Pooja Doriya lives in Jamgod village in the Dewas district of Madhya Pradesh, which is inhabited by 700 families, a majority from the OBC, ST/SC community. The main sources of water in the village include the community well, hand pumps and borewells installed in some households. However, during the summer season the well dries up and at times, the borewells also fail to generate water. As a result, women have to travel a minimum distance of 1-1.5km to fetch water for daily consumption.

When the P.A.C.E. programme was introduced in the village in July 2019, several women, including Pooja joined it to learn new things and improve their skills. Pooja attended every session with great enthusiasm and worked as the community mobiliser of her learning group.

When faced with water scarcity in the village, the P.A.C.E. participants decided to call a community meeting of the village women to discuss the problem and find the best solution, using the methods learned in the Problem Solving and Decision-making module.

It came to light that while an organisation called CARD in alliance with Water Aid, had laid down the water pipelines, they were yet to be made functional. Having learnt about the government’s Jal Jeevan Mission during their P.A.C.E. training, the women decided to form a Village Water and Sanitation Committee (VWSC) called the Pani Samiti, to address the issue of the nonfunctional pipelines.

The women on a mission first approached the Sarpanch with a proposal. Once it was accepted, a committee of 11 members (10 women and 1 man) was formed, with all the women being P.A.C.E. participants. Pooja Doriya was elected as the chairperson of the Pani Samiti.

As a result of consistent efforts by the samiti to persuade the local government to supply drinking water through the piped connections, today 150 households are receiving water through pipeline. In addition, Water.org is planning to introduce an R.O. plant in the village.

Pooja and the other P.A.C.E. participants are grateful to the Women+Water Alliance for conducting the P.A.C.E. training, which has helped them develop various skills and build their awareness and confidence.

Pooja is particularly thankful because she believes that “the relation of water and women is unbreakable. Water is an essential part of women’s life.”

About the Programme: CARE is working with USAID and Gap Inc. as a partner of the ambitious Women + Water Alliance (W+W) to improve and sustain the health and well-being of 2,00,000 women, their households and communities touched by the apparel industry. The programme is designed on the premise that by providing access to water, inculcating sanitation and hygiene (WASH) practices and sharing water resources in a sustained and equitable manner, women will be able to significantly improve their health and wellbeing.

Posted by: Priyank Verma, KMLE Expert
Location: Jamgod village, Dewas district, Madhya Pradesh

In 2022, for International Women’s Day (IWD), the UN has adopted the theme ‘Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow’, to celebrate the tremendous efforts by women and girls around the world in shaping a more equal future and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.