Just a Drop works with a number of trusted and effective local partners (who are local Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs)) in India. An important part of Just a Drop’s projects is the work these partners do in training the local communities where we are working on good WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) practices. This is just as important in preventing diseases as the installation of water and sanitation facilities.
It has been clear on recent Just a Drop project enginner visits that there is not a consistent approach adopted across all of the local partners, and that they would all benefit from a thorough training programme on and exposure to modern approaches to community mobilisation. This would in turn result in them being more able to affect WASH practice changes in the communities in which they work.
Develop a training course, based on the one developed for a World Bank training project to be delivered to Just a Drop local partners and NGOs in India. The main focus of the training would be techniques of community mobilisation.
Just a Drop’s project engineer Jim Baldwin was the main facilitator of the training. Jim has worked for over 40 years on major water and sanitation projects worldwide. Since the 1990s he has worked on capacity building, awareness creation, design and supervision of development activities in the rural water and sanitation sector. He has undertaken work for DFID, GTZ, World Bank, UNICEF and WaterAid across India.
Jim was supported on the training programme by the Indian Sociologist Chhaya Bhat from Pune, Maharashtra.
Sanitation across India is very poor with the national average for sanitation cover at 38%. Although the Indian Government has used – and continues to use – its tax resources to help alleviate this situation (and puts a large sum every year towards better drinking water supply and household sanitation) on the ground the population clings to age old cultures.
This is mainly due to a lack of understanding about the need for hygiene and sanitation and a general lack of awareness about the best way to improve their position and as a result, enjoy better health. Outside assistance has to be targeted. It must complement and support what the National and State Governments are doing. Introducing benchmark standards, new but appropriate technology and providing capacity building for the many NGOs that are helping to implement the government programmes are but a few of the ways to help.
With this in mind, a project was developed with Just a Drop’s local partner HARITIKA, based in Madhya Pradesh to improve awareness of all Just a Drop’s local partners in India in Rural Water and Sanitation. The project was sponsored by Reed Elsevier – funding a seven day package of training in September.
HARITIKA invited the local partners and a group of local Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh State based NGOs, who work closely with HARITIKA.
- To develop a standardized and more effective approach to WASH in Just a Drop’s local partners and with other NGOs in India
- This would in turn lead to better WASH practices in these communities and an even further decrease in water and sanitation related diseases
- To capacity build local partners in India and upgrade employee WASH skills (attendees will train other employees on their return from training).
The core group for the full seven days of training was 24 people. Seven participants attended from Haritika, four trainees attended from SKGM in Bihar and two from EMT in Tamil Nadu. No trainee was able to attend from the Just a Drop local partner in Andhra Pradesh due to communication problems. A further 11 NGOs provided core group trainees.
All the core group trainees attended for the full training which was extremely positive and showed how much the course was valued by the participants. It is not unusual at workshops for participants to turn up at registration and then not again till the end for a certificate.
Just a Drop’s local partner Haritika organised all the in-country logistics and provided excellent facilities for accommodation, food and transport. The training hall had ample space for all during the training and a good back-up power supply.
Full equipment was made available, including sound system and LCD projector. As the accommodation was part of the training hall complex all the trainees using the facility were happy with the standard and convenience. Training started at 0930 each morning and finished normally at about 18:00.
They arrived a day before the start of training and visited possible field villages, before deciding on Devpur Village as the field location for the training. Mrs Bhat took on the responsibility of translation of English presentations into Hindi as a number of the local NGOs felt unsure of English at first. As the training proceeded the understanding of English improved.
Training started by assessing trainees’ knowledge across the full spectrum of water supply and sanitation, health and hygiene. There were many gaps in knowledge, particularly in technical issues that were progressively addressed as the training proceeded. Trainees were also asked for their expectations from the training on day one and these were reviewed at the end. The overall feedback given by the trainees showed a high level of satisfaction and an appreciation of being exposed to this type of participatory training. Most trainees had never had this sort of opportunity before and greatly appreciated the chance to learn and improve the work carried out by their own NGO.
The first three days of training were introductory and designed to improve awareness of the issues surrounding rural water and sanitation, to develop better knowledge, to increase the ability to communicate at village level and understand the actual status of a village through use of participatory appraisal techniques. The first day of fieldwork in the chosen village showed how well the trainees had understood the methods and the reasons for such detailed data collection.
Knowledge about gender, attitude and behaviour amongst the trainees was initially low, but later, with field practice, became much better. Bringing about effective and sustained change in a village was appreciated as being much more difficult than the trainees thought and the importance of sustainability became much clearer to all.
Developing an action plan for this village was again difficult initially but with guidance the trainees began to understand important aspects that they had largely ignored in their own working approach. The need to look beneath the outer impression and find the truth became clear. Using simple techniques to triangulate data, test water quality, learn about actual yield of water sources – all of this helped them understand the realities of a village – not just the outer impression that is given.
The final day in the village was a tremendous learning process for all the trainees. They rapidly understood the importance of choosing an appropriate time and location, convenient to the village, to give important messages. They learnt that power may be available but may not be sufficient to run a digital presentation and that lack of a sound system can put people off listening, that having a back-up visual presentation is vital and practicing a presentation is very important.
The trainees learnt very fast. Most had never attempted this type of presentation before, but overall they enjoyed the experience and the exposure and took away much knowledge and learning for the future – for themselves, their NGOs and the communities they support.
Just a Drop’s local partners have a natural ability to relate to communities and do it much better than staff of government departments but they can have areas for development in technical areas. Even civil engineers in the training recognised the gaps in their technical knowledge and learnt a lot.
All the trainees left with an improved awareness of the key issues in water, sanitation, health and hygiene. They also have new and improved skills in appraisal that will help them do more sustainable and effective work in the future. All appreciated the training. Bearing in mind that they all started at different levels this was a great outcome of the training. The use of time management and periods for reflection on the learning process and even the morning period for prayer or meditation all helped create a bigger impact overall.
“The WASH training program was very useful and interesting. Before this we didn’t attend such a training programme anywhere. This training program was helpful to us to learn many things. This is some of what I learnt in the training program – how to easily analyse various problems in villages, how to test water [H2S, PH], how to give awareness to communities about how to handle clean potable water with simple low cost solutions like filtration, chlorination or a pot with a tap. We also learnt about water harvesting. We got clear knowledge about rural pan and urban pan and two pit systems.
We also learnt how to interact with the community and how to create the map of the village on their own, ensure they participate, how to handle the PRA (Participatory Rural Appraisal) tool in the community and analyse the problems in operation and maintenance of facilities and how to rectify these problems. We also got clear knowledge about gender and sex. We also learnt about CLTS (Community Led Total Sanitation).
I hope this will help me to implement my projects even better. I thank Just a Drop for arranging such a great training program. I wish the south Indian NGOs would also get such training programs conducted in future. I thank Jim Baldwin and Chaya Bhatt.” Joshee, Elshaddai’ Ministries Trust.
Sincere thanks to the Reed Elsevier World Environment Day Challenge initiative and all the companies which took part to enable this project to take place.
Date of Project: September 2013