WaterAid India’s east regional office works in the states of Jharkhand and Odisha. The programme aims at strengthening the governance system and increasing government responsiveness towards WASH rights of the most marginalised people. We work closely with eight partners who manage nine projects.
In Jharkhand we are working in the six districts of Santhal Pargana region which is tribal dominated and poor in water, sanitation and hygiene. In Odisha, our work is spread over five districts. Three districts are in the coastal region and two districts are in western part of the state, one of the most neglected regions of Odisha.
Though we work on integrated WASH issues, our focus in each region takes into consideration the priority issues within WASH in the area. Our effort towards making communities open defecation free (ODF) by accelerating Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) is present in all our interventions.
In Jharkhand, the state government has recognised us as a key support and knowledge partner. Our school WASH programme here is based out of Pakur and Dumka districts. The programme implemented by our partner in 1,029 schools of Pakur and 4,320 schools of Dumka is supplementing the state government’s campaign to make it effective in the two districts. We are also using the programme as an entry point to ensure access to WASH facilities for the rural communities in the areas by influencing children, their families and the authorities. Together with Right to Education forum we are campaigning in six districts of Santhal Pargana to demand and promote WASH standards in schools.
The east regional office has collaborated with the government, Water and Sanitation Programme of the World Bank and UNICEF for rural sanitation under the Namami Ganga programme in Sahibganj district of Jharkhand.
Our School WASH intervention in Puri district of Odisha is spread across all the 79 schools under the municipality. Puri being a coastal district is vulnerable to disasters like cyclone and flood. Saline ingression in groundwater is a major challenge. Considering the threats pertaining to WASH we are intervening in the area from a disaster risk reduction perspective. We work closely with the community here in developing their coping mechanism and creating disaster-resistant WASH models. We are advocating with the government to scale-up the resistant models in all the coastal areas.
Nuapada, one of the western districts of Odisha, is marred by underdevelopment and deprivation. It has one of the highest number of habitations – 905 from 2,352— contaminated by fluoride beyond permissible limits. Our focus here is to build awareness among the community about fluoride contamination and to assist both community and government in developing alternative sources of drinking water, especially piped-water supply.
We focus on menstrual hygiene management in five blocks of Ganjam district in Odisha. The district is notorious for the lowest health indicators in the state for adolescent reproductive sexual health. This is due to high migration compounded by social taboo. We are making efforts to break the silence around menstruation and stress on menstrual hygiene as part of greater hygiene behaviour practices. We are also empowering girls so that they can claim rights over their body and reproductive health.
Our focused intervention on rural sanitation is in the Barkote block of Deogarh district. It is one of the most backward districts in Odisha and represents the upper hilly terrain of the state. Due to tribal population and remote location the district faces the political and developmental apathy, which includes WASH as well. We are making efforts to make the block ODF.
Achievements so far
- We have reached 121008 people with water, 138656 with sanitation and 213722 with hygiene from April 2014 to September 2015.
- Our work on inclusive toilet design options in Jharkhand and Odisha has been accepted by the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Government of India and has found a place in the Ministry’s website.
- In collaboration with the Jharkhand government, we commissioned a study to assess the status and quality of utilisation of the funds released by drinking water and sanitation department for village water and sanitation committees. The study recommendations are being used to consider future fund releases.
- The School WASH programme has developed a hygiene education module in an effort to standardise hygiene education sessions up to class 9. Both in Jharkhand and Odisha, a hygiene monitoring system in schools has also been introduced through the combination of hygiene monitoring board and a hygiene monitoring card. These tools are being used by the child cabinet and the school management committees on a monthly basis for monitoring hygiene indicators.