Snahlata's astonishing journey from a home maker to a hand pump mechanic
Name: Snehlata Prabashankar Parmar
Village: Battikada, Ragela panchayat.
I am the secretary of WASH Committee of my village. We the members of WASH committee have shared our responsibilities among ourselves. Previously, I was doing nothing other than domestic chore, but now I am a hand pump mechanic. When there is any problem in the functioning of the hand pumps I am able to solve it.
I create awareness related to hygiene and menstrual hygiene, now I could see the difference in my village that people are not becoming frequently ill as before. I was among the members who did the survey of our village for WASH related components. I did engineering survey of the ponds with SEWA Engineer. Furthermore, we did planning along with the WASH committee and community members for the activities to be done in our village under the program for preparation of a village action plan.
In our village, the construction of one school toilet block is completed and another toilet block is in process which is a community toilet located between main road and school. We will take the full responsibility in maintaining the community toilet block. To meet such expenses, we opened a village WASH account "Battikada Jal jagruthi SEWA mandal" in which we are collecting money Rs.20 from each household and depositing it in the account. Collection of O & M contribution was difficult when we started as the community did not understand the importance of the contribution. We are trying to make them understand. We as a committee are contributing Rs. 100 per month and depositing it in the account. We have all hopes that the community contribution would further gain acceptance among the community members.
Story of the Bare foot Women Mechanics who stood up to the village
Name: Huraj Nandalal Parmar,
Village: Battikada, Ragela panchayat
I became a member of SEWA 3 years ago. Under Project WASH I was involved in doing survey with SEWA engineer. I am a member of WASH Committee in my village. Under WASH I have taken training on hand pump repairing and along with my fellow hand pump mechanics trained under the Project. We have been repairing the Hand Pumps in our village as well as the neighboring village. Once when we were repairing the hand pump, the line of the hand pump fell in to the bore and all the men in the village were complaining and fighting with us, they said that "instead of repairing the source you completely destroyed the source." In Panchayat, also they complained that these women destroyed the source. However, we the Barefoot Women Mechanics were able to repair it and further during our gram Sabha meeting I registered my voice in Panchayat that "We learnt the skill of repairing the hand pump to do repair of the drinking water point and for the benefit of the village."
I have also got training on repairing of hand pump platform and education on the importance of keeping the surroundings of the hand pumps. Furthermore, I educated the community members on how important it is to keep the space nearby the hand pump clean which also protected the underground water from contamination. I also did cleaning of the space surrounding to the hand pump along with the user groups of the hand pumps. SEWA team under the WASH program has also made us understand the importance of boiling the drinking water, due to which we could find change in the health-related issues in the house hold. While repairing the hand pump platforms the villagers asked the reason for building a stand to keep pot, I educated them that this will reduce the effort of the women to lift the pot from ground level. I have also learnt on doing the measurement of the work done in the excavation of pond.
As a member of WASH Committee and taking trainings and education through SEWA I am motivating the villagers to construct toilets in the village. After the construction of toilets, we formed a group among ourselves to catch and identify who are doing open defecation even after the completion of construction of toilet in their house hold. Then later on the same day we visited the house hold and discussed with them the importance of managing their biological waste in order to keep the village clean. Today, I am so proud that I played an instrumental role in keeping the village clean.
Changing lives in Ragela village
Name: Lalithaben Nanurambhai Parmar
Village: Ragela village,
I am the Secretary of the WASH committee in my village. I got training on hand pump repairing, hand pump platform repairing and construction of soak pit. After completion of training I have constructed 5 soak pits. I am also working in the well redevelopment work under WASH in my village.
We have divided the work responsibility of the village among ourselves in the WASH committee, two of us will take care of hp, and two will take care of well redevelopment work, two will take care of construction of cattle trough etc.,
We are collecting community contribution from the village every month. There are 200 houses in our village, but all are not willing to give the community contribution. So, we are not able to collect the full amount. We collect only Rs. 1000 every month from the community and deposit the same in our WASH committee's village bank account. The villagers are ready to pay for the maintenance of sources like hand pump, but they are not ready to pay every month contribution.
I have also got training in quality checking of the materials. After the training, I checked all the materials unloaded for construction in our village under WASH program and if any material quality is not up to the standard then I will send the materials back to the supplier and inform our SEWA team about it. After having continuous issues in the quality we in the WASH committee decided that we won't procure the material from a given vendor but will short list another vendor for procurement of quality materials at the same rate within the village.