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Making people aware of their rights

For groups trying to bring water to the marginalized tribes, one of the biggest barriers was opposition from the main panchayat. In many villages, the panchayat and other sources of authority were not willing to allow the Sahariyas to access water.

In such a situation, Sambhav pursued a two-pronged strategy. First was to make the submissive Sahariyas aware of their rights, motivate them to ask. For example, as part of a government project it was noticed that a pipeline was laid to the villages, however the construction only touched the main village and did not include the Sahariya hamlets, located on the peripheries.

On the one hand, the Sahariyas were made aware of their rights and encouraged to raise their voice and start demanding. On the other hand, the other villagers were encouraged to be more supportive and a major effort was made to change mindsets. Meanwhile, leveraging with the government departments and using the subsidies and incentives available for tribal development, the pipeline access was reached to the Sahariyas.

Nayagaon, in the Shivpuri district is another project village of Sambhav. This village has 100 per cent sanitation coverage today. Here the women are very proactive and they played a very important role to sensitize the people about cleanliness. There is a drastic change in the attitude of the people in this village. There was a time when the women here didn’t take bath for several days but today they say that they feel irritated if they don’t take bath for a single day. This village too, paved its own way against all odds.

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