The village of Bairagarh is 450km south east of Delhi, in the province of Madhya Pradesh. The nearest major town is Jhansi. Bairagarh is typical of the small villages to be found throughout India. It has some 60 households and a population which fluctuates between 400 to 600, as some of the men have to travel to find work. The people of the villages mainly work on the surrounding land, some as day workers and some as small land owners working their own fields. Children attend school; in fact many have aspirations of going to college to break out of the poverty cycle.
Before the project works were completed, water was drawn from a number of common hand pumped wells around the village, field wells or the river. It was then carried by hand, mainly by women, for up to 1km. The quality of the water would vary from poor tasting, clear but high in contaminants to dirty, dangerous river water.
Formal sanitation was non existent; open defecation in the bush was the only option available, which carries both health implications as well as safety and modesty issues for women.
Water supply reliability for both drinking and animal/agriculture was a major concern. Wells would dry up in the summer and there were no structures on the river to hold back rain water following the monsoon. This meant that the river would run dry just months after the monsoon flood.
In 2012, Just a Drop – in collaboration with local partner Haritika – installed a well and a 40,000 litre tank to provide a gravity supply to the village. In addition, a new piped distribution system has allowed the villagers their own connections to this water supply in their homes or yards. What’s more, the provision of building materials and technical support has meant that they are able to use these connections to build their own private household toilets and bathrooms (60 in total).
The community involvement has been strong in this project, which serves both to create a small maintenance fund and also installs ownership of the project to a far greater degree than if the facilities were just handed over. There has been a particular stress on sanitation hygiene education to ensure that the facilities are both used and maintained properly.
Furthermore, a check dam has been built on the river to impound some of the monsoon rains which, when the rains arrive, will create a 200m lake. The water this dam provides will not only help to sustain the wells in the village but will also ensure a more dependable source of water for agricultural use during the dry season.
Our sincere thanks to the Gerald Leigh Trust for making this project possible.
Date of Project: April 2012 / Beneficiaries: 400+