Women Changemakers: The Water Warriors Who Strive to Ensure Water Supply in Their Villages

Dr. P. K. Pant
Dr. P. K. Pant
(Photo Courtesy: WaterAidIndia/Twitter)
(Photo Courtesy: WaterAidIndia/Twitter)

WaterAid India, as a part of the Women + Water Alliance, has worked to ensure regional water security by expanding the role of women and youth in improving community decision-making and water resource management.

Pranitha, in her capacity as Deputy Sarpanch of Dapori, has played an active role in improving the water supply in her village. Due to her purposeful actions, wells, soak pits, and dams were constructed, which improved local access to the precious resource.

She says, “I have been associated with the Women + Water Project since July 2019. The project has gone a long way in raising public awareness on water level maintenance, with the goal of ensuring that water scarcity becomes a thing of the past.”

The project has successfully trained 13,834 women and youth on water quality testing, and the use of field test kits (FTK), 4,067 women on participatory planning and development of village action plans, 135 women on water security planning and source sustainability, 4634 women to increase their participation in the Gram Sabha, and 185 women on being technocrats.

Sunita Raikwal, an ASHA worker from Mankund Village, was overjoyed to be associated with an initiative that helped resolve the water problem in her village. She was an active part of the village water and sanitation committee, which was formulated to aid in the operation and maintenance of tap water facilities.

She goes on to say, “The people in our village were trained by WaterAid India to sketch out the village action plan. Moreover, I was a member of the Jal Samiti and participated in water quality monitoring. We worked towards ensuring that every household has a tap water connection. It was truly a remarkable step towards bringing about a positive change in the village.”

The initiative, implemented by partners like – Samarthan, Centre for Advanced Research and Development (CARD), and National Institute of Women, Child, Youth Development (NIWCYD), and supported by WaterAid India, has helped in improving the access of communities to clean drinking water. It has been conducive to catalysing positive change at the individual and community levels, through initiatives undertaken under the purview of the Jal Jeevan Mission.

"Through the Women + Water Alliance, WaterAid India is privileged to collaborate with remarkable women changemakers like Pranitha and Sunita." Their unwavering dedication to restoring water supplies in their villages illustrates the transformative potential of grassroots activism. We are together building the way towards regional water security and sustainable development by training over 13,000 women and youth in critical skills such as water quality testing and participatory planning”, said VK Madhavan, Chief Executive, WaterAid India.

He further adds, “As we strive for inclusive growth through projects like the Jal Jeevan Mission, the voices and leadership of these women serve as guiding lights, guiding the path to a future in which clean drinking water is a right rather than a privilege. Their commitment resonates strongly with our objective to ensure continuous access to safe drinking water while enabling women to decide about the future of their communities. We are not just reducing water scarcity, but also laying the way for a brighter, more fair society."

The project focuses on ensuring continuous access to clean drinking water while enhancing the decision-making capacity of women, for the inclusive development of society. Women Changemakers like Pranitha and Sunita, as a part of the project, have rallied for the cause of curbing water shortage and improving access to potable water.

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