L’état ivoirien a construit très peu d’ouvrages d’approvisionnement en eau potable dans les villages de la Côte d’Ivoire dont le district de Yamoussoukro. Situé au centre de la côte d’ivoire, dans la région des lacs, Yamoussoukro est le deuxième district des deux districts de côte d’ivoire dont le premier est celui d’Abidjan.La particularité de ce district de cinq(5) grande entités de cinq(5) de plus 3809 km2 est essentiellement composée d’entités rurales.
En raison des financements inexistants dans le secteur de l’eau en milieu rural en faveur des populations dont la situation précaire est mise à jour après le regroupement des petits villages en gros villages, devenus villages modernes avec un nombre croissant d’habitants et le flux préoccupant des déplacés du à la situation de crise que vit la côte d’ivoire depuis 2002 les populations sont exposées à des toutes sortes de risque vu qu’elles consomment tout ce qu’elles trouvent en leur possession comme eau.
Au vu de ce contact, FCIEX a mené une recherche sur l'analyse de l'eau des marigots en milieu rural dont un documentaire à été réalisé à cet effet et présenté au forum alternatif mondial de l’eau en mars 2005 à Genève.
Tout au long de l’étude menée, il nous a été proposé par la majorité des femmes soit un pourcentage de 90% que leur souhait est que les valeurs traditionnelles locales soient prises en compte pour la réduction de la pauvreté dans le monde féminin et qu’un programme d’éducation soit mise sur pied pour leur éducation intégrale sur les problèmes liés à l’eau et son utilisation en milieu rural.
Les femmes évaluées par notre enquête révèlent que si nous réalisons des services d’approvisionnement en eau potable (hydraulique villageoise, château d’eau pompe à eau etc.…, il faut aussi leur trouver les moyens pour payer les factures; ce qui veut dire qu'il faut leur creer ou trouver les ressources (activités generatrices de revenu) pour pouvoir payer les factures. Il ya aussi que elles perdent beaucoup de temps dans un fil de 4h à 12h au minimumsoit 8heures arrêtées à attendre une bassine d'eau soit 20 littres d'eau pour une famille de 10 personnes. elles ne peuvent pas aller poursuivre leurs travaux champêtres. Elles peuvent être exposées aux problemes de nourritures (famine). L'enquête à demontré qu'il faut plutôt proteger les marigots et les puits par la construction des ceintures de protection pour empecher le ruisselement des eaux usées dans les eaux des marigots et puits à l'utilisation de la consomation locale dans les foyers des villages.inculquer une culture d’éducation sur l’eau et l’environnement pour préserver leur santé et gérer les services qu’ils ont déjà en leur sein parce que, les populations penses que tout ce qui est publique n’a pas de propriétaire et n’est pas bien entretenu.
Elles nous ont dit ceci :
"Nous sommes fatiguées d’être transformées sans cesse sans solutions alternatives positives durables pour nous les pauvres paysannes. construisez nous des citernes traditionelles pour recueillir l'eau de puits et cloturez nos puits que nous creusons nous même dans nos bafonds (marigots)".
Cette approche ciblée participative viendra en appui aux initiatives prévues dans le secteur de l’eau en augmentant leur efficacité, la qualité, la quantité, réduira également les taux de mortalité, l’absentéisme et la pauvrete de la femme vivant en milieu rural. Cette approche assurera également un environnement protecteur aux enfants, aux femmes et à la population en générale.
Ce etude vise uniquement les villages et les campagnes. L'application de l'etude reduira la mortalité des populations vulnérables affectées par les maladies des eaux usées consommées, en particulier les enfants affectées par les diarrhées, les vers, et les femmes, principales utilisatrices de l’eau, les populations et les communautés vivant des situations précaires.
Water policy in Kenya recognises use for drinking purposes, but does not address its growing demand and competing uses. In rural areas, water resources are used for a combination of basic human needs and productive purposes. These economic activities such as vegetable gardens, cattle farming, beer brewing amongst others, are highly dependent on reliable and adequate water supply (Nicol, 2000). Water serves in a wide range of productive uses to secure food and non-food income for rural households. It is a productive asset for the poor and an economic good, which, can be combined with other assets to generate financial and non-financial livelihood benefits (Mokgope & Butterworth, 2001). The aim of this study was to assess how the local community make their livelihood choices, determine the role water plays in these choices and how it affects their incomes and their food security.
The study area is located in Eastern Province of Kenya covering the districts of Machakos, Makueni, Kitui and Mwingi, with a population of 2.5 million people scattered over an area of 44,680 km² (Moresmau & Hanne, 2004). Their main source of income is subsistence agriculture. Unfavourable climatic conditions in the region are one of the factors leading to frequent food shortage and increasing poverty. The Integrated Natural Resource Management Project in Ukambani (INRMU) funded by the Belgian Technical Cooperation (BTC) in collaboration with the Government of Kenya’s was chosen as the entry point for the study.
The survey was carried out in January 2005 in Machakos and Makueni districts.The household was the unit of analysis as it is the basis of livelihood economic activities, resource allocation and utilization. 27 households in the project and 30 outside the project were sampled. Data was collected using semi-structured questionnaires and focus group discussion (Ochieng, 2005).
The main occupation of the sample population is farming (80.7%) followed by salaried employment (12.3%) and trading (7.0%). 82% of the households own land, with the average ownership being 3.6 acres.
Type of water access, storage capacity, water expenses and participation in a water activity was significantly (p<0.1) different between the households in and those not in the project. The type of water access is the best distinguishing water use characteristic. The source of water, type of water access, storage capacity and monthly water expenditure had a significant (p<0.10) influence on household choice to participate in productive water use. The distance from water source was not significantly different (p>0.10) and does not influence household’s choice to engage in productive water use.
Most household have communal water access compared to private water points. Majority of households with private water points (92%) participate in productive water use with (83%) of them participating in BTC project compared to 51% with communal access who take part in productive water use (table 4). This agree with the findings of Hope et al. (2003), in a study in a rural community in South Africa, in which they found a positive association between the ability to involve in irrigation of vegetables and owning private water-supply.
Only 37.5% of households with community water projects are engaged in productive water use. Thus some households despite being in the BTC project are yet to derive any benefits and are not involved in productive water use. Reasons for this include inadequate water storage capacity, and inability to raise cost-sharing component for participation in the project. Households may be involved in none water-related or water-intensive livelihood options such as preparation of snacks or beer brewing for sale.
The cost of water depends on the household water use and collection strategy. Households participating in income related water activity incur relatively higher water expenses. High cost of water during the dry season, discourage participation in income related water activity. Mokgope & Butterworth (2001) in their study on rural water-supply and productive uses in South Africa found a similar problem and stated that this affected households’ participation in water activities.
The region is susceptible to frequent water shortages. It’s unclear why several households have no storage capacity and get water on a daily basis which is inefficient, laborious and time consuming. It’s probable that this is caused by inadequate capital to install storage facilities. Those with ability to pump water participate in water dependant economic activity and have large storage capacities. Households who harvest rain water have also invested on storage facilities. Water storage capacity does influence household water utilisation pattern.
Households generate income by using water for selected productive uses like vegetable production, livestock production and water sales. The primary productive water use activity was crop production (46 %). The large variation in incomes from vegetable cropping may probably be attributed to the irrigation technique, the type of vegetable grown and targeted market. Encouraging export crops require proper infrastructure, proper storage facilities and enabling marketing policies. Although vegetable production show an important contribution to the incomes of the households in the area, its sustainability and impact on poor households require further investigation.
Income of the households in the project and households participating in water activity were significantly (p<0.05) higher having a mean monthly income of KES 13605.9 while households outside the project had a mean of KES 6489.4.
The most preferred methods of irrigation were drip, furrow and manual irrigation. Those using drip irrigation are 17.5% indicating low adoption rate for this water saving technology. Drip irrigation showed higher water use efficiency, thus water quantity per se, may not be as critical in productivity as opposed to the efficiency in its utilisation. Fewer households use drip irrigation as its installation is costly and the skill of installation is beyond the means of the average and poorer households.
Unexpectedly, 77.2% and 75.4% stated that high cost of water and low incomes respectively are not constraints to household water utilisation. It is probable that water at this moment is not fully priced to reflect its demand and value.
This rural community views water as a productive asset and is engaging in on-farm income related water activities. Off-farm activities are limited/less favoured. Private water access influence participation in a water related activity compared to communal access. Knowledge on water harvesting and storage techniques is important since water storage capacity influences household participation in productive water use. The absolute amount of water used has no significant effect on incomes but rather the water use efficiency.
Water utilisation is hampered by inadequate water storage facilities, poor water harvesting techniques and limited skill or opportunities in water income activities. Enhanced productivity is undermined by poor infrastructure, unstable prices, poor access to market and inadequate market information.
This study shows that
- Private water access policy is likely to enhance productive water use.
- Policies that promote efficient water use technologies can enhance household productivity
- Marketing infrastructure and information is key to sustainable household productive water use
There is need to:
- Evaluate optimal options for on-farm and off-farm productive water use
- Assess opportunities for enhancing the participation of the poorest households in projects with cost sharing components.
- Identify policies and constraints that affect adoption of technologies with efficient water use.
- Determine the role of gender in household livelihood in relation to productive water use
Hope, R.A., Dixion, P-J., Von Maltitz, G., 2003. The Role of Improved Domestic Water Supply in livelihoods and Poverty Reduction in Limpopo province, South Africa, in International Symposium on water ,poverty and productive uses at household level, 21-23 January, Muldersdrift, South Africa, p. 94-108.
Mokgope, K. and Butterworth, J. A., 2001. Rural water supply and productive use: A Rapid Survey in SandRiver Catchment. WHIRL working paper (4), p.1-21.
Moresmau, V. and Hanne, P., 2004. Efficiency Use of Water in Ukambani-Kenya. A report by UNESCO and BTC-Kenya. Primex printers Ltd, Nairobi, Kenya. .p.28.
Nicol, A., 2000. Adopting a Sustainable Livelihoods Approach to Water Projects. Implication for policy and practice. ODI working paper (133). LondonUK.
Ochieng, N.C., (2005). Improved Domestic Water Utilization and Livelihood in Rural Kenya: MSc Thesis.GhentUniversity.
One dollar equals KES75
Consela Ochieng, Belgium (email@example.com)
This study was undertaken in Chipinge District in Zimbabwe during the period December 2004-February 2005. It focuses on Manzvire Village which is located approximately 85 kilometres from Chipinge town, along the Mutare-Chiredzi town highway in Ward 22. At the time of this study, about 514 households were in Manzvire, the majority ndau-speaking people. According to Mrs. Mabuyana, an active Village Committee Worker, about 289 households had access to individual Blair toilets and 180 had access to pit latrines. At least 45 households were said to have no access to any form of decent sanitation but were allowed temporary access to their neighbor’s facilities. In the village, there are 4 primary schools and 1 secondary school; 2 clinics and the Manzvire business centre. In Manzvire, HIV/AIDs and rural/urban migration means that at least 80% of the households are female or orphan-headed.
The researcher conducted interviews and discussion using an appreciative inquiry approach to assess multiple uses of water and peoples’ preparedness to manage available water sources. This involved holding discussions with project stakeholders including UNICEF personnel, the Rural District Council (RDC), Ministry of Health, AREX, DNR, and community and District Water Supply and Sanitation Sub-Committee members. Focus group discussions revealed how women felt about their involvement in all developmental spheres in their locality and how they had been previously marginalized.
Other interviews with water point committee members and girl children helped to give an understanding of the norms and perceptions of how men and women share roles and responsibilities and in which type of collective action they are engaged. A feminist approach was used to examine the patriarchal and andocentric power structures in the village and the empowerment framework to assess changes in these power structures from different perspectives. Communities were able to indicate the allocation of tasks within their family and how they use water sources available to them.
Water sources and uses
There is no surface water in Manzvire village except for the SaveRiver, 16km away. People use boreholes and shallow wells as water supply sources. The village has 10 boreholes with at least 8 reported to be functional. The village has 10 boreholes with at least 8 reported to be functional. During community meetings, respondents, particularly women attributed naturally occurring water like the Save river to God. However, men, especially the elderly and the traditional leaders known as Mutape attributed river water to ancestors and power to control its uses was heavily vested in their Chief. It was quite interesting to note that ownership of man-made sources like boreholes was perceived as belonging to the community. As such, both men and women did frequent maintenance and timely repairs of the boreholes. They showed their willingness to pay to have improved water sources. This in itself is a clear testimony that the community-based management concept has indeed changed the mindset of the people. This is unlike in some areas where the communities still perceive boreholes as belonging to the government or donor agencies such as Plan International or World Vision and they are still very reluctant even to repair in the event that it breaks down. While the majority of the people expressed their willingness to pay for the establishment, operation and maintenance of water points, there was a general agreement that there were those unable to pay but could contribute in one way or the other. This was particularly the case with those advanced in age.
Classification of water uses
Villagers classified their water uses in the following categories:
- Domestic: drinking, cooking, bathing, livestock watering, backyard gardening and laundry.
- Productive: brick making, cooperative gardening, construction, and sugar cane production
Except for the Save river, all other water sources were within close proximity of most homes. In many homes, especially the female-headed ones, it was revealed that they needed water for both domestic and productive purposes. Focus group discussions showed that use of available water was highly gendered. For example, the interest of men was mainly on having water for their livestock and construction. However, other water uses were cited as beer making and baptism for example, along the Save river. People also get fish from the river, which they claimed formed part of their nutritional base and they also eke a living through the sell of fish. Women felt that accessibility of water points was very important to them like one woman pointed out; “ We no longer have the daily burden of walking about eight kilometers to get water”, . “We can now devote much of this time to our families and other productive activities such as gardening, which forms our daily livelihoods” (water point committee member, echoed in support of the previous speaker). About 70% of the girls interviewed, their daily uses of water were just similar to those of their mothers. Both boys and girls also indicated that water was very important for sanitation. They explained at their schools, there are now pour–flush toilet systems. As such, it was their responsibility to take water to their schools every day for cleaning toilets.
Contrary to the above, the youth interviewed expressed their interests in using the Save river as a swimming place, where they could spend the day, meeting friends and playing. On whether this was approved by their parents, one respondent sad, “ our parents do not like it but swimming is our hobby” reasons cited by about 80% of those parents interviewed were that many youth have drowned in the river and there was also possible contamination of diseases like bilharzia.
On whether there were any restrictions on the use of water for productive use, the response was that anyone who wanted to use water for productive purposes was not limited so long he/she pays. However, sources used were those boreholes which were reported to have salty water. It is also quite interesting to note that there is no a limit to water for domestic purposes. The community views water as a basic human right, and every family was entitled to use the water but was supposed to contribute in one way or the other to sustain the available sources. However, boreholes were locked at night to avoid poachers and free riders . Free riders were those people who were not willing to contribute but wanted to use the water. Poachers were singled out as those people from other villages who would come at night with wheel-barrows and scorch carts to fetch water from this village. For each borehole, there was a water point caretaker, who was solely responsible for locking and opening to allow people access during the day.
Headwork construction has also allowed domestic animals to drink the water flowing when people are pumping water for drinking or other household uses. Some families have also planted banana fruit trees around water points
Gender roles and responsibilities
In 2003, UNICEF contributed approximately US $4,000 to the district for the rehabilitation of water supply sources, mainly bore-wells. Given high external contracting costs, the RDC adopted a community-based programming approach and targeted funds for community mobilization, training workshops, and the training of local well sinkers and headwork builders.
Women in Manzvire village were identified as key beneficiaries to receive training in water system operations and maintenance since many of the men who had received community training earlier had left the village to take up better paying jobs and some spent much time on drinking sprees. As a result, women suffered most in times of water shortages due to breakdowns of the boreholes.
Initially, in the male-headed households, the husbands felt threatened and disapproved their wives’ involvement in project meetings. UNICEF held an awareness-raising workshop in the village, outlining the benefits of training both men and women, which helped men begin to accept that their wives were equally important agents of change. Women were subsequently trained to ensure prompt repairs and proper maintenance of boreholes. They received skills training in latrine building and pump maintenance and tools and took on the role of mobilizing other communities in the same Ward.
Another challenge the women faced in the initial days was that the long traditional dress for Zimbabwean women inhibited work for the latrine builders, and overalls and work-suits were considered to be for men only. However, frequent community meetings with UNICEF and the RDC slowly changed the attitude of both men and women in the village and dressing code was loosened so that women could wear work-suits and overalls during construction or any other work like repairing boreholes.
Planning, selection of appropriate technology and site selection of new water points, as well as upgrading and rehabilitation of existing systems is increasingly based on both men and women’s participation. Women select technology they want and site locations. An elder remarked during one of the meetings, “I t is the women who spend much of the time with this resource and we saw it fit for them to have a bigger share when it comes to decisions”.
Once the women were able to become involved, however, they found that although they had increased power, their workload increased significantly. They still had to carry out their traditional reproductive and productive work, and now were also working on latrines and boreholes while some men continued to spend considerable time drinking. The men finally agreed to help decrease women’s extra burden by taking on responsibility for protecting water points from animals by fencing and putting cement around some deep wells.
At the household level, women dealt with the workload issues by working out a collective roster in which they assigned water and sanitation duties and tasks to each household for designated water points. This included regular cleaning and clearing of open drains to curb water logging to discourages mosquito breeding.
The women also established savings and credit clubs with revolving funds to purchase spare parts locally available to replace worn out parts and greasing oil. Some clubs also had male members. The women also established a cooperative garden. Initially each household made a monthly contribution from the sales of their vegetables and other produce from this garden. Husbands were also asked to make contributions to the fund when required. The women opened a Post Office Savings Bank account to deposit these community funds.
The community also attributed their success to effective leadership of their dedicated councilor, Mrs. Chirimambowa. They also could call upon traditional leaders to solve disputes if members did not meet their obligations to the group.
The Ministry of Health has been instrumental in training health educators, the Village Health Workers (VHWs). Villge Health Workers have a tremendous task of educating and information dissemination to the general public on health and hygiene good practices. In Manzvire, this has resulted in the formation of health clubs and other community-led initiatives. However, they lamented over their paltry monthly allowance, which they said were not helping them.
“ Although, we as UNICEF, have been instrumental in providing financial and technical support in the beginning, we strongly emphasized the building of local partnerships and local initiatives”, said Nicholas Moyo, Assistant Health Programme Officer. He explained that the credit should go to the RDC for effective community leadership. “We operate in various districts, but the impact in this district, particularly in ward 22 is quite encouraging”, he added. The capacity at district level has been strengthened by refresher courses attended at the Institute of Water and Sanitation Development, Harare and RDC’s increased capacity to assist the community through participation at conferences, workshops and seminars
Effective collaboration and coordination between Manzvire village and the council’s water division and with UNICEF has played a significant role in the project’s success. The skills and knowledge acquired in building women’s capacity to manage water supply systems stimulated further community-led development. The skills and knowledge acquired in building women’s capacity to manage their own water supply systems stimulated r further community-led development and with the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare trained the village groups as ward care supporters. Their role is to collect information on health related issues from households, to support home-based AIDS groups, and help nursing village AIDS patients.
From the above findings, the researcher recommends that there is need for the clear documentation of gender roles and responsibilities with regard to resource utilization and management, clearly showing the role of both people in society. Rural peoples’ attitude and their indigenous knowledge management systems need not to be taken for granted. As such, they should be integrated in the formulation of policies and guidelines for the management of water.
From this study, we see that water users at community level can effectively manage their water and sanitation resources and that women play a key role in this process since water has historically been regarded as ‘women’s domain’ in Africa (Azwidowi Mukheli et al: 2002: 731). In Manzvire, villagers showed a clear understanding of multiple uses of water, roles and responsibilities in use and safe guarding this precious resource were clearly identified.
The key lesson from Manzvire is that women are equally effective agents of change as such their equal representation and participation in water is quite essential. Women have increased time for other productive activities such as market gardening, which apart from giving them some cash forms their nutritional base. Recognisisng gender roles and responsibilities of all water users can greatly improve rural peoples’ livelihoods through productive water uses such as cropping, livestock watering and other dependent small scale activities.
Manase, G. et al. 2004. An Analysis of Gender Policies in the Water and Sanitation Sector in Zimbabwe, WARFSA Technical Report Series No.4. Institute of Water and Sanitation Development. Harare.
Makumbe, J. Mw, 1996. Participatory development, the case of Zimbabwe. University of Zimbabwe Publications, Harare.
Manzungu, E. 2003. An evaluation of rural communities’ water use patterns and preparedness to manage domestic water sources in Zimbabwe. Physics and Chemistry of the Earth, Volume 28, Elsevier Science Ltd. Amsterdam.
Mkandhla, M.. 2003. “Pro-Poor Strategies To Meet Basic Needs: The Case of Women and Rainwater Harvesting in Kajiado District, Kenya”. African Water Journal, Pilot Edition UN-Water/ Africa. Addis Ababa.
Mukheli, A. et al. 2002. “Is the Pungwe Water Supply Project a Solution to Water Accessibility and Sanitation Problems of Households of Sakubva, Zimbabwe?” Physics and Chemistry of the Earth, Volume 27. Elsevier Science Ltd. Amsterdam.
Morardet, S. et al., 2005, How to finance multiple use water systems for the rural poor? Lessons learnt from the domestic water sector in the Olifants River Basin, South Africa.
Luckson Katsi, University of Zimbabwe, Department of Civil Engineering, P.O. Box MP 167, Mount Pleasant, Harare, Zimbabwe (firstname.lastname@example.org)
This case study is based on projects implemented by Nepal Water for Health (NEWAH) in communities in the Eastern Region of Nepal as part of its goal to “improve the living standard of the Nepalese people in greatest need through equitable and sustainable delivery of safe water, health and sanitation services,” especially to women, poor and marginalised groups in remote and rural part of the country. The three project communities Sandhane, Sanodhappar and Jagretar were identified through surveys as communities deprived of development opportunities and without access to potable drinking water and adequate sanitation. People often suffered from water-borne diseases due to the use of unsafe water.
Starting from 2001 NEWAH implemented integrated drinking water, hygiene education and sanitation projects in these three communities in a phase wise basis in collaboration with Panchawati Village Development Committee (VDC), Panchawati Rural Development Center (PRDC), NEWAH’s long-term local partner and Srijansil Yuwa Samaj. The community was provided piped drinking water systems and partially subsidised latrine facilities along with hygiene education and trainings on health & sanitation, community management skills, masonry and kitchen gardening to sustain the programme as well as to improve their livelihood opportunities.
The 169 households from Sandhane, Sanodhappar and Jagretar communities of Panchawati VDC, Ward No. 9 in Udayapur district with a population of 914 people, live five hours difficult bus ride and an hour's walk from the district headquarters. The coverage of water, sanitation and literacy level is very low in this part of the district comprising of majority of communities deprived of development opportunities (coverage of improved source of water and sanitation was 69.7% and 24.4% respectively in the district (National Population Census 2001)).
Until two years back people bought vegetables from the local market despite the entire community consisting of farmers. Water, health and sanitation were major problems. Women had to walk long distances to fetch water. Due to open defecation and use of contaminated water, diseases such as diarrhoea, worms, jaundice and scabies troubled them a lot, mainly children. People had to spend money for their medical expenses.
Integrated drinking water, hygiene education and sanitation projects were implemented through the joint financial, technical, and management support of Panchawati VDC (local government unit) and NEWAH and collaborative efforts of local based NGO PRDC and Srijansil Yuwa Samaj. NEWAH does not implement any projects directly. It believes in providing safe water and sanitation services through communities and local partners and seeks to work with local government bodies to support the decentralisation initiative and to increase their accountability in water and sanitation service provision.
Piped water systems were constructed through community involvement and latrine construction was promoted at household level through partial subsidy. A project management committee representing both men and women was formed. Management trainings were provided to institutionalise and strengthen it and to build the capacities of its members for proper management and smooth operation of the project. The training focused on topics such as development, communication skills and its barriers, local participation etc. Similarly, masonry and caretaker trainings were also provided to develop human resources able to construct and maintain the systems.
During the health and sanitation training to the committee members, practical knowledge on contraction and control of diseases, the importance of personal hygiene, household and environmental cleanliness, importance of latrines, how faecal oral contamination occurs, diarrhoea etc. was provided. The training was aimed at building capacities of the committee to bring positive changes in the attitudes and beliefs of the people and motivate active participation of local men and women in the development of their community.
Likewise hygiene education classes were also conducted for the community people on topics like germs and contagious diseases, personal hygiene, faecal oral contamination, importance of latrine, proper management of wastewater and cleanliness of drinking water etc.
A two-day kitchen gardening training was organised to impart knowledge about kitchen gardening practices, management and collection of wastewater to grow vegetables in empty areas nearby houses, and promote production of healthy vegetables for self-consumption and income generation. Use of new technical and scientific methods, knowledge about seasonal seeds and ways of using manure in the vegetables were also taught to the participants.
Now people are able to drink clean water through the 26 tap stands constructed, and eat fresh vegetables simultaneously as kitchen gardening practices has increased rampantly. 158 latrines have been constructed in the community. Hygiene behaviour practices such as hand washing, covering food and drinking water and household and environmental cleanliness has improved. 83 of the households use garbage pits to dispose their wastes, 136 households use dish drying racks to dry their utensils, 90 households are involved in kitchen gardening and 65 households in Sandhane use improved cooking stoves.
Vegetables good for health and prosperity
A secondary school teacher from Jagretar, Yagya Raj Bhandari says, "before the implementation of the project only 10% of the households from this community used to eat vegetables with their meals, but now every household eat vegetables regularly." He feels that besides the grains being saved, eating vegetables on a regular basis has also had a positive impact on the health of the people.
Now many family households have also started selling vegetables. Dak Kumari Magar from Sandhane says she has enough money to buy stationary materials (like pencils and books) for her children from selling her kitchen garden vegetables. Earlier there was a lack of drinking water in the community, let alone the possibility of vegetable farming without any irrigation facilities. The locals previously had no knowledge or skill about kitchen gardening or availability of seeds. Now since every tole (cluster) has a water point, the problem of water has been solved and through the project the consumers have also gained knowledge about kitchen gardening. Maheshwor Dhungana from Jagretar informs that people have started taking interest in growing seasonal vegetables and farming pigs, goats and chicken.
Utilization of free time
After the implementation of the project the time consumed in carrying water has been saved. Calculating the time, Samjhana Bishwakarma a local woman expresses, "earlier we had to walk 40 minutes to fetch a gagri (pot) of water. This means spending 3 hours 20 minutes to fetch at least minimum 5 gagris of water required in a day. Now since the water point is only 5 minutes away from the house, in the time spent earlier to fetch 1 gagri of water, we now fetch 9 gagris of water." Now the time saved is utilised for farming, cleaning, relaxing and other miscellaneous activities. According to Rupesh Bishwakarma's experience the school children can concentrate on their homework from the time saved in carrying water.
Use of acquired skills for income generation
Bimal Nepali a resident of Maubasi, Panchawati VDC who acquired masonry skills through the project, has learned to construct water points and water tanks and is now earning a good living. He says that he earns around 30 to 35 thousand rupees annually through his skills.
Fundraising supports development of the community
Sandhane Project Management Committee member Awi Bahadur Magar says the changes noticed in the community is mainly because of introducing the community management concept, skill based knowledge, mobilisation of local means and resources during the implementation of the project. This also developed the feeling of self-reliance among the people. The maintenance fee collected from every consumer households in the community amounts to more than Rs. 22 thousand. This capital has been mobilised to provide loans for buying vegetable seeds, breeding domestic animals, for health check-ups and to carry out other income generative activities. Magar also reported that this committee has been able to register itself in the District Water Resource Committee.
Positive changes in the committee
Presently the users committee in each of the communities sits for regular meetings to discuss about their drinking water and sanitation progress and problems as well as about the community forests, roads and irrigation facilities. During such meetings discussions on how to increase the literacy level of out of school children, animal husbandry and new agricultural methods are also held and experiences are shared, informs the committee Treasurer Manju Magar. The Sandhane committee has recently constructed the community building through their own resources and uses it to conduct community activities.
Discussion: reasons for social upliftment
According to Social Mobiliser Ekraj Niraula who works on behalf of the District Development Committee (DDC) local development fund, the economic condition of the community has improved after the implementation of the community managed drinking water system in this sector. Kitchen gardening has increased, sanitation conditions have improved and medical expenses have been reduced, time spent in collecting water has been saved and this saved time is used for income generating activities. People have also learnt to save money. These are the main reasons behind improvement in the economic condition of the community. Lately there has been an increase in the number of children attending schools in these communities. There is unity among the community due to whichparticipation of people in community programmes have increased. Males have become more gender sensitive. Both male and female work equally. People sit for community meetings regularly. This reflects that people have developed a feeling of social ownership in all these communities.
- Easy access to water saves time for other activities especially that of women and to reduce dropout rate of school children
- Income generating activities implemented side by side with the project helps to win confidence of the people
- Socio-economic impacts were brought about by easy access of water making possible kitchen gardening practices and animal husbandry
- Development of community feeling, ownership, greater participation, unity, motivation and activeness among people to implement various activities
- Regular and timely monitoring is effective
- Hygiene education classes are helpful for self realisation and improvement in hygiene behaviour and sanitation practices
- A regular maintenance fund helps to sustain the project and in the meantime can be used for saving and credit purposes
Laba Hari Budhathoki, NEWAH, Eastern Regional Office, Biratnagar (c/o Anamika Singh email@example.com)
A recent book addresses some of the problems caused in rural India by a narrow focus on water for drinking. An extended quote from the book makes interesting reading:
“The rationale for Unicef's agreement to support the 'accelerated' rural water supply programme is very significant. The thrust was safe drinking water, to pursue the goal of improved public health particularly of children. In spite of the needs of the Indian farmer for water to irrigate his crops during the dry season, without which his family's food supply would be threatened and children's and women’s' well-being jeopardized from another direction, Unicef's concern was limited to water for drinking and domestic purposes. Indeed, if there had been any mention of agriculture during the debates surrounding the proposal, it would have stopped dead in its tracks. Some advocates of applied nutrition were keen to support domestic water supplies for kitchen gardens as an adjunct of family food supplies, but nutrition programmes were then seen as an adjunct to health in the Unicef perspective. This did not accord with the way community water resources were traditionally viewed, either by villagers or by previous government policy.
Given their multiple needs for water, including water to irrigate their crops, villagers in India tend to view the water resources available to them holistically. What they need is water, plain and simple. In many parts of the country little differentiation is made between water for drinking and domestic purposes and water for cultivation. Certain wells and other sources may be favoured for drinking because of their taste or perceived purity, or because they can be more conveniently accessed. Until the advent of the 'problem village' with its exclusive focus on defining water scarcity in terms of water for drinking, government programmes for village water supply had not made this distinction either. But in the late 1960s, influenced on the one hand by the Green Revolution and its emphasis on large-scale irrigated agriculture, and on the other by a new 'water for health' ideology promoted by Unicef and WHO, government policies towards water were for the first time compartmentalized.
The long-term implications of this division along sectoral lines were not then perceived but they were to be profound. In fact the idea that they were promoting a departure from the norm did not occur to Unicef, whose new water professionals were schooled in Western public health engineering traditions, where domestic water supplies have no livelihood context and are almost exclusively about washing, cooking and drinking. No one can quarrel with the primacy of water for drinking. Water to drink is indisputably essential for human and livestock survival. But a policy which neglected other basic water needs, and failed to integrate requirements for agriculture and requirements for health has become, in more recent times an albatross of terrifying proportions. Such a crisis has not been anticipated at the time. There was a head of political steam behind village drinking water supplies, and after initial self-doubt, Unicef stood ready to serve.”
Read more in Black, M., Talbot, R. 2005. Water a matter of life and health, water supply and sanitation in Village India, Unicef with Oxford University Press, New Delhi. The above quote is from pages 41-43.