सीधे मुख्य सामग्री पर जाएं

Eight years of empowering tribal communities through water initiatives in Chhattisgarh

By Gazala Paul*  

In the heart of Chhattisgarh, amidst the echoes of tribal life, a transformative journey has unfolded over the past eight years. The Samerth organization has diligently worked to elevate the lives of indigenous communities in the Kawardha district through the project, "Enabling Baiga Community to access safe drinking water." 
This article chronicles the project's evolution, goals, phases, and significant strides in promoting water accessibility, hygiene, and sustainable development.

Building Capacity for Sustainable Development:

Samerth's commitment to sustainable development and community well-being is exemplified through its multifaceted approach to capacity building. Organizing workshops and training sessions, the organization aimed not only to disseminate knowledge but also to create an environment conducive to the effective implementation of project goals.

Key Objectives:

The overarching goal of Samerth's capacity-building initiatives was to empower different community groups with the skills and knowledge necessary to actively participate in and benefit from the project's thematic areas. The objective was clear - facilitate the implementation of thematic areas and deliver tangible benefits to the target groups.

Harnessing Water Wisdom:

Samerth's Innovative Approach to Water Security in Chhattisgarh Villages
In the heartland of Chhattisgarh, where water is not merely a resource but a lifeline, Samerth's pioneering initiative unfolded in 2015-16. Through meticulous water need mapping and assessment, Samerth embarked on a transformative journey, developing Water Security Plans (WSP) for ten Gram Panchayats in operational blocks of Bodla and Pandhariya.

Mapping the Need:

Samerth's journey began with a thorough water need mapping and assessment of villages in Bodla and Pandhariya in 2015-16. The objective was clear – to understand the nuanced water requirements of these communities. This detailed assessment laid the foundation for the subsequent development of Water Security Plans.

Crafting Water Security Plans:

In 2016-17, armed with insights from the water need assessment, Samerth meticulously crafted Water Security Plans for ten Gram Panchayats, strategically distributed between Pandhariya and Bodla blocks. These plans were not mere documents; they were blueprints for change, aiming to make villages water-secured through the mobilization of government resources, particularly from the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS).

Detailed Project Reports (DPR):

The cornerstone of Samerth's strategy was the creation of Detailed Project Reports (DPR) within the Water Security Plans. Each DPR was a comprehensive dossier, encapsulating village demography, resource mapping, livelihoods, Natural Resource Management (NRM), and critical water resources required for drinking and irrigation.

Integrated Rural Water Management (IWRM):

The meticulously prepared DPRs became instrumental in unlocking resources from MGNREGS under the title of 'Integrated Rural Water Management' (IWRM). Samerth ingeniously leveraged these plans to channelize government funds into critical water and soil conservation components, focusing not just on meeting immediate water needs but creating sustainable water security for the villages.

Samerth's Transformative Journey:

Samerth's journey in Chhattisgarh exemplifies a novel approach to water security – one that transcends immediate relief and delves into sustainable solutions. By combining meticulous water need assessments with strategic DPRs, Samerth has not only secured water for villages but empowered communities to shape their own water destinies, creating a legacy of resilience and self-sufficiency in the heart of Chhattisgarh.

Phases of Transformation:

Phase I: 2014-2016 - Laying the Foundation
The initial phase aimed at elevating the lives of 2306 households across 36 villages, focusing on strengthening government structures, training volunteers, and supporting sanitation facilities.
Phase II: July 2016 to June 2017 - Sustaining Water Security
This phase prioritized sustainable water access for vulnerable tribal communities, empowering volunteers to manage resources independently and collaborating with local political institutions for long-term sustainability.
Phase III: July 2017 – June 18 - Ecological Balance and Collaboration
Goals shifted towards ensuring ecological balance, training local para hydro-geology experts, and collaborating with diverse entities for a people-friendly water usage model.
Phase IV: April 2018 to March 2019 - Expanding Reach
This phase expanded its footprint to 45 villages, focusing on entitlements, safe drinking water, water quality, spring management, water security plans, and natural resource management.
Phase V: April 2019 to March 2020 - Navigating Challenges
Adapting to the challenges posed by the pandemic, the project emphasized COVID-19 relief, handwashing promotion, and relief kit distribution while maintaining focus on core thematic areas.
Phase VI: April 2020 to March 2023 - Towards Sustainable Futures
The project targeted 14 villages, aligning with global sustainable development goals. Emphasis is on integrated water resources management, local knowledge utilization, and behavioral change in Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) practices.

Land Rights Transformation:

At the core of Samerth's intervention was the empowering process of securing land rights, with 60 out of 90 households now possessing agricultural lands granted under the Indian Forest Rights Act (IFR) of 2006. Samerth's dedicated team played a pivotal role in facilitating the acquisition of these lands, resulting in clear land titles for 45 households.

Economic Revitalization:

The economic fabric of the village, woven with agriculture, Minor Forest Produce (MFP) collection, and manual labor, underwent a profound change. Samerth's efforts led to the submission of an application for Community Forest Rights (CFR), holding the potential to further empower the village economically.

Agricultural Transformation:

Agriculture emerged as the principal livelihood source, with even landless families cultivating forest-encroached lands. The cropping pattern diversified, addressing seasonal variations, though poor land quality remained a challenge. Samerth's intervention aimed at improving crop yields and reducing dependency on distant labor opportunities.

Water Management and Hygiene Initiatives:

Samerth addressed critical concerns related to drinking water, Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH), and Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM). Innovative spring management provided 24X7 access to clean drinking water for 20 households, showcasing Samerth's commitment to holistic community development.

Education and Welfare Initiatives:

Beyond land rights and water management, Samerth's mobilization efforts facilitated the establishment of an Aanganwadi and the mobilization of a primary school. Beneficiaries of IFR received support for constructing houses under the Indira Aawas Yojana, showcasing a comprehensive approach to community development.

Current Scenario and Sustainable Development:

The village's sustenance now relies on crop yields, labor opportunities from government schemes, and sporadic assignments from the forest department. Samerth's multi-faceted intervention has significantly transformed Devan Patpar into a community-driven space with a promising future.

Samerth's Role in Water Spring Management:

Samerth played a pivotal role in revolutionizing water spring management in remote villages. The implementation of cost-effective, gravity-based spring water conservation techniques has provided reliable access to safe and potable water for seven years. Samerth's strategic deployment of spring management units stands as a testament to their dedication, with the torch of responsibility now in the hands of the community.

Community Engagement and Sustainable Betterment:

The active engagement of the community, particularly the youth, has been instrumental in securing benefits and support from governmental agencies. Samerth's guidance-based role emphasizes the promising synergy between their initiatives and the community's proactive involvement, ultimately leading to the sustainable betterment of the village and its residents.

Empowering Communities through a Decade of Capacity Building Initiatives:

In a concerted effort to enhance project processes and empower diverse community groups, Samerth undertook an extensive series of capacity-building trainings and workshops over the past decade. These initiatives, strategically planned and executed, targeted various segments of society, including village youth, women, girls, children (schools), farmers, and key stakeholders such as government grassroots front-line staff and officials from concerned departments. The primary aim was to fortify the implementation of thematic areas and bring tangible benefits to the target groups.

Celebrating a Decade of Impactful Work:

As Samerth celebrates a decade of impactful work, the success of its capacity-building initiatives is evident in the transformed lives of the communities it serves. By prioritizing the empowerment of diverse segments of society, Samerth has not only strengthened project processes but has also sowed the seeds for sustainable development and positive change. Looking ahead, these initiatives stand as a testament to the organization's commitment to building resilient and self-reliant communities.

A Journey of Consistency and Evolution:

The project's goals and objectives have exhibited remarkable consistency, addressing the fundamental challenges faced by tribal communities. However, the evolution lies in the holistic approach, incorporating not just water accessibility but also hygiene, entitlements, and sustainable development.

A Vision for Tomorrow:

As Samerth continues its unwavering commitment to tribal empowerment in Chhattisgsarh, the journey signifies more than just access to water. It symbolizes a holistic transformation, weaving together threads of sustainability, resilience, and self-sufficiency. In the tapestry of these eight years, the Baiga community is not just gaining safe drinking water but also stepping into a future of possibilities, empowered and enabled by the vision of Samerth.
*Executive Director and Founder of Samerth (www.samerth.org), which works for bringing a diverse background of experience in the realms of water management, landscape restoration, and livelihoods. With an extensive career in the development sector, Gazala Paul has traversed various trajectories of work, contributing significantly to projects in  Gujarat and Chhattisgarh



हिंदी आलोचना जैसे पिछड़ चुके अनुशासन की जगह हिंदी वैचारिकी का विकास जरूरी

- प्रमोद रंजन*   भारतीय राजनीति में सांप्रदायिक व प्रतिक्रियावादी ताकतों को सत्ता तक पहुंचाने में हिंदी पट्टी का सबसे बड़ा योगदान है। इसका मुख्य कारण हिंदी-पट्टी में कार्यरत समाजवादी व जनपक्षधर हिरावल दस्ते का विचारहीन, अनैतिक और  प्रतिक्रियावादी होते जाना है। अगर हम उपरोक्त बातों को स्वीकार करते हैं, तो कुछ रोचक निष्कर्ष निकलते हैं। हिंदी-जनता और उसके हिरावल दस्ते को विचारहीन और प्रतिक्रियावादी बनने से रोकने की मुख्य ज़िम्मेदारी किसकी थी?

ગુજરાતના સ્થાપના દિવસે યાદ કરીએ ભારતના વિશ્વપ્રસિદ્ધ ગુજરાતી પુરાતત્વવિદ્ ને

- ગૌરાંગ જાની*  આજે કોઈ ગુજરાતી એ કલ્પના પણ ન કરી શકે કે વર્ષ ૧૮૩૯ માં જૂનાગઢમાં જન્મેલા એક ગુજરાતી વિશ્વ પ્રસિદ્ધ બની શકે! પણ આપણે એ ગુજરાતીને કદાચ વિસરી ગયા છીએ જેમણે ગિરનારના અશોક શિલાલેખને દોઢસો વર્ષ પૂર્વે ઉકેલી આપ્યો.આ વિદ્વાન એટલે ભગવાનલાલ ઈન્દ્રજી. ૭ નવેમ્બર, ૧૮૩૯ ના દિવસે જૂનાગઢના પ્રશ્નોરા નાગર બ્રાહ્મણ પરિવારમાં તેમનો જન્મ થયો હતો. જૂનાગઢના એ સમયે અંગ્રેજી શિક્ષણની સગવડ ન હોવાને કારણે તેમને અંગ્રેજી ભાષાનું જ્ઞાન ન હતું પણ પાછળથી તેમણે ખપ પૂરતું અંગ્રેજી જાણી લીધું હતું.

Under Modi, democracy is regressing and economy is also growing slowly

By Avyaan Sharma*   India is "the largest democracy in the world", but now its democracy is regressing and its economy is also growing slowly. What has PM Modi's ten years in power brought us? Unemployment remains high. Joblessness is particularly high among India's youth - with those aged 15 to 29 making up a staggering 83% of all unemployed people in India, according to the "India Employment Report 2024", published last month by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the Institute of Human Development (IHD). The BJP-led government did not provide jobs to two crore youth in a year as was promised by Modi in the run up to the 2014 general elections.

नफरती बातें: मुसलमानों में असुरक्षा का भाव बढ़ रहा है, वे अपने मोहल्लों में सिमट रहे हैं

- राम पुनियानी*  भारत पर पिछले 10 सालों से हिन्दू राष्ट्रवादी भारतीय जनता पार्टी (भाजपा) राज कर रही है. भाजपा आरएसएस परिवार की सदस्य है और आरएसएस का लक्ष्य है हिन्दू राष्ट्र का निर्माण. आरएसएस से जुड़ी सैंकड़ों संस्थाएँ हैं. उसके लाखों, बल्कि शायद, करोड़ों स्वयंसेवक हैं. इसके अलावा कई हजार वरिष्ठ कार्यकर्ता हैं जिन्हें प्रचारक कहा जाता है. भाजपा के सत्ता में आने के बाद से आरएसएस दुगनी गति से हिन्दू राष्ट्र के निर्माण के अपने एजेण्डे को पूरा करने में जुट गया है. यदि भाजपा को चुनावों में लगातार सफलता हासिल हो रही है तो उसका कारण है देश में साम्प्रदायिकता और साम्प्रदायिक मुद्दों का बढ़ता बोलबाला. इनमें से कुछ हैं राम मंदिर, गौमांस और गोवध एवं लव जिहाद. 

Laxmanpur Bathe massacre: Perfect example of proto-fascist Brahmanical social order

By Harsh Thakor  The massacre at Laxmanpur-Bathe of Jehanabad in Bihar on the night of 1 December in 1997 was a landmark event with distinguishing features .The genocide rightly shook the conscience of the nation in the 50th year of Indian independence. The scale of the carnage was unparalleled in any caste massacre. It was a perfect manifestation of how in essence the so called neo-liberal state was in essence most autocratic. 

रैंकिंग: अधिकांश भारतीय विश्वविद्यालयों का स्तर बहुत गिरा, इस साल भी यह गिरवाट जारी

- प्रमोद रंजन*  अप्रैल, 2024 में भारतीय विश्वविद्यालयों की अंतर्राष्ट्रीय स्तर पर उच्च रैंकिंग की चर्चा रही। मीडिया ने इसका उत्सव मनाया। लेकिन स्थिति इसके विपरीत है। वैश्विक विश्वविद्यालय रैंकिग में अच्छा स्थान मिलने की खबरें, कुछ संस्थानों को इक्का-दुक्का विषयों में मिले रैंक के आधार पर चुनिंदा ढंग से प्रकाशित की गईं थीं। वास्तविकता यह है कि हाल के वर्षों में हमारे अधिकांश विश्वविद्यालयों का स्तर बहुत गिर गया है। इस साल भी यह गिरवाट जारी रही है।

नोएडा में मैन्युअल स्कैवेंजर्स की मौत: परिवारों को मुआवजा नहीं, प्राधिकरण ने एफआईआर नहीं की

- अरुण खोटे, संजीव कुमार*  गत एक सप्ताह में, उत्तर प्रदेश में सीवर/सेप्टि क टैंक सफाई कर्मियों की सफाई के दौरान सेप्टिक टैंक में मौत। 2 मई, 2024 को, लखनऊ के वज़ीरगजं क्षेत्र में एक सेवर लाइन की सफाई करते समय शोब्रान यादव, 56, और उनके पत्रु सशुील यादव, 28, घटुन से हुई मौत। एक और घटना 3 मई 2024 को नोएडा, सेक्टर 26 में एक घर में सेप्टि क टैंक को सफाई करते समय दो सफाई कर्मचर्मारी नूनी मडंल, 36 और कोकन मडंल जिसे तपन मडंल के नाम से जानते हैं, की मौत हो गई। ये सफाई कर्मचर्मारी बंगाल के मालदा जिले के निवासी थे और नोएडा सेक्टर 9 में रहते थे। कोकन मडंल अपनी पत्नी अनीता मडंल के साथ रहते थे। इनके तीन स्कूल जाने वाले बच्चे हैं जो बंगाल में रहते हैं। नूनी मडंल अपनी पत्नी लिलिका मडंल और अपने पत्रु सजुान के साथ किराए पर झग्गी में रहते थे। वे दैनिक मजदरूी और सफाई कर्मचर्मारी के रूप में काम करते थे।

दाँव उल्टा पड़ा: राहुल गांधी के रूप में हम एक साधारण इंसान को नायक होते देख रहे हैं

-  अमिता नीरव  संघ औऱ बीजेपी ने राहुल गाँधी पर जो सोचकर ‘इन्वेस्ट’ किया था, उसके परिणाम गंभीर रूप से नुकसानदेह आ रहे हैं। ये थोड़ी अटपटी बात लग सकती है, लेकिन सोचिएगा कि संघ और बीजेपी ने राहुल गाँधी को जितना गंभीरता से लिया, उनकी संभावनाओं को लेकर वे जितना श्योर थे, उतना तो खुद राहुल और कांग्रेस भी नहीं थी।

બે પુખ્ત યુવક-યુવતીન જીવનસાથી બનવા નક્કી કરે તો સત્તાધારીઓના પેટમાં કેમ ગોળો ચઢે છે?

- બિપિન શ્રોફ   “લવ જેહાદ”! કેવો લાગ્યો આ  શબ્દ?  શું મારુ કે તમારું નાકનું ટેરવું તો ચઢી ગયું  નથી ને? લખનાર અને વાંચનાર બે માંથી કોઈના મા-બાપની કોઈ ગરાશ તો લૂંટાઈ ગઈ નથી ને ? એ તો જેને વીતે તેને ખબર પડે? પરોપ દેશે પાંડિત્યમ! કેમ? ખરી વાત ને? 

बिहार के ऐतिहासिक विक्रमशिला विश्वविद्यालय के खंडहरों की परिक्रमा का रोमांचक अवसर

- सुमन्त शरण  कुछ दिन पहले एक सुदूर ग्रामीण अंचल (पीरपैंती)  से तकरीबन डेढ़-दो घंटे की दूरी पर अवस्थित ऐतिहासिक बौद्ध विक्रमशिला विश्वविद्यालय (के अवशेषों) की परिक्रमा का अवसर मिला। विक्रमशीला विश्वविद्यालय की स्थापना पाल वंश के राजा धर्मपाल ने की थी। 8वीं शताब्दी से 12वीं शताब्दी के अंत तक यह विश्वविद्यालय भारत के प्रमुख शिक्षा केंद्रों में से एक हुआ करता था। कहा जाता है कि यह अपने कुछेक अत्यंत अनूठे नवाचार के चलते उस समय नालंदा विश्वविद्यालय का सबसे बड़ा प्रतिस्पर्धी था। हालांकि, मान्यता यह भी है कि अल्प अवधि के लिए दोनों विश्वविद्यालय के बीच शिक्षण एवं प्रबंधन के क्षेत्रों में घनिष्ठ पारस्परिक संबंध एवं शिक्षकों के आदान-प्रदान का सिलसिला भी रहा था। यह विश्वविद्यालय तंत्रशास्त्र की पढ़ाई के लिए सबसे ज्यादा विख्यात था। इस विषय का एक सबसे विख्यात छात्र अतीसा दीपनकरा था, जो बाद में तिब्बत जाकर बौद्ध हो गया। इसके प्रथम कुलपति ज्ञान अतिस थे।