Access to Safe Drinking Water, the Sustainable Way

PepsiCo Foundation has awarded two grants, totaling $76 million, to sustainable water and sanitation efforts by WaterPartners and Safe Water Network. The PR release describes each program. WaterPartners will use the award to implement their WaterCredit program:

The WaterCredit program in India has two main components: first, to provide traditional grant funding directly to local non-government organizations to install pipes, faucets and storage cellars in impoverished communities, reaching some 60, 000 people. The second component is to establish a loan fund that will empower communities to expand access to safe water for an additional 60, 000 people over the course of the three-year project. This model produces a “multiplier effect” for impact based on a single source of funding and is the first time PepsiCo Foundation has applied micro finance as a strategic vehicle to advance water and sanitation improvements.

The idea of building community-based water supply projects through a combination of grants and loans is new to the water sector. Until now, nearly all water projects facilitated by other organizations have been funded entirely by grants, even when the individuals served by the project have the means to share costs.

Bridging microfinance and water is a topic that covered earlier this year, so this is a connection that is working well in some regions and with the support of different organizations, such as ACCESS Development Services and Hindustan Unilever Limited. The vision behind this is that communities may not be able to afford methods that purify water and make it safe for drinking, but using microfinance models allows them to collectively take a loan and repay until they eventually purchase the system. Continue reading

TC-I Tidbits

  • Education’s Woes and Pros: A new study conducted by UNESCO reveals that less than 30% of schools have access to electricity and only half of them have toilets for girls. In order to address such woeful capacity, the Rajasthan’s state government has signed a public private partnership with UNICEF to expand education across the state — the program will particularly focus on educating young girls.
  • Healthcare’s Woes and Pros: A new report by the UN reveals that India suffers from the highest abseentism rate with regard to healthcare workers, and that these no-shows will likely result in India failing to meet the Millennium Development Goals. However, a more positive story is that a new HIV test can be administered rapidly to pregnant women in rural areas, enabling doctors to administer the necessary treatment to prevent transmission to the baby.
  • Mobile Technology: With the advent of 3G coming to India soon, Bharat Sanchar Nigam (BSNL) is looking to new ways to use the increased speeds to connect to the rural poor of India.
  • Energy: In Jharkhand, the government looks to wind to help power the future of that region.

Global Water Challenge Winners

I previously posted about voting in the Global Water Challenge – well, the winners are in, and all three are from India! (There must be something in the water there… ) The projects are highlighted below for their groundbreaking work in water and sanitation.

The water and environmental sanitation infrastructure in turn stimulates massive community investment in its own shelter. We have demonstrated that the `poor’ can, in conducive circumstances, mobilise huge resources, especially when coupled with constructive partnerships with the government and the private sector. This latent strength is tapped to remove aid dependency. The knock on impact on health, education and incomes is substantial and rapid.

  • Naandi Foundation: Their project uses a public-private partnership model that focuses on behavioral change, technology, and user fees to stimulate community buy-in.

Naandi Foundation has developed and is implementing a holistic model that recognizes that demand for quality water and sanitation services exists and that by capitalizing on communities’ willingness to pay, accountability can be enforced through a contractual relationship between service providers and the local government.

  • Swayam Shikshan Prayog: This work is based on grassroots and participatory mechanisms. Through capacity building of community members and working with local leadership, the organization is able to empower communities to enact change themselves.

SSP’s work follows a grassroots participatory development model, whereby grassroots rural communities, especially women, are mobilized and given tools to develop their own as Total Sanitation Communities.The innovation is in the approach which SSP takes to achieve the goal of ensuring safe and reliable access to water and safe sanitation standards for all.

Congratulations to all three winners for their innovative approaches to a pressing crisis.

TC-I Tidbits

Your daily dose of headlines:

  • Health: India continues to have the world’s highest number of polio cases this year, with the disease having crippled more children till April than it did during the same period in 2007. [Source: Times of India]
  • Children: In a unique lobbying effort, more than 100 ex-child laborers knocked on the doors of Members of Parliament as a reminder about the government’s promise on education for all.
  • PPPs: Several major development projects, worth Rs 7,946 Cr, were approved by the Public Private Partnership Appraisal Committee to build infrastructure in 10 states.
  • Agriculture: For the first time, a grain reserve will be set up for emergency situations. The Food Corporation of India will build up a five million ton grain reserve, a move that comes at a time when food shortages and rising prices are a major concern.

India’s Manpower Paradox

An article by Meera Shenoy (Executive Director of Employment Generation and Marketing Mission, Government of Andhra Pradesh) focuses on a paradox faced by India – a booming population of youth, but a shortage of skilled manpower.  Shenoy discusses the downfalls of the approaches of a variety of stakeholders – government, companies, and the rural poor, and emphasizes a need for collaboration.

The government created ITIs, which are vocational training institutes, but they are now out of step with current market needs. Simultaneously, companies are often wary of low quality government programs, and the rural poor are faced with a mismatch of degrees and expectations. Shenoy describes the success of her department, EGMM, and their practice of linking public and private spheres:

EGMM has been incorporated as a society to create an enabling eco-sphere for public-private partnerships. The institutional framework of having senior government officers and private sector on the Executive Committee allows the best of the private sector linkages to be wedded to the powerful muscle and machinery of the government.

Work in Public Private Partnerships in this sector of imparting market linked skills to youth is still in its infancy. By not forging these linkages, business may lose opportunity; government may loose credibility; but society loses most of all by not creating millions of skilled youths.

Examples like this may be useful as the 11th Planning Commission, as Shenoy states, quadruples its budget for training BOP youth.

Eradicating TB in India: Its up to you Ranbaxy

In what could be an interesting example of a Public-Private Partnership in the pharmaceutical sector, India’s largest drug-maker has entered into an agreement with the Department of Biotechnology to push for discovering new drugs to treat tuberculosis. The Department of Biotechnology will provide a three-year grant to Ranbaxy as per the agreement to conduct research and develop drugs [via iGovernment]

The agreement is an important step in tackling India’s TB epidemic. As we had reported in the space before, India is home to 20% of the world’s multiple drug resistant tuberculosis (MDRTB) patients, carrying one-third of the disease burden globally.

Midday Newsfeed

  • Renewable Energy: The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy in India has announced a demonstration programme to support mega watt size grid interactive solar power generation projects, up to a maximum capacity of 50 MW, in the country. Similar efforts have been pushed by Himachal Pradesh’s CM, in an effort for more hydel power Public-Private Parnterships with entrepreneurs.
  • Insurance: A cashless health insurance program has been unveiled to target those under the poverty line. In a related story, Haryana’s government plans to invest 100RS per month per Anganwari worker for insurance through Life Insurance Corporation of India.
  • Microfinance: Lok Capital LLC, an India focused microfinance venture capital fund, has raised its fund size by about 80 per cent to $22 million from $14.5 million. Also, two Indian MFIs have received funding from Oikocredit, a Dutch cooperative fund.
  • Food supply and prices: UN report claims that Asia’s poorest being harmed by biofuels with regard to rising food prices. In a related news story, the World Bank has come out to say that the era of cheap food may be over. Bringing this problem home, one final story brings to light the likelihood of a food shortage in India. (this article was in the yesterday’s Evening Edition).
  • Human interest/child marriage: 13 year old girl stands up against child marriage.