‘Swajal’ approach to rural water supply and environmental sanitation, started with assistance from World Bank is a paradigm shift in terms of delivery of sustainable water supply and environmental sanitation facilities. Working in 7 districts of Bundelkhand regions of Uttar Pradesh – Jhansi ,Jalaun, Lalitpur, Banda, Chitrakoot, Mahoba and Hamirpur ,it has been designed to support a package of investments and process of policy reform to deliver sustainable health and hygiene benefits to the rural population. The investments are designed to test various policy options and to improve knowledge, attitude and practices about the linkages between health and hygiene, provide higher water supply service levels (quantity, quality, equity, reliability, coverage and access), and to improve environment through safe disposal of human waste. It derives its strength from being demand responsive and community driven. It takes into cognizance the differences of men and women and caters to their needs accordingly. It ensures the participation of community especially women in all activities of the project cycle.
The project has been completed in 356 of the 357 villages and has Exit from 320 no. of villages. Communities have been successfully operating and maintaining their schemes thereafter without any external assistance.
Project has also developed a Strategic Action Plan for Sector Reforms in the State of Uttar Pradesh. A Follow on Project of Swajal Project has been prepared and submitted to World Bank through Government of Uttar Pradesh and Government of India for covering 3900 villages on Demand Driven Approach.
Swajal Project is also handling Sector Reforms Pilot Project of Department of Drinking Water ,Government of India which is being implemented in five Districts- Agra, Chandauli, Mirzapur, Sonbhadra and Lucknow.District Water and Sanitation Missions created in each District is responsible for management of the program. NGOs are assisting communities in Planning their water supply assets for improving their water supply status on a demand driven approach.
A Multi Sectoral Approach to Health Project supported by United Nations Development Program is being implemented under the aegis of Swajal Project in 3 Districts of Uttar Pradesh.
Short description of the initiative
- The Swajal Project: The Government of Uttar Pradesh with assistance of World Bank, had implemented an integrated rural water supply and environmental sanitation project with the help of Non Government Organisations in 19 districts over the period of 1996 to 2003. The 1200 villages selected were purely on the transparent standards based on need and other technical factors. The villages and support organization were selected on the basis of pre-decided transparent criteria.
- Objectives of the Project:The first objective was to provide sustainable health and hygiene benefits to the rural population through improvements in water supply services and better environmental sanitation conditions, which in turn would increase rural incomes by improved income opportunities to women due to time saving with better living conditions, to test an alternative to the current supply service delivery mechanism and to promote sanitation and gender awareness. The second objective was to promote the long-term sustainability to the rural water supply and sanitation sector by providing assistance to Government of Uttar Pradesh in identifying an appropriate policy framework and strategic plans for implementation.
- Innovative features: Active community participation in the project, was envisaged in all three stages of the project viz preplanning, planning and implementation and in maintenance of the schemes. The project also included a health education component to increase people’s awareness about links between their behaviour and their health (especially regarding water-related diseases and sanitation-related practices).
Communities shared in the capital cost of the “package” of water supply and environmental sanitation facilities (in the form of cash/ labour) and operate and maintain the facilities at their own cost. One of the key objectives of the project was to empower women, the main stakeholders in the drinking water and sanitation sector. The project supported activities to further develop capacity of women covering key areas including; (i) skill enhancement and training to help women to realise the benefits of improved water and environmental services; (ii) improvement in the access of women in the formal credit systems; (iii) promotion of women in the planning and implementation of water supply and sanitation schemes (iv) operation and maintenance and resource mobilization activities on water collection, collection of user charges, monitoring and evaluation.