Clean Water, Enough Water: Part 2
Think again about the consequences of not having access to water: What would you do to address the domino effect of resulting problems, as happens for many people in rural West Bengal, India?
The Samadi Community Development Program approaches this fundamental need in several ways. First, they build and repair hand pumps, which provide communities with clean water for drinking, cooking and hygiene. They provide training so that residents can keep their pumps in good working order. Second, the program’s volunteer health workers raise awareness at community meetings on the need for clean water and sanitation practices – washing hands and bodies with safe water, boiling drinking and cooking water, hygienically washing dishes and laundry – and they refer sick community members to the project’s clinic.
Third, the program builds agri-water harvesting structures to provide irrigation for fields. In 2011, five such structures enabled 175 farmers to grow crops for two and three planting seasons per year rather than one, which has entirely eliminated food insecurity and the need for day labor for these families.
The Samadi Program still has much to do. In 2012, health educators will continue to raise awareness on clean water use, and 99 additional families will benefit from three new agri-water harvesting structures. The practice of using contaminated pond water for bathing and other daily needs is still a challenge, and the program is exploring other ways to catch and store adequate amounts of clean water.
World Water Day has been a time to acknowledge that not everyone is blessed with access to clean water, and to recognize the importance of a sustainable supply of fresh water for the world’s population. Episcopal Relief & Development is proud to support initiatives such as the Samadi Community Development Program and its efforts to address health, poverty and hunger through access to clean water.
Saranga Jain is a Program Officer with Episcopal Relief & Development.
Photos: Right, a community stands atop an agri-water harvesting structure in West Bengal, with dammed water at left and agricultural fields on the right. Left, the field of a farmer utilizing an agri-water harvesting structure can produce two to three crops a year instead of just one, helping ensure a steady food supply.