• The Flamingo Foundation enabling tribal “Baiga” communities to access safe drinking water, Chhattisgarh, India

    The Flamingo Foundation is working with Frank Water to enable particularly vulnerable tribal communities increased access to water, sanitation and hygiene education.

    Work has been progressing well. The training for local staff on participatory groundwater management has been completed, which means that they will be able to make sure that the water and sanitation solutions that are implemented are both holistic and sustainable.

    Over the summer, we also started rolling out a water testing programme. Using locally produced water testing kits, we have encouraged community members to test their own water sources. The kits need to be kept at body temperature so people are asked to keep a small bottle tied close to their body over 48 hours. At the end, if the water turns black, they will know that the water is contaminated, and

    needs to be sent to a laboratory for further tests.

    This has been extremely effective. In one village there was previously no safe

    source of water, and the available sources had been so badly contaminated that

    there had been cases of deaths due to diarrhoeal diseases. Here we are working

    with the community to build a rainwater harvesting tank on the roof of the local

    school. At first people did not believe that rainwater could be safe as they had

    seen that all of their other sources were contaminated. The local staff asked a

    teacher to test some rainwater which he did. When the water remained clear he

    told everyone, thereby becoming a local safe water champion.

    In other villages as well, where people have been encouraged to test their own

    sources, they have been mobilised to secure safer supplies. Previously, people

    had often become so accustomed to sickness that they put it down to

    superstitious forces or saw it as an everyday part of life. After seeing that the

    illnesses are linked to their water sources they are now keen to improve not only

    the availability but the quality of their water.

    The local government is starting to respond and in addition to fixing a number of

    immediate problems, they are looking to develop five villages into water secure

    model villages.

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