Water to Power
Time saved is money earned: The time consumed by women and men in fetching water from distant hand pumps and standing in long queue has now virtually stopped. This saved time is used in other activities. Working under MNREGA is now possible. Earlier about 20 families could not go to work because of burden of fetching water. Today out of them 16 families are going. Women who were also over occupied are now investing time in agricultural activities. They now have time to give to their children.
Working with marginalised community and that too when another community is powerful is not easy. Dharti has made this possible. As it did the work to bring in resources and amenities for the marginalized community, it did face problems. These added up as learning for them. Some of the important sets of learning are:
Include not only the excluded: When the intervention was being planned there was a power imbalance. An important learning is that neglecting one community and working for the other which is often a strategy adopted only increases the bitterness. It is important that organisations should choose to work with both but should not compromise on the basics. It should not allow the dominant group to snatch or tilt balance towards itself. In this intervention when the dominant group realised that it gains from being equal, it also started working and did not create any form of resistance. The villagers taught this lesson to the organisation that one can have terms and conditions to work.
One must always have a plan but this plan should not be water tight: Planning should be flexible at certain fronts. The plan for finance and time should not be always water tight. There should be some degree of flexibility in the plan with some alternative strategies in place in case something does not happen as planned. As in this case, the community feud resulted in disconnection of the earlier electricity connection and the requirement for having expenditure for a fresh connection. This was never thought to happen. Probably, earmarking some funds as exigencies would be a wise decision.
One should accept things as it happens but what happens is always for good: The community feud did play the mischief. But it also brought the marginalised community together. They knew for sure that this probably will help them show up that they can also do. In the earlier instance they could take out a cash contribution of Rs 10,000 but in this case they could take out Rs 34,000 from their own. The community knew that probably if they do not come together now, they would have to silently suffer.
Community participation and monitoring is important as it brings in transparency: The success achieved at Nayapura could be achieved because of community participation and constant engagement of the community in monitoring. The community shouldered many responsibilities. Community participation had ensured transparency in the system and with the community directly involved there was no disbelief on the organisation. It was they who took most of the decisions.
Northern MP is known for being feudalistic. It is here the dominance is exercised beyond the concept of organic purity and impurity. Dharti tackled this problem of dominance and oppression by bettering the access to basic civic amenities like sanitation and water. This actually helped the oppressed, to gain confidence and self dignity. This would have not been possible without the facilitation of the promoting NGO. Convergence with government schemes also can get catalysed if the effort of the community and the NGO takes to these strategies. This intervention is a typical one wherein the demand and supply gap was filled through the facilitation of the NGO and the determination of the community. This also showed to trigger the pace of development and its replication in the vicinity.