From all of us at Safe Water Network, thank you for your generous support of our work in India. Since the September 2010 launch of our GlobalGiving campaign, we have raised nearly $8,000. With your help, the people of Pochampalli and Katrapalli in southern India are now successfully operating and maintaining their own Safe Water Stations.
Excessive levels of fluoride in Pochampalli and Katrapalli's local, untreated water was causing fluorosis, a debilitating disease common in India. Today, children no longer miss school due to water-related illnesses and nearly 2,000 families are living healthier and more productive lives.
Safe Water Network continues to work with these communities to build the demand for safe water through health and hygiene education (read about our innovative Tablet-based water education campaign here) and will remain a partner even as these communities become more self-sufficient.
As we bring our GlobalGiving campaign to a close, we‘d like to share a few stories about how your support has helped us transform lives in Pochampalli, Katrapallii and many other villages throughout India. We hope you continue to follow our work, and we welcome your support in the future! If you haven’t already, sign up for our eNewsletter.
Meet M. Bhagyamma
M. Bhagyamma is Safe Water Network's first female water station operator and is part of a new movement of enterprising women in rural India, assuming roles traditionally filled by men.
It was no surprise to her neighbors that she became a water station operator. Bhagyamma is the leader of the village Self-Help Group, an organization committed to empowering women by providing small loans to its members for entrepreneurial activities. She also oversees the mid-day school lunch program. "My wife knows everyone in the village," says her husband. "She spreads the word as to the importance of using safe water and her friends are now our best sales people."
Meet Subhash Reddy
Subhash Reddy saw his first Safe Water Network community-led water station while visiting a friend in a neighboring village. An entrepreneur and former rice mill operator, Subhash realized on his visit that if he was having trouble identifying a reliable source of clean water, others must also be in need. What Subhash lacked in funds, he more than made up for in initiative. He spoke to Safe Water Network, met with village leaders and ultimately ended up investing some of his own money to launch a water station for his community. With the help of our local partners, Subhash received technical assistance and enrolled in our comprehensive training program. Subhash is now looking at expanding his reach into a nearby community that currently lacks an affordable, reliable source of safe water.
The Samithi committee in Mahabubabad, comprised of village elders and leaders, saw great benefits in a community owned and operated water system, but despite community financial contributions and support from Safe Water Network, they still did not have enough funding to launch a system. Chaitanya, with a mechanical background and a keen interest in running a business, offered to donate land he owned in exchange for the rights to operate the village water station. Chaitanya’s undeveloped land was being used by cattle and as an informal dumping ground by the town. The cleanup of his land prior to construction inspired those living nearby the station to do the same with their land. Today, the impact of the station has transformed this part of the village, and the neighborhood is a healthy place to congregate and purchase safe water.
Because of your important donation, the villagers of Pochampalli and Katrapalli continue to benefit from safe, affordable water. Safe Water Network continues to work with these communities so that they will successfully own and operate their system for generations to come.
Reliable access to safe water means no longer drinking from contaminated sources like local bore wells. As a result, the people of Pochampalli and Katrapalli are healthier and living more productive lives. Using safe water generates positive health impacts including a substantial decrease in diarrhea (a leading contributor to school absenteeism and child mortality) and reduced levels of fluoride, (which causes fluorosis, a debilitating disease common throughout the region). Children are no longer sick and missing school and adults now have more time to pursue work.
Water from these Safe Water Stations is provided in 20 liter iJal (meaning “my water”) branded containers. The jerry cans are specially designed for ease of carrying and also to eliminate recontamination.
Nearly 80% of all households in Pochampalli and 73% in Katrapalli regularly visit their respective Safe Water Stations. This is important for both people’s health and for the sustainability of the Station. Each station must generate sufficient revenue to cover their operating cost, while at the same time keeping the price of the water low enough so that everyone in the village can afford it.
Safe Water Network has launched 22 systems across three states in India and reached over 125,000 people. In Ghana we have 5 systems (with two more launching this month!) reaching 45,000 people. But our work goes well beyond simply building Safe Water Stations. In 2013 we continue to drive towards achieving local sustainability by focusing on the following:
With the support of Global Giving, Safe Water Network has raised $7,290 to improve water access and reduce the impact of water-borne diseases in Pochampalli and Katrapalli, two remote villages in India. We install and operate sustainable community water purification systems, namely Safe Water Stations, and promote hand washing to improve health and hygiene indicators.
In all our initiatives in India, we aim to establish access that is equitable and fair, ensuring the Stations will be sustainable over time. We train local operators, educate the community on the safe handling of water, and facilitate funding to advance local ownership, so that the community is fully invested in their success.
Update: Merck Fellows have officially joined Safe Water Network for a three-month in-the-field engagement as part of our three-year India initiative announced earlier this year.
Safe Water Network's partnership with Merck includes adding a dozen sites to existing field projects in Andhra Pradesh, India, where Safe Water Network already provides nearly 50,000 people access to clean water. The additional systems will make safe water access available to another 20,000 - 30,000 people. The joint initiative will draw on Merck's consumer marketing, operational and health expertise to establish a fact-based approach to improving demand generation programs. The objective is to accelerate adoption rates and increase daily customer counts and household consumption levels by improving awareness of the importance of clean water and hygiene. We will test and refine messaging to optimize communication. Merck Fellows play an essential role in these efforts.
The Merck Fellowship program provides Merck employees the opportunity to utilize their expertise and make an impact at the local level. It is also an important career development opportunity, providing valuable experience for the participants.
With the support of GlobalGiving, Safe Water Network has raised $7,245 to improve water access and reduce the impact of water-borne diseases in Pochampalli and Katrapalli, two remote villages in India. We install and operate sustainable community water purification systems, namely Safe Water Stations, and promote hand washing to improve health and hygiene indicators.
Update: Safe Water Network and Merck launch a 3-year partnership to increase awareness of the importance of safe water and hygiene to drive behavior change in India
Earlier this year, on World Water Day 2012, Safe Water Network and Merck announced a 3-year, $1.5 million collaboration to address India’s current safe water and sanitation challenges. The join effort will draw on Safe Water Network’s field experience in India, which already provides nearly 40,000 people with access to clean water. We will implement 8-12 new Stations and launch Demand Generation packages, which are designed to accelerate healthy behavior change and increase uptake of our services. The packages will be evaluated for effectiveness in increasing safe water adoption and potential to be replicated. In general, our initiatives will be measured for cost-effectiveness and health impact in the community, to identify the most beneficial package. In addition, we will be welcoming 4-5 new Merck employee volunteers, or Fellows, who will bring significant expertise in health, research design, and demand generation to the table.
Our recent findings from the field show that all 16 of our operating Stations in India are successfully generating enough revenue to meet operating costs. They are also recovering capital costs, but each at a different pace and sometimes in an irregular pattern. Our intention with these demand generation packages and evaluations is to increase adoption and utilization by household, thereby improving sustainability and financial viability of the Stations.
PROJECT UPDATE MAY 2012 “BRINGING SAFE WATER TO CHILDREN IN INDIA”
With support through Global Giving, we have raised over $7,210 towards the installation and launch of sustainable community water purification systems in 2 villages in India – Pochampalli and Katrapalli. We continue to expand our work to emphasize the promotion of hand washing to improve health and hygiene indicators.
Ultimately, we are helping provide equitable and fair access to safe water and ensuring that this access is sustainable over time. In these villages, we are training local operators, providing hygiene education for safe handling of water, and facilitating funding to advance local ownership to help these communities become fully invested in their success.
Newest Process: National Bank for Agriculture & Rural Development (NABARD) and Safe Water Network Piloting New Approach in Andhra Pradesh, India
Safe Water Network is pleased to announce the pilot of a site in Andhra Pradesh with support from National Bank for Agriculture & Rural Development (NABARD), India’s leading apex bank for rural credit and development. The pilot, supported through the “Rural Innovation fund” set up in NABARD, will test two key aspects of the Safe Water Network approach to locally owned and managed water systems: the Remote Monitoring System and the development of a financial product through Watershed Development Committees. The initiative will also include an impact study to determine the benefits of providing safe water to a village in need. This pilot represents our first formal project with this esteemed Indian institution. The safe water station will be built in village Galigudem, Mandal (Block) Kondurg, District Mahabubnagar, where a Watershed Development project is already underway with financial support from NABARD.
The Safe Water Network approach involves community engagement to bring a sense of ownership at the inception of a project. Extensive training and support is provided to build the community’s operation and management capabilities. The remote monitoring aspect of the project delivers real-time data to a central location minimizing the need to make visits to the station to determine performance activity. Remote monitoring also identifies system problems quickly and reduces servicing costs. It is a key component of managing at scale because one skilled service provider can oversee many stations and provide tele-assistance to local operators.
The loan product development is another important aspect of this partnership. Working with a community-based organization (CBO) such as Watershed Development Committee (or later, with Primary Agriculture Credit Societies), Safe Water Network will develop a financial product in conjunction with NABARD. The CBOs will eventually own and govern the Safe Water Station and repay the credit as these types of organizations are local and trusted.
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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
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