Environmental degradation leading to contaminated water, sinking groundwater level, unhealthy soil, unhygienic surroundings and polluted air has become a harsh reality in most parts of developing countries. These issues are addressed through our Solid Waste Management and Community Safe Drinking Water projects.
Once viewed as an infinite and bountiful resource, water today defines human, social and economic development. Without adequate supplies and management of fresh and saltwater resources, socio-economic development is impossible.
Our community safe drinking water plants are set up at in collaboration with village administration by understanding the quality of drinking water and the specific requirements of the particular area. To purify the water, reverse osmosis plants of appropriate size and technology are set up. The process is done collaboratively with the local government. Once set up, we train manpower, usually from the community, in technical and managerial aspects.
Some benefits of the project include saving of time, cost and energy in fetching drinking water and preventing water-borne diseases. Community Owned Rainwater Harvesting aims at evolving interventions for poor and village communities in order to conserve rainwater and augment the sources of drinking water for human and cattle in villages. Deserving villages are identified on the basis of adversity of water scarcity problems. Appropriate interventions that are technically feasible and socially accepted are implemented. Usually, the community is involved in the execution and implementation of the project, contributing in the form of labour, material or money.
As the most vulnerable groups of society are directly dependent on their surroundings for sustenance, they are usually the most greatly hit by the damaged local environment. While the quantity of solid waste generated by the populace is increasing, the composition of solid waste has become diverse in recent years. Today, a mere 40% of the generated solid waste is biodegradable while 60 % is non-biodegradable. Additionally, most households do not recycle their waste and tend to dump it all together.
To ensure a clean and healthy society, Hand in Hand India implements the Solid Waste Management Project. The project is a model of multi-stakeholder collaboration wherein the NGO, local government and the communities work together to initiate an environmentally and economically sustainable waste management system. The project strives for maximum waste recovery through composting, recycling and reuse, and aims at minimizing the waste being dumped in landfills. Through the process, it also offers continuous employment to individuals from socially and economically marginalized groups. The project also ensures that the practices are implemented in a sustainable manner through community participation. The long-term goal is thus to reduce environmental degradation caused by unscientific handling of solid wastes.
As a novel initiative along with solid waste management, Hand in Hand India has installed a 100 cu.m bio gas plant, with a capacity to handle 500 to 800 kilograms of food waste/kitchen waste, to efficiently manage bio-degradable waste generated by the hotels in Mamallapuram, Tamil Nadu, India.
The food waste is converted into methane, which is used for power generation through a 12.5 KVA/10 KW biogas generator. The electricity generated is used to electrify 30 streetlights along East Coast Road, near Mamallapuram. The project has largely benefitted the environment, the local community and enthusiastic tourists who pour in from across the globe to visit the historic town.
3 plants with a capacity of 40 cum are in the pipeline.
Prevention of open defecation and promotion of better sanitation in villages is a key objective being addressed by i) Motivating villagers to construct and use household toilets ii) Efforts towards strengthening toilets in schools, anganwadis and women’s sanitary complexes and iii) Facilitating construction of low-cost sanitation facilities through loans and Government welfare schemes
We also leverage our other programmes to gain immediate access to beneficiaries. For example, self-help group women and additional community members are trained in basic health and hygiene through structured modules on personal hygiene, sanitation, maternal and child health, nutrition, anaemia and community health.
The Solid Waste Management plant at Mudichur, the first of its kind, addresses holistic community waste management in a tri-partite agreement between the local government, the local community and Hand in Hand India. Owing to its success, the community came together to set up the first of its kind community safe drinking water plant that incorporates reverse osmosis technology. Called “Mudichur Safe Drinking Water”, the project has been well appreciated by local residents as well as various administrative bodies and it attracts a regular stream of visitors and dignitaries who wish to see the innovative development project. In addition to the plant, a laboratory has also been set up to test water quality daily. This plant provides clean and safe drinking water to the community at nominal costs of less than 1CHF a day (INR 11 – for 20 liters). The team provides technical assistance, provides logistics for distribution of the water to the community and conducts regular maintenance of the plant.