Home to over 1.3 billion people, India is the world’s largest democracy and is composed of 29 states and 7 union territories. Separated from mainland Asia by the Himalayas, the country is surrounded by the Bay of Bengal in the east, the Arabian Sea in the west, and the Indian Ocean to the south. India is a country of great cultural, religious, and linguistic diversity.
According to the most recent Joint Monitoring Program (JMP) Report by UNICEF and WHO, 97% of people in urban areas and 91% in rural areas have access to safe water. Access to improved sanitation is much lower, with 60% of urban and 25% of rural dwellers using improved sanitation facilities. These numbers, however, do not provide an accurate and complete picture of water and sanitation access in India. Across the country, there is a wide disparity in access to safe water and sanitation among districts and access in the rural areas where Water For People-India works is significantly lower.
History of Program
Water For People began working in India in 1996, with a small pilot project in West Bengal to help eliminate naturally occurring arsenic in water supplies. In 2007, Water For People established a full-fledged country program with an office in Kolkata, and by the end of 2010 had programming in several districts in West Bengal. In 2012, Water For People expanded operations to Sheohar in the state of Bihar and this year to the Jajpur District in Odisha and the town of Chaksu in Rajasthan State. This year, India’s headquarters office moved from Kolkata to New Delhi.
Everyone Forever is a unique programmatic effort to provide water and sanitation to Everyone in targeted districts and municipalities, Forever. It means these districts and communities will not need to rely on water agencies to address their water challenges. And it provides a model for greater replication, leading to a push for national full water and sanitation coverage. Water For People-India is focusing its Everyone Forever efforts in two blocks in the district of South 24 Parganas in West Bengal, all five blocks in the district of Sheohar in Bihar, two blocks of Jajpur in Odisha, and Chaksu Municipality in the Jaipur district of Rajasthan.
Water For People believes long-lasting water and sanitation solutions can be achieved when all players-the private sector, civil society, and local government-are supported in a way that enables them to understand and act upon their areas of responsibility and support community water supply and sanitation development. As such, Water For People convenes, partners, and builds the skills of the district, block governments, Gram Panchayat and Panchayati Raj Institutions (community governments in rural areas) where programming is targeted, local self-help groups and community based organizations, and local non-governmental organizations.