Sunday, 28 June 2015

Water: a major concern in Punjab

To describe life in Punjab some subjects are inevitable. The heat, the Punjabi music in the buses, the food … And so is the water.

Indeed water shortages in households are common and so are diseases or health problems that can be easily related to water (stomach pain, diarrhea, etc). Since March, the two of us work on water sanitation in rural Punjab in the Hoshiarpur district. We focused on the water supply and the drinking water quality as well as on a rain-water harvesting system for the Janauri intern house. Our project was divided in several parts, online researches, on the field research, a survey in our work communities, and an educational part. We wanted here to share our experiment regarding the survey. Indeed, we had to find ways to communicate and do our survey in Hindi/Punjabi because only a small number of the 23 participants spoke English. As many of you know, Hindi is a very different language than French or English. With internet we were able to translate the main words we needed to be understood. We believe that the success of our survey lies in the fact that we had a real connection, a very good relationship with the people we were interviewing (as many kids as adults, as many women men). They were happy to help us and very excited to participate which was motivating and comforting when the language barrier started being an issue. What we learned during this survey is that there is a strong link between the type of water you get access to (tap water, boiled water or filtered water) and the health symptoms you can present (stomach pain, diarrhea). We are also conscious about the limitations of our work. Indeed it would have been statistically better if we could have had more participants. Besides, we learnt that none of the men we interviewed showed health symptoms while 70% of the women admitted having at least one of the symptoms. This result would certainly have been different if one of us as been a man as well… But you know, TII (this is India).

filling in the survey with Manon in the Mansa Devi Community.
The Janauri Dam, the irrigation water system would be an interesting thing to investigate in the future.

To conclude, we strongly believe that Water Sanitation is a major concern in every cluster of EduCARE and in Punjab we hope that next interns (maybe you) would be interested in focusing on testing the drinking water, filtering the grey waters, etc.

Claire Rais Assa & Manon Egnell - France
Water Sanitation Project Manager, Janauri, Punjab

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