In 2011, Just a Drop – in collaboration with Haritika – constructed a number of check dams and provided a piped water supply and latrines to the villages of Manpura and Jagasya in rural India. In March 2012, Just a Drop’s Project Officer, Geoff Pook, travelled to each village to carry out a review of the projects.
Manpura and Jagasya villages are located in one of the poorest and most deprived areas in India, Madyha Pradesh. The majority of the village workers are farmers and many have their own small plots for their own use. Housing consists of a mixture of local mud bricks or rough concrete and the roads are predominantly little more than dirt tracks.
Many of the communities living in Manpura and Jagasya belong to the ‘Untouchable’ or Dalit castes. Branded as impure from the moment of birth, they are outcasts – people considered too impure to rank as worthy human beings and as such, they are shunned from society and denied any form of social welfare.
It’s not surprising then, that the water and sanitation coverage in these outlying hamlets is virtually non-existent. To compound this, the few available surface water sources – such as rivers and impounded reservoirs – dry up each year during the dry season, becoming nothing more than muddy streams or ponds.
In addition, the lack of any formal sanitation leads to open defecation in the fields. This is of significant risk to women and young children as instances of physical and sexual attacks are well documented.
Manpura is a village of approximately 600 people who were provided with materials for 80 latrines and connections to the main water supply. As a result of the project, the village now has the following:
- A 12 metre well, submersible solar-powered pump and high level storage tanks which together provide a piped distribution system allowing villagers to have connections in their own homes or yards – a luxury never experienced before
- Each household now also has its own toilet facilities
- The four existing check dams were repaired and are now functioning efficiently; the surface water is available for agricultural use, irrigation, animal watering and improving ground water recharge, thus making the wells more sustainable
- The water storage tanks provide the village with a 70,000 litre storage capacity – equivalent to at least 10 days’ supply
- Haritika health education department reports a 60% decrease in cases of diarrhoea
- Women are reporting a reduction in genito-urinary infections, as well as reduced back-pain from carrying water
- School attendance in girls has increased by 40% as a result of a reduction in both the amount of time spent carrying water and the incidence of water related illnesses
This project was similar to Manpura, but on a slightly smaller scale. Instead of river bed check dams, the mass storage element was the excavation and de-silting of an existing man-made lake and reinforcement of the mass earth dam.
As a result, the 300 inhabitants of Jagasya village are now able to benefit from the following:
- New sanitation facilities which have improved the personal safety of women and girls through access to a home-based latrine
- The lake has proved to be beneficial for agricultural use and ground water recharge
- Villagers are also able to fish from the lake which provides supplements to their daily diet
Project date: June 2011