One hand does not tie a bundle: Women’s participation transform water management!
Bhatshirpura, a village of 400 families in Osmanabad district,
continued to face the severe water crisis when the village’s water management
committee was not adequately functional. Meetings were never held and there was
silence on an issue that required critical consideration. Directly affected due
to this situation, were women, who had almost no water to cook food for their
families during summer periods. They seemed helpless and eventually situations
led to communal fights.
Amidst the daily struggles on water distribution in the village, a few women (led by the Arogya Sakhi (a community facilitator nominated in wSHARP) collectively stood firm to resolve this issue for the entire village. They decided to individually step out of the house to collect funds. It was this effort that encouraged many other women to support them. Through self-generated funds, those women collected approximately INR 40,000 to save their village from drought to repair a well and to create water security. They’re vision was to see peace in the village that was once, only harmonious. They not only mobilized other women in the community but also approached the local government to raise their concerns. It was when they gained confidence through their efforts that they were recognized by the local panchayats and government officials.
Today, women no longer peek from the window when village meetings are held. It was the start of an attitudinal change among women that was followed by other physical changes. Later on new pipes were bought, and all the old, leaky ones replaced. Their victorious efforts continued in the success of the construction of 300 soak pits in the village that witnessed the active participation of more than 200 women who stood head-strong to mitigate water issues during the scorching summer heat. “We have learnt that one hand cannot tie a bundle,” one of the aged women explained.
Women-led Sanitation, Hygiene & Resilient Practices Project (wSHARP) is supported by UNICEF India.