The water sellers: a cooperative venture by the rural poor

G D Wood, Richard Palmer Jones, Q F Ahmed, M A S Mandal, S Dutta

Research output: Book/ReportBook


Waterselling by the landless is a concept that aims to empower the poor through facilitating their access to a crucial rural resource. Thus it is not merely an income-generating activity but also an attempt at agrarian reform. This book presents the experience of an experimental program in which over 150 small groups of landless water sellers worked in association with Proshika, a Bangladeshi non-governmental organization (NGO), to establish an irrigation service. Chapter 1 outlines the project in operation; the subsequent chapters examine its specific aspects in greater depth. Chapter 2 considers the initial criticisms the program encountered, summarizes the early experience that refuted or validated these criticisms and describes the research design and the constraints upon it. Chapters 3 and 4 look at the relationships between the landless and other social classes in Bangladesh and discuss the effects on these relationships of an alteration in status from landless peasant to co-operative entrepreneur. Chapter 5 deals with the question of whether the program improved the smaller farmers' access to irrigation services. Chapters 6 and 7 analyze the financial, economic and technical performance of the project. Chapter 9 surveys its effects on employment. Finally, chapters 9 and 10 provide an in-depth summary of what has been learned from the experience of the project and suggest its implications for the future, not only for the landless in Bangladesh but also for the rural poor, and organizations existing to assist them, in other Third World countries.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationWest Hartford
PublisherKumarian Press
Number of pages282
Publication statusPublished - 1991

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