From September until December 2009, I completed an internship with Arghyam through my master's studies at Oregon State University to better understand gender, water, and sanitation in rural locations in South India. During this internship, I worked with two of Arghyam's partner-NGOs, Gramalaya and Gandhigram, to see how water and sanitation programs affected women and men in rural villages in Tamil Nadu. I documented this journey on my blog called Water for the Ages. These posts included:
31 August 2009 – Water for the Ages in India: Initial Impressions of H20 in Bangalore
16 September 2009 – Water for the Ages in India: Two Weeks at Arghyam
12 October 2009 – Kids and Songs for Safe Water and Good Hygiene in Tamil Nadu
16 November 2009 – Gandhian Thoughts on Gender, Water, and Sanitation
This internship provided a valuable experience for me – a student from the United States – to visit women and men in five villages in India. Discussions with village members allowed me to consider impacts of water and sanitation programs on women and men in these communities. Time spent with each NGO gave me the opportunity to view methods used by NGOs to attain gender equality in water and sanitation programs. Such will be the topic of my master's project at OSU - Gender Mainstreaming in Water and Sanitation in South India: A Comparative Case Study of Two NGOs.
Interestingly, I was able to help develop a webpage on gender, water, and sanitation for the India Water Portal during my internship. This page will be available in the near future. Stay tuned for the release.