Flora Khalkho is a happy woman today. But it was not long ago when, she and around 18 other families from Oraon tribal community of two hamlets of Jamjunwani village, Pathalgaon block, Jashpur district of Chhattisgarh were facing issues related to the availability of quality safe drinking water, and water for other purposes like household chores, irrigation etc. All the families in the village were dependent on dodhi (traditional water body) for water supply.

There was always a threat of water contamination in the dodhi due to it being open without any boundaries. The condition would aggravate during rainy season as the soil from the adjacent dirt road would pour into the shallow dodhi making its water completely unfit for use.

It all started changing, when CARE India came to their village under project ‘Where the rain falls’ (WTRF). Flora Khalkho also participated at one of the meetings organized by CARE India. The animator motivated her to participate in the ‘Community Adaptation Plan (CAP)’ exercise organized under the project. During the exercise CARE India team mapped different issues, vulnerabilities, and challenges faced by the villagers, and helped develop a community owned action plan to address these issues.

Repair and renovation of the dodhis was one of the key priorities of the action plan decided by the community. Flora along with four other families from the village contributed towards construction material and labor cost besides getting small monetary contribution, and technical assistance from CARE for renovation of the damaged dodhi. This year post monsoon, Flora and other community members in the village are happy about the quality of the water from the renovated dodhi and the water table of the dodhi has also gone up.

Although the contribution towards repair and renovation of dodhi was made only by four families, but now it is being used by almost every household of the two hamlets. The four families are willing to share the water to other members of the communities as they said “the process of developing a CAP has made us realize to prioritize our needs and think of action which we can execute and which is being owned by us as community”.

WTRF initiative was started with the overall goal to enhance the capacity of governments’ and civil society organizations’ at all levels, as well as the private sector, to better understand and effectively address the relationship between changing weather patterns, food secu­rity and human mobility.

Manoj Singh