Population: 1.3 billion
Rural access to basic water services: 91%1
Rural access to basic sanitation services: 14%2
Water For People in India
Separated from mainland Asia by the Himalaya mountains, India is the world’s largest democracy. With 1.3 billion people, it is a country of great cultural, religious, and linguistic diversity.
Water For People began working in India in 1996, and in 2008 we developed a locally registered arm to work in tandem on projects funded by Indian corporations, foundations, and individuals. To date, we have reached over one million people in India through water and sanitation solutions.
Helping Indians bring water, sanitation, and hygiene to their communities
Water For People installs and rehabilitates community water systems and handpumps. Many water points in India are broken due to poor maintenance, and we have addressed this issue by training water user committees and developing a network of mobile mechanics known as Jalabandhus (Friends of Water). To further promote sustainability, we work with local water and sanitation committees that oversee the operation and maintenance of their local systems. We also partner with the One Drop Foundation to implement social art programming, using art and theater to promote safe water, sanitation, and hygiene practices.
The government of India’s Swachh Bharat Mission is for the country to be open defecation free, and we are promoting that mission through a variety of sanitation initiatives. A Water For People Sanitation Hub researches and invents new sanitation products, ideas, and tools. We support local sanitation entrepreneurs with loans and training to develop their businesses that sell toilets and supplies, and we also partner with local microfinance institutions to provide loans for investment in bathrooms.
SCHOOLS AND HYGIENE
Water For People’s work in schools improves sanitation and water services and promotes good hygiene practices among students. All school sanitation facilities include changing rooms for girls to provide privacy during menstruation. Teenage girls are also empowered through menstrual hygiene trainings. Through school Water and Sanitation Committees, students are encouraged to take ownership of water and sanitation facilities. These committees help maintain the facilities and promote good hygiene to their fellow students.
Everyone Forever Districts
Sagar Island is a block in the South 24 Parganas District of the state of West Bengal. Most of the population of Sagar Island are subsistence farmers, fishers, or manual laborers. Sagar Island is prone to flooding and tidal surges, which can make providing water services particularly challenging.
Sheohar is a rural district in the northern part of the country, and Water For People works in all five of its blocks. Most people in these densely populated blocks are day laborers and farmers. The level of poverty is very high.
Rajnagar is a block in the Birbhum district of the state of West Bengal. Birbhum is a region prone to droughts, so rather than focusing on agriculture, most of the population produce handicrafts and bamboo products. Over half of the population belong to traditionally vulnerable and excluded groups.
Tariyani is a block within the broader Sheohar District of Bihar State, India.
Piprahi is a block within the broader Sheohar District of Bihar State, India.
Patharpratima is a block in the South 24 Parganas District of the State of West Bengal. Patharpratima is susceptible to flooding due to being located in a river delta. Most of the population works in agriculture, fishing, or manual labor.
Namkhana is a block in the South 24 Parganas District of the state of West Bengal. Most people living in Namkhana are farmers, and more than a quarter of the population belongs to the most disadvantaged group in India’s caste system. Because Namkahana is in low-lying wetlands, many of the area’s water supplies are contaminated with saline.
Chikhaldara is a block in the Amravati District of the state of Maharashtra. Most of the population of Chikhaldara belong to tribal communities, and the majority of families are farmers. The region has high levels of poverty and experiences widespread water shortages.
Dumri Katsari is a block within the broader Sheohar District of Bihar State, India.
Purnahiya is a block within the broader Sheohar District of Bihar State, India.