Drop by drop ACCESS & HUL in Base of Pyramid Partnership for Safe Drinking Water for Rural Poor:
Yakalakshmi lives in Nekkunda village, Telengana region in Andhra Pradesh with her husband and two children. Though she has water piped to her house by the village panchayat, her entire family fell ill for a month last monsoon season by drinking water directly from the tap. "We all got high fever and severe diarrhea", she says, "we had to spend around Rs. 4000 on health care, which was very difficult for us". So when she got the opportunity this January to buy an effective water purifier through her Self Help Group (SHG) on an installment basis she was one of the first to sign up. Yakalakshmi is just one of the beneficiaries of a unique tie-up between ACCESS Development Services, a microfinance technical services non-profit organization, and Hindustan Unilever Limited, one of the country's largest producers of fast-moving consumer goods, to provide safe drinking water to rural poor. "Most of these villages have piped water or boreholes", says Padma, Project Coordinator at a local NGO, PEACE, "the problem is that tests by UNICEF in this district show that up to 70 percent of these sources are contaminated."The contamination gets even worse during the rainy season, especially due to poor sanitation and waste-management practices.
On 29th January, my colleague Binayak and I went to Nelmangala to participate in the "Save Arkavathy"Walk. The Walk was organized hoping that the participants would learn from the experiences of the villagers along the Arkavathy River and be able to generate interest in them to join the walk.
www.allaboutwater.org is an interesting site for laypersons but also to an extent for water resources researchers, covering a wide range of facts relating water vis-Ã -vis our planet and the human race and presenting its information in a clear, user-friendly way.