Women take charge of the operation and maintenance of hand pumps in rural Bihar
Training women as hand pumps caretakers in rural Bihar also enables them to enhance their incomes through paid services.
Under an intervention of the Sector Wide Approach to Strengthening Health (SWASTH) programme of the Government of Bihar (GoB), women Self Help Group (SHG) members have been trained in operation and maintenance (O&M) of hand pumps in rural Bihar.SWASTH supported by the Department of International Development (DFID-UK) and implemented by GoB in collaboration with the Bihar Technical Assistance Support Team (BTAST) entrusted the responsibility of training and handholding of SHG members through cluster and block level federation to major SHG Promoting Institutions (SHGPIs) like JEEViKA, Women Development Corporation (WDC) and Bihar Mahila Samakhya Society (BMSS).
In the pilot phase, one block each in Gaya (JEEViKA) and Rohtas (BMSS) were identified for training of representatives of block/ cluster level federation as hand pump care takers and mechanics. Further, a Rural Sanitary Mart (RSM)-Cum-Call Centre was established in both the blocks. The Rural Sanitary Mart -cum- Call Centre facilitates easy availability of quality hardware required for the repair of hand pumps. Additionally, the Rural Sanitary Mart -cum- Call Centre also acts as a call centre for a swift response to strengthen the mechanism of operation and maintenance of hand pumps.
These marts not only aimed at strengthening the O&M system for hand pumps at the village/ Panchayat level, but also provided an opportunity to rural women to enhance their incomes through paid services.
After successful implementation of the pilot phase, the call centre facility was rolled out in one block each of four different districts of Bihar. This was done in consultation with the Public Health Engineering Department (PHED) and the SHGPIs. The RSM-cum-Call Centre became operational in Rajgir block in Nalanda district, Jalalgarh block in Purnea, Makhdumpur block, Jehanabad, and Maner block in Patna since September 2015. 1303 women and another 147 women belonging to different SHGs from the 4 blocks received intensive training as Hand Pump Care Takers (HPCT) and Hand Pumps Mechanics respectively. As of January 2016, the call centres had received more than 120 calls asking for information regarding the installation and repair of hand pumps.
- 1,303 Hand pumps care taker are trained under 4 blocks (Females from SHGs) 2 days training
- 147 HPM – Hand pump Mechanics are trained (Females from SHGs) 5
- 69 – practicing hand pump mechanics (Male)
- 123 calls received for repairing till January 2016