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Thematic Area: Water & Sanitation
International Partners: 31 students from IVUSA, Japan
Amrita Partners: 1st Year Masters of Social Work students, Department of Social Work
Village: 30 villages across the districts of Alappuzha and Pathanamthitta
Project Duration:1 month
Identified Challenge & Aim: According to WaterAid India, approximately 76 million people in the country lack access to clean drinking water and more than 60,000 children, especially under the age of 5 years, die each year from poor sanitation and diarrheal diseases caused by drinking contaminated water. Causes of water contamination also vary. High population density, chemical farming, overuse of fertilizers, the presence of minerals in the coastal beds, and run-off from factory waste provide limited access to clean drinking water. Other obstacles are distance and cost. Many villagers have to walk several kilometers to access clean water and in some villages, residents are forced to spend money to buy clean water.
The Study/Innovation: Led by a multidisciplinary team at Amrita, the Japanese and Amrita students worked towards building water-wise communities with respect to classifying water contamination levels, fabricating modular water purification systems, and designing community-based awareness programs and interventions to enhance community readiness to adopt technological solutions. The students fabricated water filtration systems, designed according to the local needs of people, and installed the systems in 30 villages across 18 flood affected panchayats in the districts of Alappuzha and Pathanamthitta. Deployments were partnered with awareness programs in community centers and schools to prevent contamination of drinking water as well as a pilot study to assess a community’s readiness to address the challenge of water contamination. The deployments and awareness sessions aimed to benefit approximately 10,000 villagers.