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Change makers of Odisha: Women took lead to get water in the village

 

Posted on Thursday May 15, 2014

Last updated Wednesday July 06, 2016

  Women, Change maker, Development, Water, Odisha

The women folks of Odisha's Udayakani village not only performed well but have also set another example of united action that could bring a positive change in the community. Now, as water has already started accumulating in both the ponds they dug and the villagers have already started using it for bathing other sanitary purpose, their long standing dream is realised.

HNF Correspondent
 

Women members of 32 households of Udayakani village, in Odisha’s Astarang block of Puri district, have set an example by creating essential community asset. Badly affected by the Cyclone Phailin and its subsequent flood, the women members of Udayakani village took up to resolve the long standing demand of water in their village.

Dominantly a Dalit populated village, Udayakani people have always been sidelined from the developmental opportunities.

Now, the women took the lead and played instrumental in taking the village on the road of development. Starting from the selection of beneficiary to the selection of work under the ‘Cash for Work’ scheme, women took the leadership in doing the pond excavation work; not depending solely on the male members.

With support from the Village Disaster Response Committee; which is formed in every project village, adopted by Konark based organization Young India under an Action Aid programme, to ensure community ownership and bring women into fore in decision making process, the women honed skills and demonstrated their leadership with all appropriateness.

Nature has always been impolite to the villagers by taking their habitation into its fury and destroying agriculture – the basic livelihood source [See Ocean’s fury over coastal villages of Orissa]. The villagers of Udayakani have been displaced three times since 1956 as the houses and agricultural lands have been submerged in the sea because of erosion and ingression. Availing drinking water was a major challenge for them especially after the Phailin and the villagers had no other option but to manage with the saline water exposed to contamination. Alternatively, they had to go the neighbouring village to bath and have some for consumption.

“As cyclone Phailin and subsequent flood caused a trail of damage and destruction to lives and properties of the village, people were in urgent need of income source to meet daily basic needs for their families. Also, not a single work under MGNREGA was started in the village since the Act is operational. So, it was difficult for the villagers to sustain their lives. We decided to start wage based programme ‘Cash For Work’ in the village to the villagers and European Commission on Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO) came forward, through Action Aid, to provide all financial support for this activity,” said N.A. Shah Ansari, Social Activist and President of Young India.

‘Cash for Work’ has not only helped the villagers to meet their daily household needs but also enabled them to create durable assets for the community as well,” Ansari added.

Now, as water has already started accumulating in both the ponds and the villagers have already started using it for bathing other sanitary purpose, their long standing dream is realised.

“Now we are happy that we can have our daily bath and get water in our village. The support we received from these organizations has definitely added value and dignity to our community,” said Tarulata Kandi, President of Village Disaster Response Committee, Udayakani.

“The result we grew from the work has enthused us to do more such works for the village and we will continue to play our parts to create and improve our community resources,” Kandi added.

The women folks of Udayakani village not only performed well but have also set another example of united action that could bring a positive change in the community.

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