In the last report which was posted on January 3, 2014 we shared with you an account of how residents of a particular village had unitedly taken on their local government to make sure that government does the bare minimum to ensure the availability of drinking water in their village of Belpali, 80 Kms from City of Nasik in the western Indian state of Maharashtra.
In this report, we further talk about how the project 'Enhance Access to Water for 750 families in india' has drawn the attention of even the Maharashtra State level Rural Development Department. Secondly, it also discusses the participation of SNS Foundation in the marathon organized by Nasik Run Charitable Trust. Both these events at the local and state levels took place in January 2014.
PARTICIPATION IN NASIK RUN MARATHON : The Nasik Run Charitable Trust is a CSR expression of two well reputed MNCs - BOSCH & TDK EPCOS. Every year in the month of January the trust organizes a marathon, very well attended by residents of the city. This year the turnout for the marathon on January 12th, was close to 21000 visitors! The proceeds of the marathon which is usually the revenue generated from the sell of customized T-shirts, is then donated to different NGOs to support various social causes. In addition to Global Giving donations, the donations of Nasik Run Charitable Trust since April 2011 have also furthered the aim of the project, ''Enhance Access to Water for 750 families in india'. Hence like other donee agencies, SNS Foundation too puts up a kiosk at the marathon to talk about the progress of the project. Attached are photographs of SNS Foundation's participation. The communication matter on display carried the logo of Global Giving as a partner.
RECOGNITION BY MAHARASHTRA STATE RURAL LIVELIHOODS INNOVATION FORUM: In 2009, the Indian Government launched the National Rural Livelihood Mission. In sync with this mandate, every Indian state launched a state level counterpart to eradicate rural poverty in its specific geographies. Last year in May 2013, Maharashtra State Rural Livelihood Mission launched a competition to identify NGOs who had undertaken innovative measures to minimise rural poverty.
SNS Foundation's application outlined its engagement of women self help groups as labour contractors to carry out civil works of construction of check dams, deepening of wells and ponds etc. under the project in discussion. This practice is an innovative one as normally commercial contractors are engaged for such works who not only compromise on the quality of work but exploit the villagers in many ways for example staying over at their expense during the duration on the work. In this case the women groups themselves negotiated with the vendors, directly made necessary purchases of raw materials and also made wage payments. SNS Foundation transferred the funds to the accounts of women groups in respective groups. The groups were paid an additional 2% of total wage payments as their monitoring fee.
SNS Foundation in its application further outlined that its vision is to make all its 450 women self groups channels for implementation of government schemes for rural and tribal development such that exploitation at the hands of middlemen is largely negated and Power is in the Hands of the People.
Of the 350+ applications received by the Forum, 38 were selected to the final round in January 2014. SNS Foundation was one of these 38 finalists. On January 27th, in the capital of Maharashtra state, Mumbai all 38 finalist NGOs displayed their work, of which 9 were awarded. Attached are photographs of SNS Foundation's kiosk at this state level event. Though 9 have been awarded, Maharashtra State Rural Livelihood Mission would partner with all 38 finalist organizations to further the respective visions of minimising rural poverty.
This is the first report for project Enhance Access to Water for 750 Families in India in 2014, and we the team from SNS Foundation implementors of the project take this opportunity to thank our benefactors who have supported us for close to 2 years now and wish them and their families a VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR.
In our report posted on November 30, 2012, the initiative taken to improve the drinking water situation in Village Belpali was discussed. Just to recap, in Village Belpali, using Global Giving funds a 10,000 litre storage tank was constructed which was connected to the village well fitted with a pump. The water from the tank is distributed across the village through 14 stand posts positioned at strategic points.
Further in the report shared on March 12, 2013 it was reported that village Belpali has constituted an administrative body comprising mainly of women. This administrative body had decided for each of the 62 households in the village to contribute INR 40 (approx. 77 cents) towards the maintenance of this drinking water facility. With contributions coming in the village paid its first community electricity bill of INR 4000.
Thereafter, the village community of Belpali realised that the local government body at the village level, Gram (meaning village) Pachayat (a body comprising of 'five'/'panch' elected members from the village) receives funds from the Zila Parishad (at the District Level) for maintaining such essential village infrastructure. With this information the villagers approached SNS Foundation and urged the Foundation staff to facilitate communication with the local elected representative to the State Legislative Assembly. They want Ms. Nirmala Gavit, who should authorize the Zila Parishad and thereby the Gram Panchayat, to pick up recurring costs of maintainance and electricity bills that are incurred in running the drinking water project.
SNS Foundation field coordinator, Mrs. Jaswanti Chaudhari, met with Ms. Nirmala Gavit on Sunday, December 15 (photograph 1) and explained the above to her. Mrs. Gavit, known for her active and prompt response to resolving situations, has issued necessary orders to the Zila Parishad for authorising the Gram Panchayat to pay for regular maintainance costs. Attached letter from the Zila Parishad both in Marathi (local language) and translated in English, discusses this instruction.
This is a fine example of common men and women taking on governance bodies for claiming what is their right instead of shying away from power and authority.
Sharing feedback of tribal women from the villages of Karanjpana, Kharset and Jhambulpada – beneficiaries of the works undertaken to enhance access to water.
At Karanjpana : From having a 5 feet deep and less than 5 feet wide hole as their source of water, the village along with its hamlets (115 families) have a well which is 20 feet deep & 18 feet wide constructed by a Self Help Group consisting of members from the village (May 2013). Villagers feel this is most well constructed well so far where all materials used are of the best quality. With this intervention in terms of enhancing access to water, the before-after livelihood picture in the village looks the following:
a) Now the women spend no time at all in fetching water for their cattle. Cattle are taken by the well side and made to drink in buckets drawn out of the well. Earlier this task took them about 4 hours a day.
b) Fetching water to meet all household needs, women and also accompanied by their men during night time, spent a minimum of 6 hours / day. Many a times they slept and ate by the well so that they did not lose their turn
c) Women went to work in their fields around 10 / 11 am and returned at 4 PM. Now they spend about 12 hours in their fields roughly 6 AM to 6 PM. The waiting time to fetch water has reduced to almost nil and from a time when they ate and slept by the water source; on an average 2-3 hours go in fetching water to meet all household needs.
d) Being able to spend increased hours at their fields, allows them to perform weeding which gives them cattle feed. Earlier they did not have enough time to do this function; it is strongly believed that in years to come with weeding done, crop production would also improve.
e) Also, with women being able to spend less number of hours in the field, families employed laborers to work in their fields, a total expense of Rs 4 K – 5K which now is a saving.
f) Lastly, with time and energy focused on meeting water needs, certain families were not able to do sowing of Nagli, Paddy at the right time leading to land lying barren for the season.
At Jhambulpada –
a) Residents of Jhambulpada had a well (remained dry for 6 months) and a small puddle into which water trickled throughout the year
b) The check dam 12’ high and 9’ wide has now checked the flow of rain water to nearby river Damanganga
c) Here too, women now spend no time in fetching water for their cattle; the cattle visits the dam and drinks water directly from it. This was about 2 hours / day during July – December (water drawn from village well) and almost the entire day during January – June when cattle had to be taken to river Damanganga.
d) From having a near 10 –month dry period, today water is available to residents of Jhambulpada almost throughout the year. Even in the most dry period of January – June, the dam has 4 ‘ to 5’ of water
e) On an average, there has been a 50% reduction in the time women spent in fetching water for their household needs. For e.g. earlier 4 hours per day down to 2 hours. Consequently, women report to their fields at 8 AM from the earlier 12 Noon timing.
f) With increased support from women in farm work, the total farm work of a family gets completed in lesser duration allowing them time to explore other avenues of employment – migrate to Nasik for longer duration of time as construction workers or to work in grape orchards, work as farm labours in others’ fields
g) One family reported to be having an increased rice production by 3-4 quintals with enhanced access to water in the area
a) The village pond has been cleaned in between April – May 2012. This activity was carried out after almost 25 years. About 8-9 feet deep slush and mud were removed and the pond was deepened by an average of 4 feet.
b) With this cleaning and deepening activity, the foul smell emitted from the pond has ceased to exist. There is now better flow of underground water into the pond. There has also been creation of additional as well as enhancement of existing underground natural streams.
c) The net resultant effect of the cleaning and deepening of the Kharset pond is that water level in surrounding 7 wells have increased; earlier wells dried up in April but now they have water till June. Therefore one can say that actually there is actually no dry period with respect to these water sources, which earlier used to be 3-4 months. The water in these wells too gave out a foul smell which is no longer the case.
d) Earlier residents of Kharset and neighbouring village Pangulghar had no option but to visit the pond for bathing and washing needs. They often suffered from skin infections and also had their clothes emitting a foul smell. With cleaning of the pond, people no longer suffer in this fashion.
e) The cattle coming to this pond also contracted dysentery but now enjoy better health.
f) The pond is now being used for developing fish – adding to the livelihood of the villagers.
As we eagerly await the arrival of monsoon in India this year, simultaneously we are also in great hurry to hand over to residents of Village Karanjpani and 3 other nearby hamlets their gift for the approaching rainy season.
Village Karanjpani and the surrounding hamlets have a population of 115 households, approx 500-600 individuals and the cattle they own. One of the existing water sources (can be seen in the attached slide), was a 5ft deep and roughly 4ft wide hole which carried water for slightly longer duration than the village well (dries up in February).The nearest city to these villages is Nasik (abot 100 kms away) in the western state of Maharashtra, India.
With Global Giving donations of US $ 1269 and US $ 300 contribution from villagers, this 5ft hole has been deepened to 20ft and widened to have a diameter of 18ft. (Photos in attached). Presently construction of the boundary wall of the new well to be is underway. Cost of constructing the boundary wall would be borne largely out of donations received from a private trust in Nasik city as funds from Global Giving are underway.
Work is progressing with pace so as to make best possible use of the approaching monsoon rains. We thank you for the generosity you show based on nothing but humanity.
Hope you are all doing well and eagerly waiting for days to become longer as change of season knocks on our doors!!
Much awaited of all GlobalGiving Events, the Bonus Day is around the corner wherein there's the chance for all of us to strengthen the value of our donations - on Wednesday, March 13th beginning 18:30 hours IST and 9:30 AM EDT (US Time Zone), Global Giving will be matching all donations by 30%. At SNS Foundation, our collections for this Bonus Day will be used for the reconstruction of a well (currently only 5feet) in Village Karanjpani with 115 Families. More Details and an attached presentation about this village later in the report.
First a focus on how things are developing in villages which have to some extent had their water woes resolved........... Being in a position to help others does fill one with a sense of fulfillment. I am sure all of you felt the same way being able to contribute to SNS Foundation’s efforts of enhancing access to water for tribal families in rural Nasik, Maharashtra State, India. Pause……….then how would it feel to know that people you reached out to support are now being able to take charge of their own lives. I am sure it is a WOW!! With a big smile running across your face : )
Village Belpali, where your donations were used to construct a 10,000 litres drinking water tank, draw a pipeline connection from the well to the tank and have the water distributed across the village by way of stand posts now has in position a village body constituting mainly of women. This administrative body has decided for each of the 62 households in the village to contribute INR 40 (approx. 77 cents) towards the maintenance of this drinking water facility. With contributions coming in the village is now ready to pay its first community electricity bill of INR 4000 for its first month of daily operation (US $ 78) – charges incurred for daily running of the water pump for drawing water from the well to the tank. Isn’t it a sign of solidarity amongst all residents of the village – an example of Many in Body, One in Mind?
This pattern of having in position administrative bodies in the 4 other villages where interventions have been made to enhance access to water is strongly taking hold. These administrative bodies convince the households to decide on an amount for monthly contribution usually of very small denomination in between INR 10 -50 (20 cents to USD 1) with the aim of building a maintenance fund for the water structures put in place. The amounts are deposited into a bank account opened in the name of the administrative body.
With self-sustenance and self-reliance creeping into villages where the issue of lack of access to water has been largely, addressed SNS Foundation has decided to move to its next site for similar intervention – Village Karanjpani.
Village Karanjpani along with adjoining 3 small villages is inhabited by 115 families. One full-fledged well and another broken one with only 5 feet of water in it are the only two nearby sources of water for these 115 families. By February end, these two sources also largely dry up forcing the women to walk longer distances.
When SNS Foundation team visited Karanjpani in the end of January 2013, villagers urged them to support the re-construction of the broken well. A short ppt. with photographs of the broken well and the budget required for its re-construction have also been uploaded.
‘THIS BONUS DAY ON GLOBAL GIVING, WHEREIN YOUR CONTRIBUTIONS GET MATCHED BY 30% BY GLOBAL GIVING, PLEASE OPEN YOUR HEARTS TO THE RESIDENTS OF KARANJPANI’
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