Safe Drinking Water

Tikratola is a small part of Bhagdu village in Mandla District of Madhya Pradesh that is home to about 80 families. The majority of these families are scheduled tribe (ST) and agriculture is the only choice for livelihood in this area. The people of Tikratola face many challenges in their daily lives and have difficulty meeting their basic needs. Like so many communities in India, they have been unable to make much improvement in their standard of living, despite the many resources and programs available to them through the local government.

The people of Tikratola began partnering with SAFP through the SPED III Program and Jabalpur Social Service Society in 2011. The community actively participated in the process of gathering information about their village, analyzing the key issues they face, and planning for solutions. Through SPED III intervention, they also developed awareness about the importance of forming Self-Help Groups, accessing government schemes, and demanding their basic human rights.

As they progressed in their planning, the community identified drinking water as their most important issue. They were collecting water daily from Mandratola hamlet, which is about 2 kms away from the village, or digging a pit near the stream to get water for drinking. This water was unsafe for drinking, but the community continued this practice since they did not have any other water source available. Due to the consumption of unsafe water, they were victims of many health problems like diarrhea, vomiting, skin infection, typhoid, cholera, and stomach pain. The children and elderly people in the village were the most vulnerable groups for these diseases.

The community originally planned to solve this problem by cleaning and deepening the nearby pond with a contribution of Rs. 3000/- ($60 Cdn) from SAFP and CIDA. However, due to the severity of the drinking water problem, it was decided that a better solution was to repair the well in the village. The Rs. 3000/- was not sufficient for this project; the work was estimated at about 15 to 20 thousand rupees to make the necessary repairs to the well. It was discussed in a community meeting and villagers were motivated to put their need forward to the local government and ask for some help. The local government representative, called the Sarpanch, was aware of the seriousness of the problem and he agreed to support the community in completing the work.

The problem with the well was that the rain water was entering into it directly, which made the water unsafe for drinking. Therefore, the goal of the work was to stop the rain water from flowing into the well. The community contributed two days of labour towards the project and the Sarpanch contributed one trolley of sand and some of the labor charges. From SAFP’s contribution, cement and stone were purchased and the charges for a diesel pump were covered. The total contribution from the government was Rs. 6000.00 ($120 Cdn), with the community contributing Rs. 8000.00 ($160 Cdn) and SAFP contributing Rs 3000.00 as planned. Altogether, Rs. 17000.00 ($340 Cdn) was spent on the project and 25 families are now safely using water from the well for drinking.

Many thanks to Jabalpur Social Service Society for their committed work and for sharing this story of success!