The Wise Project
Women in Sustaining the Environment – WISE
The WISE (Women in Sustaining the Environment) project is a comprehensive initiative conducted by Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham (Amrita) and its Research Center for Women’s empowerment and Gender Equality, aimed at empowering rural women in Dongarampur and Kuruvakurda villages in the Raichur district of Karnataka, India, to monitor and sustain local drinking water supplies. The project utilized the AmriTAU Protocol to provide training to women and girls, enabling them to collect data and establish a reliable database for water quality monitoring. This initiative sought to empower women and girls, enhance community awareness of water conditions and facilitate access to safe drinking water through community-driven, cost- effective, and continuous water quality monitoring. The project's progress has resulted in significant achievements, with women ambassadors playing a pivotal role in monthly water quality assessments and promoting safer water storage practices within households. The initiative also focused on raising community awareness through various outreach activities, workshops, and educational campaigns.
Project Location: Dongarampur and Kuruvakurda villages, Raichur district, Karnataka, India.
Target Population: Approximately 3,600 individuals in 700 households, primarily engaged in cotton and rice farming.
Overall, this project stands as a remarkable stride towards women’s empowerment through elevating water quality, nurturing empowered communities, and cultivating sustainable development within the communities. From its inception to full-scale implementation, this journey was marked by unwavering dedication, fruitful collaborations, and a resilient spirit. The outcomes achieved serve as a testament to the potential for profound transformation when women and communities are actively engaged as architects of their own development.
The communities experienced notable enhancements in livelihoods, income generation, and economic prospects. This shift towards economic stability and resilience underscored the transformative potential of ensuring access to safe and clean water. The active involvement of women as Water Ambassadors stands out as a cornerstone of our project's success. The empowerment of women in these communities transcended water quality monitoring; it encompassed increased decision-making authority, heightened participation in community affairs, and a profound sense of agency. The ripple effects of this empowerment promise to reverberate across generations. The unwavering commitment to raising awareness and nurturing community engagement has been pivotal. The community is now well-equipped with knowledge and tools to make informed decisions regarding water quality, sanitation practices, and overall health. The culture of active participation and responsible water management is a lasting legacy of this project. Beyond the human-centered impacts, this project has also made substantial contributions to environmental sustainability. By addressing water quality challenges at their source and advocating for responsible water management practices, we have played our part in conserving critical water resources, aligning seamlessly with global environmental goals.
This journey underscored the intricate nature of community-driven initiatives and the paramount importance of adaptability and flexibility in execution. Every challenge we faced was met with unwavering determination, and every lesson learned has enriched our approach, making this project a testament to the indomitable spirit of communities and the potent force of collective action.
Water Ambassadors' Testimonials
"Working in water quality monitoring has given me a sense of purpose and fulfillment that I never had in my previous life. As a woman, I have had to overcome some obstacles, but I have also been supported and encouraged by my family and community. I feel like I am making a difference in the world, and that is a wonderful feeling.”
“As a mother, I was always worried about the health and wellbeing of my children. But before getting involved in the water project, it was difficult to ensure that they had access to clean water all the time. Now, I feel relieved knowing that they can drink clean water anytime they want and for all the mothers in the community that I work in. It's a small thing, but it means a lot to us.".
“The Project has raised awareness about water among the residents of our town. “The knowledge we learned regarding the quality of drinking water was the overall experience of being a part of this project. When someone offered us a glass of water in the past, we never thought to check its quality, but now we realise how important it is to know what we are drinking.”