WaterAid in India – more than taps and toilets

26 Feb

The water, sanitation and health education model that WaterAid use is extremely effective and understood by most. The WaterAid operation in India is different – WaterAid do not directly fund projects, instead WA India and their (up to 50 no.) partners use influence to “lever” funding from central & regional Govt. water and sanitation programmes. Partners use their influence, contacts, expertese, local knowledge, prioritisation of community needs to secure funding for projects.

This, combined with community action, ie. village action groups (management committees / womens groups / youth groups / school groups) who provide the drive and commitment for change in their community.

When these two factors merge the results can be a potent combination, the results of which I witnessed in the post intervention visits described in my blog.

The coordination and management of these factors by the WA India team is complex but very effective – advocacy at it’s best.

From a personel point of view I had only previously considered the drive for improved sanitation was essentially for health reasons. In India, the key priority is womens dignity and prevention of sexual assault (or worse).

None of the communities we visited wallowed in self pity, were all positive, proud, knew what they wanted / needed, and why, realised the importance of water sanitation and health education and moreover all knew the importance of a good education was a passport to a better quality of life.

Again I would like to acknowledge and thank the WA India team and Partners (in particular the inspirational AARAMBH) for their amazing work and for being such good hosts during the past week.

Finally thanks again to the WaterAid staff on our trip and my fellow water industry travellers / supporters. Our lives have been enriched by the experience.

Andy Blanks

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