Below-average monsoons for the last two years had led to a massive drought across Maharashtra in 2013. Takarwan village in Beed District was one of the worst affected. Drought recovery assistance was critically required and a community-based drought preparedness programme was needed in order to ensure sustainability.
How we helped
The impact of drought was largely on livestock and livelihoods. However, there was also a need to address the stress created due to lack of resources and knowledge, particularly on water distribution systems and unhygienic surroundings.
With wells running dry, a way to supplement their water level was urgently required. Eighteen key wells were connected to the nearby Godavari river, ensuring drinking water supply for the village through the drought season. Hand pumps are also used as a dependable source of water. Yet, during summer these go defunct due to very low ground water. There was also no custom of tapping the rain water which ran off in its natural gradient. Eight hand pumps were equipped through two recharge pits. The run-off water from nearby fields, homes and streams was diverted to these recharge pits. With natural filtration systems installed, the pit filters sediments and dirt from the running water.
Open defecation was another acute hygiene problem. With the expanding population, privacy issues for women were only growing. Public health needed work both on the infrastructural and behavioural fronts.
Four community toilet blocks were constructed with five units in each block. Located in four different corners, they are accessible to women across the village. This was supported by awareness activities on personal hygiene, methods to safely handle water and environmental sanitation.
Leaving a mark
The conservative traditions of the village meant that women were quite withdrawn at the beginning of the programme. Yet concerted focus on their needs and involvement helped turn this around, with 300 women taking part in one of the final awareness rallies. Overall, the programme touched over 1800 households (9629 people).