The Indo-Dutch Project at Kanpur- Mirzapur had two major objectives:
Both the objectives could not have been possible without a component of community participation within the framework of an integrated approach.
Approach and Methodology
For carrying out community particip-ation activities, two methods were selected.
Direct : Direct communication between the socio-economic unit of the project and the community. Trained community-based inter-mediaries were deployed in the project area to carry out proper O&M of the infrastructure created under the project.
Indirect : The community was reached via a network of trained change agents. This method was followed in the health aspects of the project.
Activities under Community Participation
The following categories of "change agents" or "facilitators" formed a critical link in the formative stage of community mobilisation for collective action:
The change agents proved to be a vital link between the implementing agency and the local people. Their efforts were organised and institutionalised as area level organisations or mandals for collective action. These mandals were trained to prepare the community to operate and carry out activities by themselves on an autonomous basis, thus ensuring greater sustainability of project interventions.
Community Centres were established in the project areas to provide a common platform to the members of different mandals operating in the field.
Support to technical interventions
The community was broadly involved in supporting the technical activities of:
The project established an essential link between environmental protection and the improvement of the living conditions of the community.
a. Public health
b. Occupational health
Gender Specific Programme
The project activities focussed on involvement of women in the development initiative. The project provided enhancement roles for women; it emphasised the need of creating opportunities. Skill training was given to women to disprove the gender bias attached to certain types of jobs and in the process helped women realise their collective organisational strength. To equip the women with relevant skills, three different types of skill training were given:
Public Awareness Programme
A well planned simple and comprehensive public awareness programme was incorporated in the project to raise the awareness of the general public on environmental issues. A variety of communication materials were developed in the form of flip charts, leaflets, pamphlets, promotion videos, puppets etc. to impart relevant information to the people and bring about an attitudinal change.
The community participation component made the project a totally people based project. It utilised the installed capacities and potential of the local people to enable them to own responsibility for the development initiative and finally bring about sustainable development.
For the first time in the country under the Indo-Dutch collaboration of Ganga Action Plan, at Kanpur and Mirzapur, a programme of pollution abatement works of the river Ganga at these two towns has been augmented with environmental sanitation improvement through effective community participation in economically weaker sections of these two towns. In this project, there has been a strong involvement of women, in several gender-specific and health promotion programmes for children and mothers. Also, change agents of the community such as registered medical practitioners, primary teachers, health workers, traditional birth attendants, were effectively used as media for establishing linkages with the stake holders and promoted community based sanitation. These include building of toilets by trained women masons, fabrication of FRP toilet seats and wheel barrows, training enthusiastic girls from the slums through forming women masons/plumbers cooperatives by mobilising wives and adult females of male workers families of these projects areas to install and maintain toilets alongwith, stand posts provided for adequate water supply. The Community Centre built under this programme was used by local registered medical practitioners and ESI doctors for pre and post-natal care of mothers and children, vaccination and diarrhoea control through oral dehydration salts and other medication measures. This project reveals that such community based efforts are very sustainable with young and enthusiastic women folk of the community who are motivated and trained to take care of the sanitation requirements of their surrounding environs through the awareness programmes of knowledge, attitude and practices (KAP). Better personal and community hygiene has been promoted amongst the project population, proving its replicability for the State to follow suit.