was particularly true with respect to technical subjects. Prasad's response was direct and effective. He established an action research and "appropriate technical manuals" publishing program that is fast becoming a benchmark for the developing world. In a short time, villagers relying on his education materials have demonstrated the ability to construct and maintain watershed management devices (from catchments to riparian plantings to small dams) on their own. Prasad is now moving forward on three fronts: (1) further action research and material publications in new areas; (2) testing and refining his own materials resource and service centers; and (3) building partnerships with nongovernmental, public and commercial organizations to distribute his materials (which include picture booklets, workshop material books, slides, posters, comprehensive "teacher training" books, and three-dimensional models). As the India coordinator of an international network concerned with appropriate technology transfer, he is poised to spread his materials and methods throughout the sub-continent and beyond.