Women are revered in many parts of the world. Even in India, women are worshipped in many forms, one of them being the rivers. Rivers like Ganga, Yamuna, Saraswati, Narmada, and the Godavari are some of the most popularly venerated rivers of the Indian subcontinent. However, it is ironic to note that the scarcity of water affects women, more than any other community.
Rekha Sharma, Chairperson of the National Commission for Women is also helping women access to water and sanitation facilities. She states that women and girls are worst affected due to the water crisis. Not only do they face physical problems, while fetching water from water bodies located far away, they also face harassment in the way. The lack of clean water also affects their health due to the lack of proper sanitation in villages, especially during their menstrual cycles. Girls drop out of schools at large rates due to the very reason. Although NGOs are working towards finding water management solutions, there are very few, who take into consideration, the rights of women, when it comes to water.
Founding member of Parmarth Samaj Sevi Sansthan, Sanjay Singh has been actively involved in helping the privileged sections of the society in sustaining themselves. Their focus majorly lies on the women, belonging to the rural parts of India. The organization has managed to reach over 467 villages in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, with a large scale impact on the district of Bundelkhand. Parmarth has engaged over 7300 community members by involving them in all projects related to water solution. Keeping in mind, the women’s rights on water, they have implemented projects like Pani Saheli, which makes the journey of women, who have to travel far to fetch water, easier.
Chinnmayee Praveen, fondly known as the Water Lady, is a social entrepreneur in Karnataka. She has been a ray of hope in the state, which has been facing a major water crisis for more than a decade. She is working towards providing sparkling, clean drinking water to the needy. Chinnmayee and her organization have been installing water ATMs across the state, with over 600 ATMs installed to date. Other than providing safe drinking water to the community, she is also helping women in the neighborhood become self-sufficient. It is majorly the women who are responsible for the installation and maintenance of these water ATMs. The women are trained for all the technical requirements of the job. Chinnmayee believes that the efficiency of work improves with the desire to fulfill the duties that the job requires, rather than degrees.
With the change in times, there is also a change in the society. The Women’s First Right on Water initiative has been implemented by Parmarth, which is working to create measures so that the women can access water near households. The initiative also makes the importance of women’s opinion in the decision making on water structures and policies, paramount. Every small change is significant enough to create a large impact in the future.
Public participation remains one of the most valued aspects of any water conservation movement. Each one of us can make a difference. Take the Har Ek Boond pledge today, to make every drop of water count. Log onto www.republicworld.com or give a missed call on 1800 120 887788.