Frank Water has been working alongside communities in the state of Chhattisgarh in India for the last ten years. In this time, they have succeeded in improving health, hygiene, sanitation, access to clean water, and livelihood opportunities for over 17,000 tribal men and women, as well as for their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Here are some case studies of their work. Read on to find out more:
Community resilience to climate challenges
Bahnakhodra is a remote tribal village in Chhattisgarh, central India. The local, tribal people depend on agriculture and forest-foraging for sustenance and a small additional income. The community is living with the very real impacts of climate change. Rainfall has doubled but the rain season has halved to around 40 days, and intense rainfall rushes off the baked ground, escaping water collection systems. Soil quality for growing food is seriously damaged, and biodiversity in the forest is depleted and foraging becomes unsustainable.
All of this means that there is drought, and the threat of food shortage. Working alongside the local community, the organisation has focused on supporting local understanding of the water catchment area and water balances, hygiene and sanitation practices, and the specific needs of people with disabilities who often have worse access to water and toilets.
It has guided the community through building wells and dams, community education for hygiene and sanitation, improved agricultural sustainability through quality seeds and organic fertiliser, cattle-rearing opportunities for families without land to grow food, and better provision for people with disabilities. It engaged the local government and leveraged funds for the projects. The community now has large scale rainwater harvesting systems, ensuring water security. With improved soil quality, farmers can grow two crops a year instead of one.
Water, health and happiness for farming families
1,326 people live, surrounded by forests, in the village of Mudhavi in the Kawardha region of India. Many of them are classed as “Tribal” people by the Indian government, and are amongst the poorest groups in the country. 75% of the families in Mudhavi rely on farming for their livelihoods, not an easy occupation when water is scarce and grazing rights are hard won. With a high prevalence of malnutrition, waterborne diseases and non communicable diseases, the people living in Mudhavi needed to intervene urgently to improve their situation.
Frank Water’s work in this village involved assessing the water that was available and ensuring that every voice is heard when it comes to ensuring that there is enough water for farming endeavours and domestic use. Our team supported the community during the pandemic, with education about the importance of hand washing and good hygiene being a key priority. We continued to support in a number of ways, from training community health volunteers and childcare staff on hygiene, running period product workshops with young women to reduce shame and health risks and training community members in the skills needed to ensure water is safe to drink.