A transformative initiative is underway in the heart of Haryana’s Mahendragarh district – the Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM). This ambitious project, from 2023 to 2024, is part of the Government of India’s flagship program to provide Functional Household Tap Connections (FHTCs) to every rural household by 2024.

Community-Driven Approach: At its core, JJM emphasizes community ownership and engagement in all phases of the program – planning, implementation, and operation and maintenance (O&M). The mission recognizes that involving local communities, particularly Gram Panchayats and Village Water Sewerage Committees (VWSCs), is pivotal to ensuring the long-term sustainability of water supply systems.

Challenges and Solutions: Mahendragarh district faces challenges such as hydrological disparities, declining groundwater levels, and deteriorating water quality. Many water supply schemes become dysfunctional due to various factors, including leakages and wastage. JJM seeks to address these challenges by empowering communities to take charge of their water supply systems.

Community-Based Organizations: The program’s operational guidelines highlight the management of drinking water supply systems through Community-Based Organizations (CBOs). Existing committees, like Self-Help Groups (SHGs) and Pani Samitis, are integrated into the VWSCs, ensuring a cohesive and community-driven approach.

Role of Yuva Mitra: Yuva Mitra plays a pivotal role in mobilizing and engaging communities, facilitating planning and implementation, and building the capacity of communities and their institutions. Their scope of work over 12 months is comprehensive and spans two phases.

Phase I: Building the Foundation

  • Community Mobilization: Initiating community mobilization activities, strengthening the baseline data for household tap connections.
  • VWSC Establishment: Working closely with the district to establish or reconstitute VWSCs, ensuring representation from marginalized communities.
  • Awareness Building: Creating awareness about JJM among villagers and ensuring they are familiar with VWSC members.
  • Tap Connection Promotion: Mobilizing communities to opt for tap connections, leaving no household behind.
  • Village Action Plan (VAP): Preparation and re-verification of VAPs, involving the community in decision-making.
  • Capacity Building: Building the capacity of Gram Panchayat and VWSC/GP Body/Pani Samiti functionaries.
  • Service Delivery: Ensuring 100% service delivery under JJM in the village.
  • Community Engagement: Mobilizing communities for participation in decision-making, monitoring, and equitable distribution of piped water supply.
  • Eliminating Insanitary and Illegal Connections: Ensuring the removal of insanitary and illegal connections.
  • User Charges Collection: Collection of user charges to support the sustainability of the water supply system.

Phase II: Strengthening the Foundations

  • Capacity Building for PRIs: Conducting programs to empower PRI members to effectively implement JJM.
  •  IEC Tools: Designing and implementing Information, Education, and Communication tools to raise awareness on various aspects of water.
  • Water Conservation Awareness: Building community awareness on topics such as rainwater harvesting, water quality, and water-borne diseases.
  • Progress Reporting: Regular reporting about project progress and issues to the concerned authorities.
  • Skill Training: Identifying and training village-level pump operators, electricians, plumbers, etc.
  • Water Quality Testing: Regular water quality testing and dissemination of results to the community.
  • Awareness Programs: Conducting awareness programs through various means like Nukkad Natak, Rallies, School competitions, etc.
  • Geo-tagging: Geo-tagging of project assets for transparency and accountability.
  • Account Maintenance: Creating and maintaining registers for accounts related to the water supply scheme.
  • Sustainability Assessment: Evaluating the sustainability of VWSCs and FHTCs in all villages.
  • Convergence Opportunities: Identifying possibilities for convergence with other line departments at the village level.
  • Documentation of Success: Documenting best practices and success stories to share valuable experiences.

Yuva Mitra’s dedicated efforts in Mahendragarh district exemplify a holistic approach to achieving the SDGs through community involvement, capacity building, and sustainable water management. It’s a remarkable journey towards providing clean and accessible water to every household while fostering a sense of ownership and responsibility within the community.

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