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Impact at Scale #1 | Quenching thirst at scale

Impact at Scale #1 | Quenching thirst at scale

This is the first ever edition of ‘Impact at Scale’, my attempt to start a conversation on the core constraints in the scaling of impact, and (hopefully) spark new ideas. This 2-minute read looks at the roadblocks to equitable access to water in India.

1 Question:

  • Har Ghar Nal Se Jal, a noble effort to make sure every rural household has a water connection by 2024…do we have enough plumbers?
2 Perspectives:

  • Over 4 Cr. rural households have been given water connections since the launch of Jal Jeevan Mission. 11 Cr. toilets have already been constructed under Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. As the pace of building infrastructure accelerates, local capacity to repair and maintain is essential to sustain this progress.
  • Local water storage and local distribution need to function smoothly for equitable access to clean water and efficient disposal of grey water. Without local capacity a breakdown cannot be repaired in time, cleanliness cannot be maintained, and infrastructure cannot be expected to work reliably.
3 Factors:

  • If each gram panchayat needs at least 2 entrepreneurial plumbers to be considered self-sufficient, panchayats must be partners in assessing existing capacity and youth who can be upskilled.
  • To make remote skilling of entrepreneurial plumbers possible regardless of pandemic related disruption, EdTech coupled with vernacular action-learning content will be instrumental.
  • To ensure the newly build plumbing capacity sustains itself, tech-enabled tracking of earnings and handholding till earnings stabilize will be necessary.

Ensuring all 2.5 Lakh villages in India have adequate local capacity to install, maintain, and repair water infrastructure is an opportunity to create 5 lakh new livelihoods. A plumber has the potential to earn as much as an engineer in this country, and the potential to make developmental initiatives in their community successful and sustainable.

“Is wellbeing only economic growth? Only salaries? Or is wellbeing also being able to breathe clean air and drink clean water?”

— Frans Timmermans

Do share your perspectives, any factors I may have missed, feedback or ideas.

Until the next time,

Dr. Gayathri Vasudevan 

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