Communicating Inclusive Water-Communities generally loose

Posted on December 8, 2009

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In a Knowledge Community on Children in India (KCCI) series in 2007, as case study was published, titled ‘Scaling Up Wise Water Management in Marginalized Communities in Madhya Pradesh (India): Recommendations for Success’ (Link: http://waterwiki.net/images/6/64/07_WWM.pdf, PDF, 1.8 Mb), with the Madhya Pradesh Watershed Management Development Association (Erica Hagen, et al).

The important learning of this comprehensive study touched upon ‘concept of diffusion’ i.e., developing full scale awareness with wider application, and the need of a thorough study before implementation of a project or technology in drinking water supply, to know about the acceptance among people and possibility of replication.

In this context, I had discussion with the lead person of that project, sounded well on technical and academic research aspects. He argued that Information Education and Communication-IEC related activities should not be considered as important activities in such innovative projects, and there should be more focus on scientific and academic research than other Nitty-gritty issues like IEC, Community inclusion, Participatory community mobilization, etc.

After the completion of implementation (two years) of this project, a detailed end-line assessment done by a reputed third party agency emphasized upon the missing ‘effective IEC campaign’ and ‘inclusion of specific group in IEC process’ to communicate any kind of intervention for sustainability in such projects. The study categorically said that the project failed in communicating the findings to the community and also in inclusive approach of drinking water supply planning and water management, and failed due to no emphasis on a robust IEC approach.

The situation now is that all the water models developed during this project have become history, and the infrastructures build the great monuments to visit and recognize the failure.   The interesting part of the story is that, said leading person of the project has moved from the scene for another such assignment in other country and people in those project villages are in ‘stand still’ state, and are struggling for safe drinking water.  Children in schools and hostels are experiencing the hardship of water availability and proper sanitation. Many international research based agencies have written books about the grim situation in this region, but, they are still their!

Everyone is intact with their job, the project functionaries are enriched with an experience tag from South Asian developing countries like India, and the donors already prepared their aid sheet for the financial year. Nobody failed, except the community in this project.