Frank Water has volunteered to sponsor VJNNS to construct Gravity Fed Water Supply System (GFWSS) for a set of villages which are suffering from water scarcity.
Clean and safe water is unheard of for the tribal villagers of Chinthapalli Mandal. They solely depend upon the downstream water from where they draw water not just for domestic purposes but also for drinking. The water is collected at a spring source and all ablutions take place there itself. Unhygienic as it is, it sure does not aid to good sanitation practices either. Women and girl children spend most time of their day in travelling long distances to bring back water for their family. This restricts them from making any worthwhile financial contribution to the economic needs of the family. Villages that are in the interiors of the forest area have no access to water supply systems from rivers/canals. Available bore wells yield water that is high in iron content, and thus cannot be consumed. Dug wells get flooded with mud water during rainy season and dry up during summer. This problem is prevalent in the entire belt of tribal villages in the Eastern Ghats of Visakhapatnam district.
With Frank Water providing a lending hand, approximately 150-200 families constituting 700+ people will be benefitted. Based on the justification plea from villages, VJNNS shortlists the village where GFWSS implementation has to be prioritized.
VJNNS has been actively working on this front for the last 4 decades. They conduct a feasibility study while capturing the village dynamics to draw a Micro Level Plan (MLP) which is further used to analyse the situation to provide water. It has been the mission of VJNNS to facilitate clean and safe drinking water at the door steps of tribal villagers. With the supply of water, VJNNS intends to educate the villagers on safe & hygienic sanitation practices. Over the years, various organizations like CARE, ARGHYAM, NALCO have supported VJNNS in constructing GFWSS. Recently; Infosys Foundation has come up with a sponsorship to scale similar model in 100+ villages. It may be noteworthy to mention that Government (ITDA) has also shown interest in VJNNS GFWSS model and planning to implement the same in several villages.
The highlight of this program apart from the construction of GFWSS is that it provides training on the utilization of water while educating people on sanitary and hygiene practices. Villagers are involved in the program right from the scratch even as a Micro Level Plan (MLP) is created. They construct the system all by themselves with the help of skilled labour. It is their voluntary labour contribution that makes this project unique. Women Empowerment is also being achieved as the lady/girl child gets to contribute the amount of time spent on fetching water towards the economic upliftment of the family.
A Village Development Committee (VDC) is formed in each village where one representative from each family is part of a 10 member group. Out of these 10 people, one person is elected to be part of the VDC core team. VDC also collects and keeps record of Village Development Fund (VDF) every month to ensure sufficient corpus is accumulated for maintenance purposes. All the VDC members ensure that 100% contribution is received from all the villagers during all stages of development. For the construction of GFWSS, villagers would also be contributing their voluntary labour which is called ‘Shramadan’.
Post construction periodic monitoring activities are conducted to ensure the sustainability of the project. Women member contributing to Socio - Economic upliftment of the household, safe hygiene and sanitation practices, better health and other development activities are indicators that are monitored by VJNNS - in red / amber / green to monitor progress. Periodic data collected is used to analyse the areas of improvement and focus more on the red and amber areas. Rigorous training programmes are introduced to ensure that the program yields best results. Beneficiaries are part of the evaluation and are informed about the areas of improvements and they come up with strategies to improvise the same while VJNNS overlooks this discussion and facilitates it. Internal audits are done periodically to evaluate the project. i.e, planned versus actual study. Financial audits are done towards the end of the programme by External auditors.
GFWSS is most surely a self sustained programme. The system does not require heavy maintenance and is managed by the VDC members themselves. Systems built by VJNNS more than 15 years ago are still running seamlessly. While source drying up in summer is the only issue that has been reported, VDC by themselves have come up with a regulatory system to monitor water usage during summer. Though water during summer is sufficient, precautionary measures are taken to ensure sustainability.