Special Issue on Women Empowerment & Water

From the desk of  Guest Editor

Vishwajeet Goshal, Director Prayas Juvenile Aid Centre

Salute to the epitome of grit and grace!

“The origin of a child is a mother and is a woman. And a woman is the one who shares the love and shows a man, what love, caring and sharing is all about. That is the essence of a woman.” Sushmita Sen, Miss Universe 1994, Manila

Woman constituted key role in the arch of Indian Society in Rig Vedic period. Her position was considered as better half of the man, trusted friend, companion in solitude, father in advice and rest in passing the wilderness of life. However, from enjoying the status of esteemed position in the Rig Vedic Society, women started being discriminated since the later Vedic period, in different forms of life, which continues till today.

Gender inequalities are still deep-rooted in every society. Women suffer from lack of access to decent work and face occupational segregation and gender wage gaps. In many situations, they are denied access to basic education and healthcare and are victims of violence and discrimination. They are under-represented in political and economic decision-making processes.

The recent Judgments given by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in allowing women to offer prayers in Sabarimala and also the permanency of women in Indian army is a welcome step. Women empowerment is a process involving both men and women demanding sincerity, earnestness, capacity and mutual respect towards each other.

Another pressing issue is of water conservation as billions of people are still living without safe water especially the marginalized groups –women, children, indigenous people, disabled people and many others are overlooked, and sometimes face discrimination, as they try to access and manage the safe water they need. Globally 750 million people do not have access to drinking water service. The theme for 2020, ‘Water and Climate Change’ is aimed towards concerted efforts by the communities around the globe to facilitate access of safe drinking water and sanitation services and to make it more resilient in the face of changing climate.

NGOs bring new dawn for Women Empowerment- By Sandeep Datta

 Looking at the central role women play in a family unit, it is important that they lead a confident and informed life. In view of the host of challenges that women have to cope up with at home or workplace in present times, their empowerment has become much more crucial than ever before.
Away from the virtual grip of films or television serials or the world of music, lots of women are learning how to visit the unexplored territories in life. Some find out new avenues to co-exist as a team thus leading a financially independent and happy life.
There are others who are learning how to use social media as a tool to grow. Many are using Instagram or Facebook to promote their small initiatives while some are using modern-day gadgets for live interactions with their clients, guides or pupils existing in far off places of the country or even world.


Life Dotted With Challenges
At the Grassroots level the challenges that women and girls face are more varied and stark as they are often discriminated within the family. They have differential access to basic resources like nutrition, education and even health services.
Despite being the bread-makers, if not bread winners, for the family, they are usually the last to eat and get the least share of meal. In case the family has limited supply of nutritious food, male members get the first preference and larger share. Lesser importance to girl child often leads to comparatively shorter duration of lactation for female babies.
Various non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are enabling young and old women to realize their dreams. They teach them how to channelize the power of their dreams and passion in achieving success in a real way.

Child Survival India (CSI)
Stating that if kids are brought up respecting girls in families or community and treat them as equals, a big transformation is possible, as per noted NGO — Child Survival India (CSI), often girls are not even taken to health and education services in case these facilities are far off or expensive.
Talking of its conflict resolution forum and its impact in reducing domestic violence problems President, Deepa Bajaj says: “For legal empowerment of women and redressal of grievances related to domestic violence,
CSI has mobilised a Mahila Panchayat with the support of Delhi Commission for Women, Government of NCT Delhi. It offers a community-led, community-based mediation mechanism for women facing violence at home. It exists as a group of nearly 20 community women (members) to form a Panchayat in their area/community, which takes up cases of domestic violence, counsel the parties conserved, and assist in reducing violence against women in their homes.
Research has also shown that if boys see and face violence in their childhood, they are likely to replicate the same in their relationships when they become adults, she adds.

Prayas Junvenile aid centre
Celebrating 30 years of existence, Prayas in Delhi runs several children’s homes apart from the centres in other states. To bring a realistic change and meaningful transformation in girls’ lives, Prayas runs Children’s Home for Girls in Tughlaqabad area of Delhi.
Not many may know but this shelter home devoted to welfare of girls exists as an offshoot of the Institute of Juvenile Justice (IJJ). It involves provision of facilities like shelter, food, alternative education, recreational activities, counselling, healthcare and vocational training for girls. Aged between 6-18, most of these girls at the shelter home have had a background full of extreme challenges. Some of them even have come from Delhi’s Red Light area. Today, nearly 50 percent of these girls have been enabled to attend regular schools as part of their mainstreaming.

Society for Participatory Integrated Development (SPID)
To make genuine efforts which all lead to the betterment of marginalized, deprived, underprivileged, suffering and vulnerable women of all caste and creed, SPID exists as a platform to help them overcome problems and realize dreams. More importantly, it provides them support for sustainable development and employability to lead a dignified life.
Today, SPID aspires to provide women with a safe and protective environment, focusing on elimination of all forms of discrimination and violence against women such as female foeticide, rape, dowry, sexual harassment, physical and psychological abuse and domestic violence.
According to founder and Director, SPID, Awadhesh Yadav,”SPID -Vocational Training Programme for women and young girls provides two programmes Hand Embroidery training and stitching. We offer an educational experience and training to disadvantaged women through the acquisition of competences and skills and, if possible, to foster job placement.”
In brief, be it the government or the corporate world, it is vital to remember that women empowerment is about developing ability in women to take life’s biggest decisions and work, offering them their space to cherish equal rights in all spheres of life be it personal, professional or social, including political or legal aspects of their lives. And, as a mature society we need to strive to create such a space for all, particularly the women in our lives.


 Leading By Example

Sustained efforts to empower women by leading companies under their Corporate Social Responsibility schemes are showing impressive results. While some have adopted communities and regions they operate from, others are spreading wings organically to help the marginalized step up and be the leader of tomorrow. The Bridge India brings to you three inspiring case studies that have drawn national attention. By Karan Bhardwaj

Cairn India took upon itself a mammoth task in Rajasthan’s Barmer, a region which not only used to be one of the most socio-economically backward districts in India but also registered a huge literacy gap between the genders. As per 2011, only 30 per cent of the female population was ‘literate’ while the figures would go up to 70 per cent for men. “The low literacy rate, poor skill sets, a conservative society and low self-esteem among women comprised our major challenges in order to empower women,” says Harmeet Sehra, HEAD, CSR, Cairn Oil & Gas. As a result, Cairn introduced several initiatives which directly affected women and children of the entire region. In 2007, Dairy Development Project was launched with ambitious goals of “enhancing dairy farmers’ incomes by mitigating regional problems such as adulteration of milk, less remunerative prices due to involvement of middlemen, lack of bargaining power among dairy farmers, poor veterinary services, and exploitation of local villagers by vendors.” The campaign benefitted over 7,200 women and 3,400 families with increased opportunities for livelihood and capacity building.
the disparity still exists.


Another big step was to create Self-Help Groups. Cairn has been actively working with this concept across various projects like Children’s Wellbeing and Education, Agriculture and Animal Husbandry, and Skill Development. “Assistant Masonry Skill training” was introduced for rural women, specially who are working on construction sites as labourers. “The programme used modern methods of teaching, including multimedia and audio-visual aids. The women were also made functionally literate as part of the programme. They can now sign their names, read simple documents, and count currency. On an average, each woman now earns around INR 500 per day. More than 100 women were trained, partnering with the Rajasthan Government initiative of construction of toilets under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. This initiative helped women formally be inducted in the workforce as masons,” informs Harmeet, who believes empowerment can be defined in “many ways”. “However, for women, empowerment means accepting and allowing women who are traditionally excluded from decision-making. Empowerment for women must provide greater access to knowledge and resources, more autonomy in decision-making, greater ability to plan lives, more control over the circumstances which influence lives, and freedom from customs, beliefs and practices. Thus, empowerment of women is not just a goal, but key to all global development goals,” she says. Echoing her sentiment, Cairn’s BarmerUnnati program is aimed at increasing the income of farming community through productivity enhancement of agriculture and livestock. Under this initiative, more than 3,000 women have been engaged in capacity building trainings on various methods of increasing the agriculture produce. Introducing kitchen gardens, earthworm cultivation, manure preparation, cattle feed preparation has been some of the allied activities for income generation.


GMR Varalakshmi Foundation is making efforts to turn women into market-ready professionals. Their scheme ‘Enabling Marketing of Products of Women Entrepreneurs’ (EMPOWER) is a unique initiative to enable marketing of hand-made products of women Self-Help Groups (SHGs). The products sold by EMPOWER are either made by SHGs associated with GMR VF at its various locations or other non-profit groups in different parts of the country. These products are available at a couple of shops allocated by the GMR Hyderabad International Airport Limited (GHIAL) as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility at its premise. Additionally, the Foundation also markets these products at major e-commerce platforms including Flipkart, Amazon and Snapdeal.
The Self-Help Groups (SHGs), spearheaded by GMR VF, has empowered women and improved their social status by various capacity building programs besides facilitating bank linkages and marketing. The regular savings and repayment pattern of the SHGs have motivated other formal financial outfits to offer loans and support micro-enterprise activities. With such support, many women are showing enterprising spirit and are augmenting their family incomes.

“With a membership base of over 3,500 women, 300 SHGs supported by the Foundation offer a platform for providing skill training, help establish enterprises and set up market linkages,”reads GMR VF’s official website.

The GMRVF is also acting as a helping hand for several ‘expecting’ and new moms. The Foundation has launched 25 Nutrition Centres for pregnant and lactating women. There are awareness campaigns to sensitize mothers and in-laws, and educate them on childcare, nutrition, colostrum feeding, breastfeeding and family planning. Special events such as GodBharai, Annaprashan and Healthy Baby Showers are organized regularly for overall wellbeing of mother and the child. These programmes have so far reached over 2,000 women. As per records, about 500 women benefit from these centres every year.


ITC’s Missions Sunehra Kal emphasizes on making women decision-makers. They have implemented a special intervention to empower rural women through knowledge and technology with women-run Agri-Business Centres (ABCs). These centres were established to promote sustainable agriculture practices and engage in different activities like hiring out of agri equipment, nursery raising, seed production, capacity building of other farmers and linkages to government schemes collectively. According to ITC, the women faced initial hurdles like family restriction, lack of acceptance by other farmers, and difficulty in operating the agri equipment and finances. However, regular and continuous training equipped the women with adequate technical and financial knowledge to operate and manage the ABC independently. Previously women were recognized as mere helpers in field operations but post the intervention, they were recognized as ‘farmers’ and their collective bargaining power increased as they were given high regard as a group. Due to the success of the intervention, government officials offer the women ABCs the first right to draw the benefit of government schemes and agricultural inputs at subsidized rates.

India, one of the world’s fastest-growing major economies, could do wonders, if women exercise their constitutional rights and are given equal opportunities. The country could add up to $770 billion—more than 18% (current contribution)—to its GDP by 2025, simply by giving equal opportunities to women, according to a report by the McKinsey Global Institute.

“Over the last decade, India has shown considerable improvement in achieving gender equality in areas such as education, health, and economic activities. We see women leading across corporates, government departments, defense, medical sectors, but this number is low when it comes to labor force participation in 2018, i.e. less than a quarter (23.6%) of women aged 15 and above participated in the labor force in 2018 (compared to 78.6% of men). It is evident that we need to work harder towards bridging the gap by providing quality education, healthcare, awareness, and basic amenities to women across geographies to help the nation growth and meet the global average of 48% of women workforce, if we intend to grow 9-10% each year on our GDP,” Harmeet rightfully concludes.


In sync with realizing Women’s Rights – by Vishwajeet Goshal

Feminism has never been about getting a job for one woman. It’s about making life fairer for women everywhere. It’s not about a piece of the existing pie; there are too many of us for that. It’s about baking a new pie.”- Gloria Maria Steinem, American Feminist, Journalist & Social Political Activist.

Women’s Empowerment as a concept was introduced firstly at the UN’s Third World Conference on women in Nairobi in 1985, defining as a redistribution of social and economic powers and control of resources in favor of women, aimed to bring attention to the social, political, economic and cultural issue that women face and to advocate for the advancement of women within different areas. However, the principle of gender equality and empowerment is already enshrined in the Indian Constitution as basic fundamental right of citizens. Further, the 73rd & 74th Amendment of the Constitution have provided reservation of seats for women in panchayats and municipalities, laying a strong foundation for their participation in the decision making process at local levels. However, the disparity still exists.



Aiming at bridging the gender gap, the central government in 2016 came up with a draft National Policy for Women. The proposed legislation aims at creating a conducive socio-cultural, economic and political environment for women; mainstreaming gender for all round development; a holistic and life-cycle approach to women’s health for appropriate, affordable and quality health care; and improving and incentivizing women and girls to universal and quality education.

Besides, it also envisages increasing and incentivizing workforce participation of women in the economy; equal participation in social, political and economic spheres, including in institutions of governance and decision making; transforming discriminatory societal attitudes, mindsets with community involvement and engagement of men and developing a gender sensitive legal-judicial system.

The other objectives of the draft policy include, elimination of all forms of violence against women through policy strengthening, legislations, programmes, institutions and community engagement; development and empowerment of women belonging to vulnerable and marginalize groups; building and strengthening stakeholder partnerships in women empowerment; and strengthening, monitoring, evaluation, audit and data system to bridge gender gaps.

The proposed legislation has also set up priority areas like health, education, economy, governance and decision making, violence against women, enabling environment, and environment and climate change.


Aiming at creating a large scale awareness programme to reduce the preference for male children and empower girls through education, the Ministry of Women and Child Development in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the Ministry of Human Resource Development in 2015 rolled out the ambitious ‘Beti bachao, beti padhao’ (Save daughters, educate daughters) scheme.

The broad objective of the programme is to prevent selective gender elimination, protection and survival of girl child and ensuring their overall right to development through proper education and participation in every area of development.

The programme aims at challenging the thought process of a person to counter the regressive age-old patriarch-centric mindset, which considers men as supreme human beings.


The Government is making very conscious effort to bring women at par with the men in sync with the Article 14 and Article 15 of the Indian Constitution through progressive women specific legislation and Act, namely, Sexual Harassment of Women at Work Place (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal ) Act, 2013, The Equal Remuneration Act, 1976, The Commission of Sati (Prevention) Act, 1987, The Pre-Conception & Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) Act, 1994, The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006, The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013, Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, The Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961 (Amended in 1986), The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956, The Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986 and women related legislation, such as, The Indian Penal Code, 1860 and The Evidence Act,1872.

The Government initiatives towards empowerment have been considered as an enabling process to achieve both social and economic independence. Ensuring gender equality, and combating discrimination and violence against women are integral to our national pursuit of forging inclusive society and development. Criminal Law (Amendment), Act 2013, which has been enacted to make the punishment more stringent for offences like rape and has broadened the definition of sexual assault and harassment. New offences like acid attack, sexual harassment, voyeurism and stalking, disrobing a woman, have been incorporated in the Indian Penal Code. The Act has also made provisions for greater accountability of public officials including the health care providers for immediate relief to the woman affected by violence.

In order to ensure women’s safety pertaining to the strategic areas of prevention, protection and rehabilitation, Government has established a Nirbhaya Fund under which, the key programmatic interventions have been made and so far, 15 proposals amounting to around Rs. 2000 crore have been recommended under the Nirbhaya Fund.  These include the ‘One Stop Centres’ for facilitating/providing medical aid, police assistance, legal counselling/ court case management, psycho social counselling and temporary shelter to women affected by violence, women Helpline for providing 24- hour emergency and non-emergency response, Investigative Units for Crime against Women (IUCAW) in all police districts of the country, installation of CCTV surveillance cameras in coaches to strengthen security on trains, National Emergency Response System, creation of Central Victim Compensation Fund (CVCF), Cyber Crime Prevention against Women & Children (CCPWC) and so on.

To increase the visibility of women in the police force, 33 per cent reservation has been made for women in the police force, in UTs and some states.  There has been an increasing emphasis on gender sensitivity of police force through training programmes, performance appraisal, women police stations to tackle crime against women.

Control over women’s sexuality is another area which needs to be studied, understood and addressed.  Early marriages, purdah, restrictions on women’s mobility, which are all ways of controlling women’s sexuality, have drastic implications for the freedom and autonomy of girls and women. Education of women is indeed the most important component and intervention for women’s empowerment, provided both the contents and methodology of this education are pro-women.


Gender parity is of paramount importance as it is the bedrock on which the social liberalization of women rests. Despite various programmes and projects available to speed up the process of women empowerment, there still remains a huge gender gap. Data suggest that women schemes may still be a long way from addressing India’s bias against girl child.

The sex ratio in the country as a whole is not favorable for women. Statistics show that males still outnumber females. The big reason for this skewed ratio is India’s strong preference for male children. The 2017-18 Economic Survey states that male preference results in families having children until they have a son and, consequently, there are 21 million ‘unwanted’ girls in India. This very fact puts a big question mark on the effectiveness of control mechanisms to prevent gender discrimination.

Addressing gender inequality requires a multi-pronged approach. Women empowerment programmes cannot work in isolation. The effective enforcement of such initiatives can only happen when there is active participation and compliance by citizens and stake holders of various acts such as the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act, the Right to Education Act and various other legislations.

The need is to put women at the centre, woman’s productive work is the thread that weaves a society together. When you have work, you have an incentive to maintain a stable society. You not only think of the future, but you plan for the future. You can build assets that reduce your vulnerability. You can invest in the next generation. Life is no longer just about survival, but about investing in a better future. Holistic and critical empowerment of women is the need of the hour wherein all stakeholders should have synergy for concrete action on the ground,   for which both women and men will have to work together in collaborative approach.

Let us unite together to salute the spirit of womanhood and to achieve the objective of 2020 theme of International Women Day ‘‘I am Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights.”



The Leaders of Today

Aatapi Seva Foundation’s intervention in several villages have led to birth of hundreds of community-based organizations and institutions that are empowering thousands of women across Gujarat. Karan Bhardwaj from The Bridge India spoke to Dr Nandini Srivastava, CEO, and Jyoti Dhomse from the Research Department of the NGO on their milestones and future plans.

For local women of Gujarat’s Vedach village, Jamnaben Jadav is a beacon of hope. She owns two buffaloes, earns Rs 25,000 per month through her dairy, and is free of any financial stress, a common concern in every second household in the village. She is one of the hundreds of women in the district who is guided by Aatapi Seva Foundation’s schemes and organizations to transform their lives. Founded in 2008 by TML Industries, the NGO today operates in over 50 villages and is responsible for creating several Self-Help Groups and community-led cooperatives and banks. “We observed women in rural India play a significant role in agriculture yet they were not accepted as farmers. Not only they failed to realize their own potential but they were also deprived of social and economic opportunities. Therefore, it was important to inculcate confidence among women that they are capable of doing much more and leading their own work,” says Dr Nandini Srivastava, CEO, Aatapi Seva Foundation.


With this objective in mind, the NGO started by setting up Self-Help Groups (SHGs) with 25 groups of women from four villages Gajera, Vedach, Kareli and Piludara. The first task it took upon itself was to train women on financial management. “Initially, it was like ‘thoda hai..thode ki zaroorat hai…’ With guidance, women began to generate small savings. We also taught them how to come out of high interest loans which they might have taken for other purposes and rather take productive and need-specific loans. When it comes to SHGs, we rigorously built the system in a way that women learn that these are financial institutions and require financial discipline to function. Women members ought to be transparent and accountable to each other. With sustained efforts and knowledge, these women started planning their own finances,” informs Jyoti Dhomse, Senior Coordinator, Research and Documentation. The NGO took 5-6 years to reach at a stage where women were guided to nurture bigger ambitions and move beyond small savings. “Now, they are mentored to move on to bigger Federations and Trusts to fetch and organize more funds. At present, Aatapi Seva Foundation is guiding over 160 SHGs in 25 villages,” says Nandini.

Rural women were trained in traditional and alternate sources of livelihood. Not only they were schooled in ideal practices of animal husbandry and agriculture to enhance productivity but were also taught enterprising skills. “With our trainings, they could see improvement in the output of their work in the fields and with animals. Therefore, we encouraged them to open their own dairies, and equipped them with modern gadgets like computers to maintain records,” says Jyoti. There are four women milk cooperatives in three villages with turnover of INR 3-5 Lakh every month.
However, with rapid climate changes, women have also understood the need to look beyond agriculture. “To generate additional employment opportunities, we train women in artisanal skills, fashion designing, beauty courses, industrial housekeeping, marketing of agro products,” says Nandini. During the lean season (Summers), women resort to collect limbodis for the Forest Department. “Here, we trained them how to bargain and get better value for their efforts,” says Nandini.
A detailed survey in 13 villages revealed there are more than 600 people with disabilities including women. Aatapi’s aim is to help them realize their potential and become a contributing and active member of the society. “We were horrified to learn that women with disabilities didn’t have access to basic rights and amenities. It took several years and multiple confidence-building measures to convince differently-abled women to take part in active life,” informs Jyoti, citing an example. Jiviben, who is able to walk on her feet, was taken to an exposure programme in Ahmedabad. Meeting other differently- abled women who were running their businesses gave her hopes and ambitions. “She returned from the trip and launched her own tailoring services,” she shares. The NGO runs campaigns to create awareness about the new law, ‘Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016’.
Going forward, Aatapi continues to nurture and strengthen communities and institutions to become self-reliant and sustainable. As they scale up their operations in more and more villages, they wish to focus on creating programmes that are inclusive and empower women to gain personal and professional goals.


Impact Making NGOs (Water)

NGOs turn savior in Water Conservation for India- By Sandeep Datta

The three free gift of nature air, sunlight and water as the creator has endowed to humanity out of which useable water necessary to sustain living things has become more and more vulnerable toward extinction thereby in the economic terms the word scarcity is often used. While Indians often get drawn to the existing water crisis during droughts in any state, the country is consistently heading towards a far more challenging scenario than it appears.


Climate Change and Water Bodies

India is the fifth most vulnerable of 181 countries to the effects of climate change, with its poorest being the most at risk (Germanwatch, Dec 2019) and water is the most impacted natural resource due to changes in the global climate pattern. Climate change is leading to increase in the frequency and intensity of rainfall, occurrence of flood and reduced groundwater recharge.

According to the study, between 2000 and 2016, the average temperature in the Himalayan glacier region was 1 degree Celsius higher than it was over the previous 25 years (Maurer, 2019). Both quantity and quality of water is being impacted due to climate change. However, the ability to mitigate growing emissions and adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change is low.

Water Crisis in India

Facing one of its most serious water crisis ever, by 2030 India’s water requirement is projected to turn double the available supply. It implies severe scarcity for hundreds of millions of people and an eventual 6% loss in the country’s GDP, as per Composite Water Management Index (CWMI) report of 2018 by NITI Aayog.
The delicate situation can be gauged from the observation of government’s think tank NITI Aayog’s report stating that by 2050, the water requirement in a high use scenario is likely to be 1,180 billion cubic metrics (BCM) whereas the present-day availability is just 695 BCM. The total availability of water in the country is lower than this projected demand, at 1,137 BCM.
Some of the key reasons for the present-day situation include — Excessive groundwater pumping without it being sufficiently recharged, an inefficient and wasteful water management system, and years of deficient rains.

Government’s Focus on Water Projects

At 2019 UN Climate Action Summit, India’s concerns and willingness to make giant steps to mitigate natural resources related challenges were prominently visible in New York. While underlining his government’s ambitious ‘Jal Jeevan Mission’ for water conservation, rainwater harvesting and for the development of water resources, Prime Minister Modi told the global community that India plans to spend $50 billion on the project in coming years.
During last year’s Independence Day speech, Prime Minister Modi vowed to spend Rs.3.5 lakh crore on ‘Jal Jeevan Mission’.

NGOs making the Real Difference in India

Of the various measures and smart solutions being evolved, a long-lasting difference on the ground is possible with the help of non-governmental organisations.
A peek into the endeavors of some of the prominent NGOs of the country offers a bird’s view about the scale of efforts needed at the ground level for a long lasting solution for a billion plus population on earth.

WaterAid India

The NGO holds a rich experience of working with communities acrossIndia over last 34 years. It brings in deep-rooted WASH sector expertise and it’s on-ground partners bring in strength of community connect in the local context. This helps in building strong community owned processes and sustainability perspective.

Talking about its distinct approach from the Government’s mission and methodologies in enabling masses to access clean drinking water, hygiene and toilets, Vikas Kataria, Director Resource Mobilisation said: “WaterAid’s program approach includes community based water planning, water budgeting, distribution, operations and maintenance of piped water systems, emphasis on water quality, source sustainability through water conservation, rain water harvesting etc.”

“WaterAid’s unique model revolves around strengthening local governance processes, capacity building and strengthening of mandated institutions like Gram Panchayats, building strong community-based solutions and creating successful models with empirical evidence. Besides, WaterAid engages closely with government at different levels from block to district, state and central levels to advocate scaling up of these models and learnings for larger impact.”

Ahead of the World Water Day (22 March), the NGO said the growing impact of climate change on water resources is quite evident. “The drinking water scarcity that we see in many parts of India today has directly attributable linkages to climate change as much as it has to weak policies, governance and management.”

Habitat for Humanity

Another notable NGO happens to be Habitat for Humanity India creates awareness about safe drinking water and trains the local people to maintain the water sources as clean and hygienic water bodies.

The activities include provision of community managed drinking water plants (erecting RO units) and implementation of safe drinking water projects in different locations like Restoration of water systems, raised platforms and provision of Hand pumps, Provision of Rain Water Harvest & Recharging systems; Provision of water on wheels (a device that helps for transporting and storing water) in the remote areas and disaster affected areas and provision of water filters (devices), At the community level, de-silting of ponds, lakes etc, creating green spaces towards sustainable environment.

Explaining if it just about funds or use of modern technology to explore and deliver better water system in India, Rajan Samuel, Managing Director says: “Just as how provision of a good water management system in India is important, so also is the protection of water bodies, increased awareness on safe drinking water and modern irrigation etc. equally important factors in the Indian context. Therefore, more than just allocation of funding, we need to explore modern and innovative technologies to manage the water resources and improvise the delivery systems by involving all stakeholders.”

Jal Bhaghirathi Foundation

The NGO is a member of the World water forum and functioning in the Thar desert which is the most densely populated desert in the world.
Jal Bhaghirathi Foundation’s (JBF) programmes focus on building social capital in villages, emphasizing on an enabling approach and through mobilization bring diverse groups together to manage common property resources with a focus on water management. This is a slow and time taking process and forms the backbone of all interventions.
As the programs of JBF are demand driven 30% of the infrastructure development cost has to be raised by the community in cash, this process is followed to ensure that there is community ownership.

Given the economic condition of communities, raising community contribution requires close engagement with the beneficiaries.
Asked how JBF deals with the severe water scarcity the region has been facing for years, it says: “As ground water in the Thar desert is extremely saline and unsuitable for drinking or agriculture, JBF has been promoting the construction of impounding structures, that hold water in surface water harvesting structures.
Conclusively , somehow, it looks that involving the Public and Private sectors and the People in developing, managing and delivering good water systems at different levels can be a good solution whereby NGOs can play a vital role in creating awareness and initiating community actions at the grassroots.

One cannot ignore the fact that conservation efforts including recharging local water bodies, ground water through rainwater harvesting, and other measures can address the supply side while smart water management solutions are needed for the demand side.
Former USSR President Mikhail Gorbachev, remembered for his policy of reforming the Soviet political and economic system, once said:”We must treat water as if it were the most precious thing in the world, the most valuable natural resource. Be economical with water! Don’t waste it! We still have time to do something about this problem before it is too late.”

Perhaps, the decades old statement looks much more meaningful for Russia’s close friend India even today.


Creating the right waves

Water crisis is real. As states begin to dry up, India’s blue-chip companies are trying their best to create awareness, introduce technology and empower communities to take charge of new-age water resolutions. The Bridge India dwells into CSR initiatives on ground by corporates. By Karan Bhardwaj


LIVPURE: Making water potable

Several efforts made by Livpure Foundation (A CSR entity of Livpure Water) of SAR Group of Companies focusing on providing safe drinking water to communities deserve attention. In flood prone river basins in Odisha, they have installed some 25 Iron Removal Plants to provide safe drinking water to locals. The IRPs are further equipped with solar energy which assures continuous power supply in remote areas. In Maharashtra, 13 projects have been initiated in Raigarh district to provide potable drinking water at doorstep through taps. The project majorly focuses on reviving water sources, recharging wells and construction of damns and also lifting drinking water through solar pumps. Livpure Foundation has also set up five Self-sustainable Community Water Treatment plants in market places of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. All five plants together provide adequate drinking water to more than 5,000 underprivileged and marginalized villagers at affordable prices.“We believe in sustainable developmental projects. All our safe drinking water projects are being handed over to the local community. Before we initiate any project, we conduct a need assessment of the locality. Followed by the report we conduct meetings with community in groups, meet local leaders and ensure participation of local governance bodies. We involve village people at every stage of implementation like, planning, monitoring, quality, sustainability as well as operation and maintenance,” saysDrKailaspatiJha,LivpureFoundation.

ADANI: Reuse & recycle

Adani Foundation takes pride in its water management practices which lies in the heart of the group’s CSR. Their entire industrial land at Mundra operates out of treated and desalinated water. “This has helped us save 1,18,10 litres of surface level water which is equivalent to the potable water needs of more than a lakh rural Indians in a year,” says JigarDeliwala, Head Sustainability Adani Foundation. In this area, the NGO has also constructed 19 check dams which have apparently shown results due to ground water recharge. Additionally, every year it takes up activity to deepen village ponds. Conservation capacity was increased by 33,814 cmt apart from deepening works of four ponds.

They also take small yet significant steps to recycle water. Like, 100 per cent water used for Mining Washeries is reused. All their realty projects have rainwater harvesting systems which are routed towards neighboring natural ponds to enhance groundwater. The power plants too have special arrangements for rainwater conservation which reduces dependency from the local sources of water.
The Group’s Ports business is carefully designed to tackle environmental issues. Since port activities generate both hazardous and non-hazardous wastes which can impact marine ecosystem, the Group is helping its upstream customers in managing their wastes through 5R principle ~ Reduce, Reuse, Reprocess, Recycle and Recover. With sustained efforts, Adani’s achieved ‘Zero Waste to Landfill (ZWL)’ at Mundraport in FY 19 with a goal to become a ‘Zero Waste Company by 2020’.

They are also rigorously working on water management. “Four of our nine ports are in Gujarat which is deemed to be a low to medium fresh water availability zone. We have implemented site-specific water management plans to minimize the impact of our business and our customers’ water use on local communities both in these areas and in others where availability is less stressed. It is an important element of our relationship with local communities that we ensure that they have the resources they need to thrive,” saysJigar, Sustainability,APSEZ.

PI FOUNDATION: Tech it out

It is not a revelation that agriculture uses over 85 per cent of water resources in India and that rice alone exhausts half the water used in the agro-activities. In such a scenario, PI Foundation stands out in its efforts to improve agricultural practices that lead to water conservation. The company champions Direct Seeded Rice (DSR) Technology in its operations that is regarded as an efficient tool to save water. “Our efforts have resulted in changing the rice cultivation practice into DSR in over 675,000 hectares; a saving of over 355 billion gallons of water annually,” claims the Foundation which is closely working with policy makers, industry chambers, agro varsities, NGOs and farmers on the amplification of DSR tech. Additionally, the Foundation is also actively taking steps to provide safe drinking water. It has installed community RO water plants in the states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Bihar. “The areas were meticulously chosen where excessive fluoride and Iron content in the drinking water was found. The unsafe drinking water caused many health problems in the region.PI Foundation also supported installation of safe drinking water facility in the rural villages of Gujarat and Rajasthan. Provision of tap water facility in village schools has also been created as per the required need of the area,” says Vijay Singh, Head CSR PI Foundation.


Impact Making NGOs (Women Empowerment)

Development Happenings

By TBI Team

SPID Society Celebrates 16th Foundation Day

The 16th Foundation Day of the Society for Participatory Integrated Development (SPID) was celebrated on February 20, 2020.

The SPID Society, established on 20 February 2004, has so far directly and indirectly benefited lakhs of people in various categories at the social level in the past 16 years! SPID Society shared its success and journey so far, The vision and foresight with which it was started resulted in benefitting people in the following areas: 4,255 directly and 6,265 indirectly in the field of child rights and education: 22,544 in the field of women empowerment; 13,4498 in health related areas directly and 44,0789 indirectly5,398 indirectly 10,06 in the field of youth empowerment.


The Founder and Director of SPID Society, Awadhesh Yadav shared the 16-year journey of the organisation and also conveyed the message to continue with greater pace in future to try to benefit more and more people in different sections.

Mr Shakti Chibber,Social Worker, MrRajeev Jha ,Social Worker and Journalist, RashtriyaSagar, Dr. Amit Chandra, Resource person and Instructor were present as guests on the occasion and shared their insight and experiences with the gathering.

A workshop was also organized by Dr Amit Chandra for the activists of the SPID Society in which, while working in the institution, a presentation was made on reflection and imaginative activities for the growth of the organization.


Mahawari Mahabhoj upholds the dignity of menstruating women

Mahawari Mahabhoj upholds the dignity of menstruating women

Several girls and women are subjected to restrictions in their daily lives simply because they are menstruating. To uphold the dignity of women, Sachhi Saheli, a Delhi based NGO, organized a grand feast called “Period-feast” in Block A Central Park Mayur Vihar on 23 February.


The event was organized in response to the recent incident that took place where college students in a hostel in Gujarat, were made to strip to prove that they weren’t menstruating so that they could enter the kitchen & temple premises in their college. The incident was caused by the trust’s conservative rules and restrictions that prohibit the entry of all menstruating women inside kitchens and other holy places, not only that, but also a controversial statement has been made by a priest claiming that women who are cooking during menstruation will be reborn as bitch.

The period feast/ Mahawari Mahabhoj was hosted by Dr Surbhi Singh and her team at NGO Sachhi Saheli, wherein the food was prepared and served by 28 menstruating women. These menstruating women were in fact the highlight of the entire event because they were deliberately chosen to oppose Swami’s controversial statement and shown as an example for the society to end their discrimination against women from cooking and entering the kitchen during periods.

More than 300 people from all walks of life, including Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi- Manish Sisodia, Theater-Director Arvind Gaur and renowned poet and writer& feminist activist Kamala Bhasin,Vidhi Gupta Anand (Judge, Metropolitan Magistrate) participated in this Maha Bhoj to honor women.

All those present at the feast were very appreciative of this unique way of protesting and enjoyed the feast to the fullest, they also signed a pledge to stand in solidarity with Sachhi Saheli in rejecting the myth that women are impure and impious during menstruation.
Manish Sisodia while speaking at the event said, “In today’s scientific day and age, there is nothing pure/impure about menstruation, it is a natural biological process that should be taken as it is.”