Event Coverage

National Conference on Water Safety and Security

Background

Sustaining water security in rural areas is the biggest challenge. Our groundwater is depleting, being used much more for agriculture and industries and we need to diversify our sources for drinking water. Ensuring the supply of drinking water to rural India, thus, faces new and different challenges.

Access and availability of adequate safe drinking water and toilet facilities at household play a significant role in ensuring improved health and quality of life of people, especially among women and children. Therefore, improving access to quality drinking water, Open Defecation Free (ODF) villages and promoting effective usage, through appropriate participatory planning, implementing and monitoring process has been a key priority of Government of India (GoI) through its flagship programme.

The two centrally sponsored flagship programmes administered by the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation (MDWS), the National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP) and the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) reflects the importance placed on these sectors. Over the years, efforts made by GoI with inputs from various stakeholders, through these central schemes, have led to an increase in coverage and improvement in availability of drinking water and household toilet coverage. However, sustainability of drinking water sources, ensuring effective operation and maintenance of systems, deteriorating water quality issues and need for adoption of sustained sanitation practices remain key challenges.

Plan India rolled out its Village Water Safety and Security (VWSS) module in Jharkhand state, on the basis of the experience gained by implementing the programme, it has become increasingly evident that the national development goals of making adequate safe drinking water and sustainable sanitation to all can only be possible through a larger social mobilisation processes, community development approaches, capacity building of relevant stakeholders and technical support to the sector. It is also important to now include sections of society, like the corporate, public and private sectors, media, local representative bodies and Village level Water Sanitation Committees (VWSC), who have traditionally not been involved so far, in the provision and management of these services. An integrated approach that helps in creating awareness and bringing about change in prevailing practices at the household and community level, will help in sustaining availability, effective use and proper maintenance of water supply and sanitation facilities.

All of these shall be very much needed now with the paradigm shift in the 12th five year plan, with its increased focus on provision of piped water supply with household connections, improved service level of water supply to 55 LPCD in rural areas, increased financial assistance for construction of household latrines and focus on solid and liquid waste management. To ensure this, village level planning and implementation based on local need and contest is an essential first step. Today, NRWDP and SBM take Gram Panchayats as the units for planning and implementation.

Purpose

The purpose of this national conference is to advocate for mainstreaming the local level planning and implementation of water supply and sanitation programmes to complement the efforts of Central and State governments, through experience sharing from expert organisation to support the NRWDP and SBM to achieve its mission.

Plan India in collaboration with MDWS will organise a national level conference on water safety and security, New Delhi. Plan India will bring key sector players/practitioners together to share their success stories and approaches in promoting secured and safe water supply in the country to overcome some of the key challenges. Also to define the strategy to scale-up good practices in an efficient and effective ways towards national goal "To provide every rural person with adequate safe water for drinking, cooking and other domestic basic needs on a sustainable basis." This basic requirement should meet minimum water quality standards and be readily and conveniently accessible at all times and in all situations.

The title of the conference is "Village Water Safety and Security – An Indian Experience" will have lead papers by eminent personalities/experts in the sector will be presented in the plenary. Village Water Safety and Security (VWSS) programme is a participatory process having community in a driver's seat. The process first does participatory situation assessment and analysis followed by development of implementable action plans about source sustainability, operation‐maintenance and water quality, institutional WASH facilities and environmental sanitation. The process involves community, CBOs, Gram Panchayat, VWSC, School Management Committee (SMC), Parent Teacher Association (PTA), facilitating agencies, village level government key officials and technical expert groups. The activities in the plan are then implemented through community participation and convergence of government schemes.

Also parallel technical/thematic sessions will be held to share the success stories or issues in VWSS in the following key topics:

  • Village water plans
  • Village water quality monitoring
  • Open defecation elimination plans
  • Operation and maintenance
  • Water augmentation through RWH
  • Solid and liquid waste management
  • School water and sanitation
  • Water in Emergency Relief
  • Knowledge management in water conservation

Total number of participants for the conference will be around 150 and will be represented by State Rural Water department, NGOs, Academic Institutions and others.

Agencies

Plan India will lead the proposed national conference with the financial and technical support from MDWS. The ministry will ensure participation of key representatives from all state and union government. Plan India will coordinate with agencies having expertise in VWSS process like collaborate with WASH Institute and resource persons from UNICEF, Water Supply Sanitation Programme (WSP), World Bank, World Health Organisation (WHO) and Water Aid.

Possible outcomes

Expected outcomes include networking among various stakeholders who work together to develop the sustainability model integrating sustainable solutions for ensuring safety and security in water supply sanitation to the underserved communities in rural India.

  • Learning and knowledge exchange among conference participants through interdisciplinary discussions
  • A conference report including case studies, information briefs and other materials

Long term advocacy issues

Through this conference and subsequent state deliberation, we in a long term basis will advocate for an enabling environment were all Panchayat Raj Institutions and VWSC committees are empowered to manage a Swachh village were 100% of rural drinking water and toilet coverage.

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Amitabh Bachchan launches "Meri Beti Meri Shakti"

Bollywood legend Mr. Amitabh Bachchan helped launch Plan India’s new advocacy initiative Meri Beti Meri Shakti by releasing a book filled with inspirational stories of daughters as shared by eminent personalities from different walks of life.

The event was attended by Mr. Govind Nihalani, Filmmaker and Plan India Board Chairperson, Ms. Bhagyashri Dengle, Executive Director, Plan India and the contributors to the book Gayatri Ruia, Kalpana Shah, Kirthiga Reddy, Prasoon Joshi, Rana Kapoor, Sangita Jindal, Shobhaa De, Sulajja Firodia Motwani, Uday Shankar, Vandana Malik among others.

The idea of "Meri Beti, Meri Shakti" was conceived by Mr. Nihalani and is published in English and Hindi. Speaking on the occasion he said "Girls remain amongst the most discriminated social groups in India. Let us take pride in empowering our girls, because our beti is our shakti".

Raj Nooyi, Member, Plan India Board talked about the importance of investing in girls, while Mr. Prasoon Joshi recited a poem 'Beti' penned by him. Yet another important feature of the evening was a talk by a young beneficiary of Plan India's programme who shared her experience.

Ms. Dengle said, "The book is an effort by Plan India to celebrate girls. When we empower our daughters with equal opportunities and good education, they are sure to create an identity for themselves. At Plan India we believe that it is important to provide equal opportunities to girls so that they are not left behind". She also thanked Mr. Bachchan for supporting Plan's initiative, the contributors for coming forward for the cause of girls, press and media for their support and Palladium Hotel for hosting the event.

The State of the Girl Child Report "Pathways to Power" released by Maneka Gandhi

Plan India has a long standing commitment to promote and secure rights of girls through its programmes on education, learning, building life skills, knowledge, self-esteem, confidence and leadership capacity of girls. On the occasion of International Day of the Girl Child, Ms. Maneka Gandhi, Minister for Women and Child Development, Government of India, released plan India's 'State of the Girl Child India' 2014 Report "Pathways to Power".

Present at the occasion were Mr. Govind Nihalani, Chair Emeritus and Goodwill Ambassador, Plan India, along with Ms. Bhagyashri Dengle, Executive Director, Plan India and Komal, a Plan India beneficiary.

Releasing the report, Ms. Gandhi appreciated the work done by Plan India. She also shared the initiatives the ministry is planning to undertake on nutrition, health, support and care for children. Expressing her concern about falling sex ratio, she informed that the ministry will start a programme Beti Bachao in north and western states of India. On the subject of anganwadi, she said "I am happy to know that Plan has undertaken trainings for the anganwadi workers". She also said that the ministry is planning to work to rehabilitate girls forced into trafficking.

Addressing the gathering Mr. Govind Nihalani said, "To bring about a visible change, it is important to empower girls to face the challenges they face in everyday life situation. This report brings out strategic points on gender equality and inclusion".

"Pathways to Power" -"Creating Sustainable Change for Adolescent Girls” is Plan India’s sixth annual report on the state of girls in India. It looks at the dynamics of power and its impact on girl's rights and empowerment. The study, undertaken in Delhi, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Bihar aims to enable adolescent girls realise their potential for a better and dignified life.

Charity Art Auction for children's education

Plan India held its 3rd Annual Charity Art Auction on 15th February in Pune. The theme for this year being "Educate a Child: Be the Change", the aim was to raise funds to implement programmes which would help marginalised children complete ten years of quality education. The auction was hosted by Ms. Arti Kirloskar, Chairperson, Plan India Board and Ms. Varsha Chordia Patron for the event with paintings by eminent artists like MF Husain, Sakti Burman, Ram Kumar, Satish Gujral, Paresh Maity, Seema Kohli, Satish Gupta, Jayasri Burman, Surya Prakash and more, along with sculptures by Tapas Sarkar, Valay Shende and Venkat Bothsa going under the hammer. Speaking of the event, Ms. Bhagyashri Dengle, Executive Director, Plan India said, "Charity art auctions are a great way to contribute to a good cause. While you are taking home a painting, a holiday voucher or a piece of jewellery for yourself - you are also investing in the education of children of our country".

Let Girls Be Born Book Launch

Plan India recently launched two new books under the Let Girls Be Born project: 'Survive to Thrive' and 'Stories of Change'. The books capture personal instances and recollections that showcase the most dedicated efforts towards promoting gender equality, inclusion and empowerment of girls in social system at every level. The books were jointly launched by Ms. Preeti Sudan, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India, Mr. Mark Pierce, Regional Director, Asia Regional Office, Plan International, Ms. Frederika Meijer, Representative, UNFPA India, Ms. Deepa Chandra, Additional Director General, Doordarshan and Mr. A.R Nanda, Ex Health Secretary, Government of India.

Underlining the progress and achievements of Let Girls Be Born, Ms. Bhagyashri Dengle, Executive Director, Plan India said "Gender discrimination or neglect of girls leading to a decline in the female population as a social phenomenon cannot be elaborated completely in terms of numbers, facts and figures. We have holistically captured the personal instances and recollections that showcase some of the most dedicated efforts towards promoting gender equality, inclusion and empowerment of girls in the societal system at every level".

Let Girls Be Born project volunteers from Delhi University and participants from the communities also shared their experiences and achievements. A short film on the issue was also screened on the occasion.

Plan India has been implementing the Let Girls Be Born Project in partnership with communities, NGOs and government duty bearers. The project seeks to end the practice of female foeticide through community awareness building on the declining sex ratio and for the effective implementation of the Pre-conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques Act 1994 (PCPNDT). Over the years, the project has touched the lives of more than 9 million women, men, girls and boys across 298 gram panchayats of 12 districts in the states of Delhi, Jharkhand, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Rajasthan.

Amitabh Bachchan launches "Meri Beti Meri Shakti", An advocacy initiative of Plan India

Mumbai 26th February 2014: Meri Beti Meri Shakti, an advocacy initiative of Plan India was launched by Amitabh Bachchan at the Palladium Hotel, Mumbai by releasing a book which contains inspirational stories of daughters as shared by eminent personalities from different walks of life by expressing their happiness on being parent to a girl/girls.

The event was attended by Govind Nihalani, Noted filmmaker and Plan India Board Chairperson, Bhagyashri Dengle, Executive Director, Plan India and the contributors to the book Gayatri Ruia, Kalpana Shah, Kirthiga Reddy, Prasoon Joshi, Rana Kapoor, Sangita Jindal, Shobhaa De, Sulajja Firodia Motwani, Uday Shankar, Vandana Malik among others. Sathya Saran who conducted one-on-one interactions with all the interviewees and Sapna Kar of Burgundy Events who relentlessly coordinated at various level for bringing out this inspirational book were also present at the event.

The idea of "Meri Beti, Meri Shakti" was conceived by Govind Nihalani, Chairperson, Plan India Board which is produced in English and Hindi. Speaking on the occasion he said "The girl child remains among the most discriminated social groups in India. Let us take pride in empowering our girls, because our Beti is our Shakti".

Raj Nooyi, Member, Plan India Board talked about the importance of investing in girls, while Mr. Prasoon Joshi recited a poem 'Beti' penned by him.

Plan India & Clinic Plus campaign for Girls

Mumbai 26th February 2014: Meri Beti Meri Shakti, an advocacy initiative of Plan India was launched by Amitabh Bachchan at the Palladium Hotel, Mumbai by releasing a book which contains inspirational stories of daughters as shared by eminent personalities from different walks of life by expressing their happiness on being parent to a girl/girls.

The event was attended by Govind Nihalani, Noted filmmaker and Plan India Board Chairperson, Bhagyashri Dengle, Executive Director, Plan India and the contributors to the book Gayatri Ruia, Kalpana Shah, Kirthiga Reddy, Prasoon Joshi, Rana Kapoor, Sangita Jindal, Shobhaa De, Sulajja Firodia Motwani, Uday Shankar, Vandana Malik among others. Sathya Saran who conducted one-on-one interactions with all the interviewees and Sapna Kar of Burgundy Events who relentlessly coordinated at various level for bringing out this inspirational book were also present at the event.

The idea of "Meri Beti, Meri Shakti" was conceived by Govind Nihalani, Chairperson, Plan India Board which is produced in English and Hindi. Speaking on the occasion he said "The girl child remains among the most discriminated social groups in India. Let us take pride in empowering our girls, because our Beti is our Shakti".

Raj Nooyi, Member, Plan India Board talked about the importance of investing in girls, while Mr. Prasoon Joshi recited a poem 'Beti' penned by him.