Monday, 18 May 2020

“Sankat Mochan” Sarvajal - Providing safe drinking water in times of crisis

Sarvajal safe drinking water facility at Shahbad Daulatpur providing an uninterrupted supply of safe drinking water in corona lockdown down situation is emerging as a reliable drinking water source.

In Delhi's slums, where water and space are scarce, COVID prevention measures like handwashing is indeed a luxury and practising social distancing is difficult. In such unpredictable times, Sarvajal safe drinking water facility for Shahbad Dairy slum dwellers stands out as a reliable, safe drinking water source, finds out Jay Raval, after interacting with Sarvajal consumers.

Getting water in Delhi's slums has been a challenge. The lockdown and summer season has left some fearing and unsure about the continuous supply of water, deepening the water crisis. 

In Shahbad Daulatpur slum, with an erratic supply of water, which is sometimes muddy and lack of servicing of domestic RO water purifiers, slum dwellers are switching to Sarvajal Drinking Water facility located in the slum. 

Sawan Kumar who made his Sarvajal card in the lockdown down period and has been taking 18 litres of water every day says “ Now nobody will come to repair my domestic purifier, it's better to take the filtered water from the plant”. Similar concerns are echoed by Mitin Kumar who shares “Domestic purifier is not working and I can not take risk of getting repairs by anyone”. After the lockdown, around 50 new cards have been created and 155 cardholders who haven’t taken water from the facility till date are taking water from the Sarvajal plant since the past 3 months.   

With increasing infection, the community does not want to take risk of taking water from a crowded place or falling sick by consuming unsafe water.

Sarvajal offers a safe space with COVID prevention measures like sanitising the ATM and social distancing. 

Vandana Devi, mother of two says, “Tankers does not come every day. If they come we need to stand in a long line and I can’t do that because crowds gather and there are chances of local transmission of coronavirus. At Sarvajal plant there is no such crowd”

Another Shahbad resident Kripa Shankar who has 5 members in the family says, “I was drinking supply water and the water is muddy, why I should make me and my family unwell when we have Sarvajal”.

DJB Shahbad Dairy April vs March volume jump is 41%, (March’20 average per day dispense-  6624 litres & April’20 average per day dispense is 9670 litres.  As compared to last April, 72% volume jump has been reported.

Sarvajal stands with everyone in these toughest times. The operator, the team,  the organization stands to ensure uninterrupted access to safe drinking water facility to underserved with corona safeguard measures at the plant premises. 

Friday, 8 May 2020

Poem by Meenu Ratnani!

यह  जमबोरी है भई जमबोरी
इन्द्रधनुष जेसी रंगों से भरी,
कभी सीखा गयी, कभी हँसा गयी
कभी  रुला गयीl
हुई शुरुआत इसकी जब अनुज ने पूछा स्कोपिंग जमबोरी के बाद, कौन सी टीम करेगी अगली जमबोरी, उत्साह पूर्वक हाथ उठाया हमने
कहा कॉम टीम करेगी अगली जमबोरी।

पूछे गए अनेक सवाल और हर सवाल था बेमिसाल  बना पाँच दिन का कार्यक्रम ,
उदेश्य था मिल जुल कर जानने और
सीखने का, ताकि हर जन तक पहुंचे शुद्ध सर्वजल,
कॉम  की भूमिका पर जोर देने का,
कोशिश थी विभिन्न टीम के सदस्यों का बने समागम,
मिल कर कुछ करने  का रखते है दम। 

पहला गगन्तव्य था  जयपुर ,
जहा हमने pcds के बारे में जाना,
मशीन का चलना है जरुरी यह सबने माना, कम्मुनिटी का विश्ववास फिर बना,
आदित्य का नामुमकिन से मुमकिन,
दिलबरी की  उमग  और तरूण के
टैलेंट ने कर दिया  दंग, 
साइट और कस्टमर प्रोफाइल के
बिना नहीं चलेगा काम,
बेसलाइन और स्कोपिंग जानकारी के बिना नहीं रखना है फील्ड में कदम,
हम  नुक्कड़ नाटक और टॉक शो का रखते है दम।

अगला पड़ाव था गुजरात, 
जहा की निराली थी हर बात,
गाव् थे चार , वाटर ओफटाके होने के कारण थे  हज़ार,
बेसलाइन का डाटा किया इस्तेमाल,  
सर्वजल के प्रचार , स्कूल ड्राइव, जल कथा और रैली से किया धमाल,
कम्युनिटी के प्रति, ऑपरेटर भाई 
अपनी जिम्मेदारी देना टाल,
नहीं तो फिर उठजायेंगे सवाल।
तीसरा और आखिरी पड़ाव था भुवनेश्वर ,
लगाना था यहाँ कई गुना जोर क्योंकि पांच गुना पानी निकलने की उम्मीद थी भरपूर,
अर्बन, ऑपरेशन्स, आईटी, scm, मार्केटिंग, सेल्स और कॉम टीम का बनाया एक दस्ता,
ngos को साथ लेकर, लगा कर कैनोपी,
बजा कर सर्वजल जिंगल, कम्मुनिटी को किया जागरूक, बेहतर स्वास्थ्य, उम्दा क्वालिटी, वाजिब मूल्य का दिया वास्ता  

चाहे हो बस्ती या हो सार्वजनिक स्थल, कम्युनिटी को साथ रखने, हुई bmc के साथ सुनवाई,
लोगो को जागरूक करना है कितना जरुरी यह बात उनको भी समझाई,
कार्ड हो एक्टिव, तो कर सकते है धाक के तीन पात।
अभी और बहुत कुछ करना और सीखना, उस को ले कर थी विचारो मैं गुम, तभी मेंरे 11 वर्षीय बेटे ने पूछा माँ कब है अगली जमबोरी।
                                                                                                  ~ Meenu Ratnani

Thursday, 7 May 2020

Sarvajal Front-Line Workers


Story by Jay Raval

Sagar Patil, aged 28 years has been working as the plant operator, since the plant was inaugurated. Young and energetic, Sagar who resides in the village is familiar with the village and community. He was part of behavior change communication led interventions in 2019, supporting the team in identifying the households in the and providing language support during the conduct of intervention.  

During my last visit at Kundane, he shared that he is constructing a new house in the village. In the starting of the conversation, he mentions that “Sir woh ghar ka bataya tha na, uske kaam meh tha aapke call ane se pehle” and curiously asks how is everything in Ahmedabad. 

Sarvajal Consumers are following social distancing while taking water from plant at Kundane

Then quickly he adds about the water situation, “Sir do you know in our village community members are much tensed and no one is going to take water from the Phata”. Phata is a place 3 km away from Kundane where most of the people bring drinking water available free from a govt pipeline (illegally broken). From where they are fetching water now? I asked. Sagar quickly responds “Sir, those who were going to take water from Phata, most of them are now taking water from the Sarvajal plant”. This is quite evident when one seems water offtake which has increased by 50% when compared with last month, dispensing 1000 litres per day. Sagar shares a concern “Demand for the cards have increased, and people have paid money in advance, but I don’t have any cards”.  As there is a shortage of new Sarvajal RFID cards, I suggest that you do a recharge of 1000 for 10 consumers in your card and start maintaining the dispense data of those 10 consumers in hard copy. He appreciates the suggestion and our conversation moves further. 

Sagar enthusiastically talks about the corona prevention steps he has taken for the Sarvajal safe drinking water facility. His resourcefulness in ensuring the continuous supply of water at the plant is evident when he says “Along with sanitising the ATM and the premises, I have cleaned the membrane with the help of one of my friends as no JFE can travel in this lockdown. I did not mind spending my own money to get the materials for the Sarvajal plant.

There was one spare tank, as there is a shortage of the water from gram panchayat I have started using that tank for storing the water”

Boys and men…young and experienced aged group of people maintaining, 
'दो गज की दूरी'

Sagar is well connected with the community and he is aware about consumers who are not taking water. He adds “I have requested those consumers who are not taking water to share their card with needy community members”. There is a sense of pride and belonging when he says “Sir humara pani ek baar pite hai toh aadat jaegi hi nai,  esa log bolne lag gae hai.”

Sagar spends major time of the day at Sarvajal plant, following the COVID safeguards, interacting with those who come to take water. Twice a day he starts the purification tank process and in free time for his entertainment watches movies. He understands the importance of providing safe drinking water in this difficult time. He tells that Gram Sevak (sarpanch) and influential members of the community are requesting others to take water from Sarvajal as there are very less chances to get a virus while taking the water. Women are vocal about telling other community members, especially when someone does not obey the social distancing at Sarvajal plant. He ends the conversation by telling, “With our initiatives, villagers are being made aware about safeguards against COVID-19”. Both I and front-line warrior disconnected the call with hope in our hearts and smiles on our faces.

Monday, 4 May 2020

A healthy community is a happy community!

In the global pandemic, we all are fighting with the invisible enemy. 

The lockdown is being extended to control the situation however it is very challenging for many especially daily wage earners who are now running out of basic necessities to sustain their life.
In one of our locations Gowndarpallyam in Tamil Nadu where safe drinking water facility is blessed under Jal Jeevan initiative of Hinduja Foundation and Ashok Leyland. 

A village water committee has been set up and their prime responsibility is managing the plant operations so safe drinking water is provided to the community. They ensure water plant and ATM is regularly cleaned, sanitized and continue to serve safe water to the community. Our operator Mrs. Sabana is educating the users to follow hygiene practices such as handwashing, washing utensils before refilling and practise social distancing while queuing at the ATM. 

During these tough times, when moving out is not allowed, all the villagers are face problem in getting groceries and other basic stuff. Mr.Purushothaman, Mr. Venkatesh and Mr.Ramaamoothy who are a part of the VWC decided to come forward to provide necessities such as grocery, masks and other essential items to destitute women, elders and along with migrant people.

By now, they have already distributed necessary items to 240 households and continued to support to migrant people with all facilities. They also mobilised funds so basic and essential items can be provided regularly to the needy in the village.

Initially, 5 kg of rice were distributed to the households

The conditions of being panic and having stress are better now and they are getting support from the government now as shared by the VWC members.

The rigour of continuously doing every bit of it to provide relief and reduce panic during such difficult times is commendable. It is now the responsibility of all of us to join hands and overcome from this global situation together. 

As it says "we shall overcome ONE DAY" 

#letsbehopeful #staysafe

Thursday, 30 April 2020

We are more closely connected to the invisible than to the visible

We are more closely connected to the invisible than to the visible and that we proved during these testing times when everyone has to come together to fight this invisible enemy. 

Sumer Kumar Prajapati is our operator of the Jal Jeevan Kendra in Deora Mir, UP, adopted by IndusInd Bank under Hinduja Foundation initiative to provide safe drinking water to its community.

When the national lockdown was announced, our operator not only delivered his job right but also come forward to shoulder the responsibility of ensuring the villagers are safe.

He would clean the Jal Jeevan Kendra and ATM and educate the users about practising safe habits and take all the precautions for their well-being. He was proactive it circulating all the IEC material shared by Sarvajal in the what's app group of the village. 

He further extended a helping hand to his brother Bhim Kumar Prajapati, the Pradhan of the village for containing the village from the virus.

He shared "At the beginning when we got to know about the virus, there was a sense of fear amongst all of us.  Soon after the lockdown, we started sanitizing our entire village" "Andar bhi, bahar bhi gaon mai sab jagah chidkaav hua kia lagataar 3 din tak...”

Initially, the panchayat didn't have funds to provide food to the people. So under the guidance of his elder brother, he mobilized and collected funds for providing ration to 15 needy people who are unable to afford this situation for 3months. 

Shortly, soaps and masks were also distributed to all the villagers. 

He showed his responsibility towards the community in the true form at the right hour.

The Gram Panchayat is also actively taking measures for the people who came from the other village. They were made to stay in the govt school after the medical checkup with all necessary facilities. 

We can definitely see their seva bhav for their community. This is the time to stand together so all are safe and healthy.

Wednesday, 29 April 2020

Saluting some of our unsung heroes

Vinod Meena is a Sarvajal operator of the Safe Drinking Water facility in partnership with HDFC Life

Vinod is also an active member of the Gram Panchayat and is enthusiastically working with the panchayat to enforce the preventive measures of COVID 19. He has been entrusted with the task to list the neediest families of the village which will be shared with the collector for action to be taken. 

With the start of April, the ration will be distributed to these families.

As he is a Sarvajal operator and works diligently with the community as part of his duties to raise awareness on water and health linkages, he could prepare this list quickly. He along with few others in the village is ensuring that everyone is comfortable during the lockdown period. He also helped distribute more than 150 masks in the village. 

Along with serving the community with safe drinking water services, he has been educating the people of the village on taking precautions and being safe. Information on Dos & Don'ts, correct ways of handwashing, using a mask and washing the utensils before filling water is being heavily promoted to the villagers of Gunawad, Madhya Pradesh.

Vinod also sanitizes the plant and ATM daily to ensure that he provides safe service to the villagers. 
In Vinod’s own words, "bas yahi chahte hai ki gaon tak ye bimaari na aaye, koshish kar rahe hai aur abhi bhi logo ko baar baar samjha rahe hai bahar aaye toh mooh dhakkar ya mask lagakar aaye. Goan wale kaafi satark hai aur shurakshit bhi mehsoos kar rahe hai."

Sarvajal team gives kudos to such heroes who are selflessly serving the communities.

Not all of us can do great things, but we can do small things with great love!

When the nation announced 21 days of lockdown for the safety of all. A wave of uncertainty across the length and breadth of the country. There were a lot of mixed reactions from people!
In one of our village, Siya in Madhya Pradesh, where NFIL has provided the safe drinking water facility under its CSR initiative, our operator Dilip said, "It was that time of the month when many of the villagers were left with no ration so we had to take decisions which benefits all”.

Apart from sanitizing the Water ATM and machine, the village was also sanitized and people followed all instructions shared with them for maintaining hygiene and taking necessary precautions.
They were seen washing hands frequently, covering their faces and cleaning the surroundings. They also came forward to volunteer for helping each other in the village.

Some of the joint decisions taken included:
1) Landlords stopped taking rent of the house for the coming two months.
2) Villagers collected ration and prepared and distributed food for two days for needy families.

Dilip said, "No doubt, in the beginning, we were scared when we got to the news that the whole nation is shut. There was panic and the situations were unmanageable but glad that everyone came together".

As days passed, people got used to and conditions got better as Gram Panchayat could provide ration to many households in the village.  They could balance themselves emotionally and spent time at home watching Doordarshan and cinema.

Though the virus outbreak is difficult to handle but it has definitely made people more responsible and empathetic towards each other.