Water access empowers women and communities

Through  CIDA/HAVE (Help a Village Effort;helpavillageeffort.org) water/sanitation projects in West Bengal and Andra Pradesh India, as many as 60,000 villagers, through the drilling of wells, gained access to clean water. These were 3-year projects partnered with fabulous local Indian NGOs.

Borewel and tank for 1000 villagers in Andra Pradesh

But water security is only part of the story! A Village Advisory Committee was established in each village.   The Committee determined placement of well, maintenance, water/hygiene education, bank accounts and received related training. Women were significant members of the these committees, often in leadership roles.

 

Narayandari, West Bengal

 

With the reduction in time spent on water collection, the women were able to devote more time to family, kitchen gardens, and home-based income generating activities such as rice-processing, tailoring, or hair processing.  The children had time to attend school.

 

Note hair processing

All the villagers, but especially the women, were not only thankful for the water but truly empowered by their role in owning and maintaining their new wells. The dignity and status that come with this empowerment are evident.

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