The article written by Eshwer Kale and Marcella D’Souza was published in the compendium ‘Water Conservation and Saving in Agriculture: Initiatives, Achievements and Challenges in Maharashtra’ by Water Resources Department (WRD) Government of Maharashtra.
Drinking Water & Sanitation
WOTR’s involvement with Water has always focused on its scarcity and our so it is with our Drinking Water projects. They focus on availability of good quality Water for all, drudgery reduction for women and children, addressing water contamination that leads to ill-health, etc. It also connects with the sanitation program as the sanitary conditions in a village impact water quality.
The projects include activities such as construction of new wells, repairs of existing drinking water schemes, laying of pipeline, hand pump installation, tap connections, and trainings and capacity building of Pani Samiti (water committee).
While our drinking water projects do intervene in distribution, water use and quality, they also simultaneously and primarily address the strengthening its availability at the source. Under the Climate Change Adaptation lens, addressing water scarcity is one of the major issues, more so going beyond its availability for agricultural use, contamination & pollution , and sanitation. One of the major efforts is to consciousness building about the visible and invisible, overt and non-overt links and connections between different issues, and addressing adaptive capacity of communities.
School Water and Sanitation Project
WOTR has also taken up the School Water and Sanitation Project that addresses the core need and issues of drinking water, sanitation and hygiene promotion in primary and the pre-primary schools. The core activities under this project are construction of water supply systems to and within the school, ensuring proper and adequate drainage of waste water, solid waste management through vermi and organic composting, construction of sanitation blocks, water management and sanitation education, awareness campaigns and workshops for all the villages and schools / Anganwadis (kindergartens), and holding cluster level workshops for school teachers and community members.
Students of selected pre-primary and primary schools are imbibed with the of importance and good practices of health and hygiene, which they, in turn, take to their homes and communities. The school children are also taught to get involved in the activities like regular cleaning toilet units, watering the plants/trees and maintenance of school gardens, cleaning of the school campus etc. This develops a sense of ownership among the students.
The methodology of implementation is particularly appreciated as it involves the schools, Gram Panchayat, Village Development Committees, Village Education Committees, parents and community as a whole.