“A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history.”
And to honor one of Mahatma Gandhi's greatest quotes (even if two days after his 138th birthday), I shall extol the virtues of two Indian organizations which seem to be living up to Gandhi's ideal. The leaders of these organizations are certainly determined, their work is vital to man and beast, their faith in their mission unalterable, and I can only hope they will change the course of history.
Tarun Bharat Sangh deals in community-based water systems in India. Those systems are based on millennia-old rainwater capture technologies. That captured monsoon water, which would otherwise flow directly into the sea for the most part adding little value along its way, now replenishes groundwater tables, provides drinking water for people and animals, and irrigates cropland.
TBS' founder Rajendra Singh is who I want to be when I grow up.
SCRIA does related work in arid and semi-arid regions of Rajasthan, northern India, led by their Director Sunder Lal. Their most interesting work is detailed here.
The work of both organizations is replete with best practices regarding community involvement and ownership, gender inclusiveness, decentralized planning, long term planning and budgetary cycles, and a holistic approach which incorporates the needs both of homo sapiens and the rest of the ecosphere simply by better utilizing the water resources already available to that part of India.
Give them many rupees.