An initiative by Mewati women to overcome drinking water crisis in Haryana
Mundaka village, in Mewat district of Haryana, is a small village with 109 households. It is an isolated and underdeveloped hamlet located at the far end of the state. The village community faced acute water shortage adding to the burden of the women who were primarily responsible for making water available for their families. The SM Sehgal Foundation initiated the formation of women’s collectives in all five blocks of the district in 2014. These women collectives comprised women who are representatives in Panchayats, school management committees, village health sanitation and nutrition committees and other governance institutions. These women decided to build a water tank for resolving the severe scarcity of water in the village for which they collectively raised money.
• Financial support for construction of infrastructure was provided by Leo and Heather Smith, US-based philanthropists.
• S M Sehgal Foundation facilitated the project in both villages.
• The women’s collective mobilised the community members to select the site of tank construction and also provided financial support. They have also taken responsibility to monitor the construction work and maintenance of the tank in the future.
APPROACH AND METHODOLOGY
The Sehgal Foundation raised funds for the tank in Mundaka from Leo and Heather Smith. Community meetings at the village were held, which were attended mostly by men. Several disagreements among the village’s men led to a lack of constructive communication. At this point, the Mundaka women’s collective (mahila sangathan) took charge of the implementation of the project.
They had already been equipped to participate in the development processes of their villages through trainings and discussions held earlier by the foundation. In the case
of the water tank, the women’s collective went door to door and collected INR 6,000 from the community. They also raised a request with the sarpanch (village headman) for a contribution to the cost of the tank from the government fund. This request led to an allocation of INR 15,000. Sehgal Foundation raised the remaining funds and designed
the model for the construction of a water tank. The water tank consists of a bio sand filtration system for water purification and has a storage capacity of 50,000 litres. Construction was completed in two months.