Village women show the way
The sheer desire to save the daily arduous hunt for water enthused women from a Madhya Pradesh village to install a water pipeline, and set an example for millions of rural women. The enterprising women of Sidhauli village in Chhindwara district managed the pipeline with only some external assistance.india Updated: Jul 10, 2003 19:16 IST
The sheer desire to save the daily arduous hunt for water enthused women from a Madhya Pradesh village to install a water pipeline, and set an example for millions of rural women.
The enterprising women of Sidhauli village in Chhindwara district, around 300 km south of Bhopal, managed the pipeline with some assistance from the central government's department of science and technology and an NGO.
The village, with a population of little over 800 people, was dependent on a well and three hand-pumps for water.
As the hand-pumps went out of order frequently, the only source of water left was the well. And the onus of fetching and storing water invariably fell on the women.
The task was quite difficult as the village is over a hill and the well 500 metres below the settlement.
"In any village of the country, women are the ones who suffer most due to scarcity of water. They have to cover long distances on foot to fetch water," said Ajay Khare of Madhya Pradesh Vigyaan Sabha, an NGO active in southern districts of the state.
"Due to this the department of science and technology decided to start some project in villages which could benefit women as far as fetching water was concerned."As the NGO was already active in Sidhauli, the village was chosen to the start the project.
"We involved women and decided to install a pump at the well and a network of pipelines in the village," Khare told IANS.
Work started in Sidhauli one-and-a-half years ago and today the villagers get water in their houses.
The department of science of technology sanctioned an amount of Rs.750,000 for the project. When the funds fell short, the villagers pooled in to see the project through.
Khare feels that with water abundantly available in the village, health and sanitary conditions in the village will now improve.
"It was found during a survey that only 11 percent of the total population of the village took bath daily. This percentage will now increase," he said.
He is confident that malnutrition, which is rampant in the village, will also be controlled. "The villagers are now using the water to develop kitchen gardens."
Thanks to the project, students at the only primary school in the village can now drink water within the school compound.
Rohit Ghosh(Indo-Asian News Service)