Water to Power
Thus, it was obvious to start work with the marginalised community and help them to come out of their current status. Dharti began with formation of various community based organisations which included the formation Yuva Mandal (Youth Group), Mahila Mandal, Kishori Mandal and Children group. The main strategy behind formation of these people’s organisations in the village was to create a platform for decision making around issues that impinged upon the poor and also to bring about the required change on hygienic behaviour in the village through these CBO’s.
Dharti as its strategy carried and organised capacity building programmes which included the government functionaries like the ASHA worker, Aanganwadi worker, the MPW, the ANM, and Teachers of the schools. Dharti also invested in building the capacity of the local panchayats and of the existing Village Water and Sanitation Committee (VWSC) members. Dharti also identified some active members from the youth group and also some members of the VWSC and trained them on repairing of the hand pumps. This was done to build skills which can latter serve as another livelihood skill for them. Dharti also oriented the PRI members on their roles and responsibilities regarding Water Sanitation and Hygiene.
Dharti took up the issue of sanitation to begin with. It supported the construction of five toilets as models to motivate the community to construct more toilets. Dharti provided monetary incentives to the tune of Rs 1,000 per toilet. The first set of families who took the benefit were members of the VWSC committee. They were also provided with hygiene mascots and they were expected to motivate others through use of IEC materials so as to improve the sanitation behaviour among the people. But soon the realisation came that promoting toilet could be meaningful only when availability of water is assured.
Dharti also had carried out initiatives in installing, with support from WaterAid, roof water harvesting system at the school of Nayapura. This was done as the water level in the school hand pump falls during summer season making it run dry and children and teachers suffer. Teachers and students have been much aware about the maintenance of this infrastructure and have been taking care of this structure.