WASH Matters 2018

Entries for the fellowship are now closed.

WASH Matters 2018 aims to create awareness around water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) issues in the country through long format narratives.

Meet the fellows

Azera Parveen Rahman

Azera Parveen Rahman

Azera is an independent journalist who writes on development issues and loves to explore ‘meeting points’ of issues to look at the big picture. Some of the media houses she writes for are The Hindu and IANS. Amidst other recognitions, Azera has received two national awards—Anupama Jayaraman Memorial Award (2007), and UNFPA-Laadli Media Award (2010).

Malavika Vyawahare

Malavika Vyawahare

Malavika is an award-winning environmental journalist who shuttles between the concrete jungle of Delhi and the lush forests of Réunion Island. She writes on energy and environment with a focus on the intersection of health and environment. A Columbia J-School alum, Malavika has worked with The New York Times and Hindustan Times in Delhi.

Manu Moudgil

Manu Moudgil

Manu is an independent journalist who writes on governance, agriculture and environment for various mainstream and alternative media outlets. He has travelled extensively and reported from 10 of the 15 major agro-climatic zones of India. Besides writing, he also takes up multimedia consultancies and train journalists on reporting environment and climate change.

Pankaj Ramendu

Pankaj Ramendu

Pankaj opted for independent writing to express his opinions. He also writes scripts for corporate films. Amidst all his work experience, he has managed to write three books: Dar Dar Gange (Fiction/Travelogue), Rehadi (poetry collection) and Guldatse ki Gumti (to be published). As a playwright, he has written more than five plays.

Pradip Kumar Srivastav

Pradip Kumar Srivastav

Pradip Kumar Srivastav works as a freelancer for various media organisations including BBC News India, Jansatta and Amar Ujala. In the past years, Pradip has also worked with publications like Dainik Bhaskar, Nai Dunia News, and Sahara Samay Gorakhpur amongst others.

Stories by fellows

Malavika Vyawahare

19 March 2019
Story 1: This Kanpur village drinks neon green water & lives near a toxic waste dump as big as CP – The Print

The Kanpur region is a hub for leather tanning, and Cr VI is one of the most toxic by-products of the tanning process. Over the past two decades, many factories have shut shop, responding to global market pressures and tightening environmental regulations. But while the industries left, the contaminants did not. A lot of the toxic waste from leather tanning industries in Kanpur has been dumped illegally in deep borings, open lands and in rivers.

19 March 2019
Story 2: Lead in PVC pipes is poisoning India’s drinking water, but govt’s done nothing in 2 years – The Print

Drinking water comes to most taps through polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipes. Some cheap PVC pipes use lead stabilisers. Experts say the risk of lead leaching from these pipes into drinking water is real, but efforts to regulate its use have yet to bear fruit, partly due to government lethargy and partly due to resistance from industry.

22 March 2019
Story 3: West Bengal had India’s first arsenic poisoning case, 35 years on little has changed – The Print

Almost 70 per cent of the districts in West Bengal report arsenic levels above the permissible limit of 10 µg/L. Arsenic poisoning was first reported in India from West Bengal in the early 1980s. In the 35 years since, the alarming extent of the contamination has become well-known but viable solutions remain elusive.

Manu Moudgil

19 February 2019
Story 1: A Revolutionary Toilet Saves Water, Money, But It Is Ignored By Target-Obsessed Swachh Bharat Mission – India Spend

The Ecosan is a dry toilet built on a raised platform, listed in the Swachh Bharat Mission’s (SBM) guidelines as suitable for dry areas with scarce water supply, coastal and flood-prone areas with high water tables, and rocky areas. Excreta are not flushed out, but stored in sealed chambers to be used as farm manure later. Ecosan toilets return the nutrients to soil, preventing pollution and reducing expenditure on farm chemicals.

18 March 2019
Story 2: How Borewell Restoration Is Helping Farmers Repay Their Loans – The Wire

As agriculture and industrialisation become more intense, many parts of India are already facing water shortages, not to mention a lot of the water available is dirty. So they are using borewells to access – and soon drain – the deep aquifers.

23 March 2019
Story 3: Number crunching helps farmers manage water – India Water Portal

Estimates suggest that the groundwater level in India declined by 61 percent between 2007 and 2017. Around 89 percent of groundwater is extracted for irrigation followed by domestic (nine percent) and industrial (two percent) uses. There were 20.52 million wells and tube wells used for agriculture in the country in 2013-14, says the 5th Minor Irrigation Census. We are also digging deeper.

Azera Rahman

29 November 2018
Story 1: Hope flickers in Assam village where water is 'slow poison' – Business Standard

One of the most visible effects of long exposure to high fluoride content has been on the physical appearance of the villagers. One can hardly find a child, or an adult, without stained or crooked teeth -- symptoms of dental fluorosis. And almost every inhabitant of the village suffers from pain in joints and body aches. So much so that children often miss school -- a classic example of how this goes beyond the realm of a health issue.

11 January 2019
Story 2:In Assam's villages, a low-cost, DIY technology is battling contaminated water (Feature) – Business Standard

Arsenic contamination of groundwater in Assam is a serious issue. According to data presented by the Public Health Engineering Minister Rihon Daimary to the state assembly in October 2018, groundwater in 6,881 areas in 24 districts (of the total 33) of the state is contaminated with arsenic. This has grave implications. Long-term consumption of groundwater arsenic can lead to chronic poisoning, thereby causing diseases like cancer, bronchitis, diabetes, bone marrow depression and cardiovascular diseases.

Pankaj Ramendu

2 January 2019
Story 1:Opinion: मुझे गंगा के प्रति न प्यार है, न श्रद्धा बल्कि नफरत है – Zee News

आर्सेनिक एक सेमी मेटालिक तत्व होता है जो गंधहीन और स्वादहीन होता है. ये ज़मीन की सतह के नीचे प्रचुर मात्रा में मौजूद रहने वाला 26वाँ तत्व है. इसकी पहचान इसका जहरीलापन है. इसमें कैंसर पैदा करने की क्षमता होती है और ये हवा, पानी और त्वचा के संपर्क में आकर शरीर में पहुंच जाता है.

22 January 2019
Story 2: क्या गंगा एक ‘बाथटब’ है? – Zee News

कानपुर के किनारे बने इन चमड़ा उद्योगों पर तभी से गंगा को दूषित करने का इल्जाम लगता रहा है जबसे गंगा की सफाई की बात चली है, लेकिन इस पूरे मुद्दे में एक खास बात ये भी है कि कहीं ना कहीं सरकार, प्रशासन और लोगों ने गंगा को एक बड़ा नाला मान लिया है, जिसमें शहर से निकलने वाले तमाम छोटे नालों को मिला दिया जाता है.

21 February 2019
Story 3:सीहोर का गांव दे रहा सीख- 'पानी बनाया तो नहीं, लेकिन बचाया जा सकता है' – Zee News

मध्यप्रदेश की राजधानी भोपाल से करीब 50 किलोमीटर दूर सीहोर जिले में बसा गांव रायपुर नायखेड़ा में पानी की परेशानी कोई आज की बात नहीं है . ये गांव पिछले पचास सालों से पानी की समस्या से जूझ रहा है.  इसी जिले से निकलने वाली कोलार नदी जिसका 70 फीसद पानी भोपाल के लोगों की प्यास बुझाता है. सीहोर के पठारी इलाका होने की वजह से ये नदी के अपर बेसिन पर मौजूद है. इस कारण से करीब 1300 वर्ग किलोमीटर के क्षेत्र में फैली इस नदी से प्राकृतिक तौर पर सीहोर जिले को कोई विशेष लाभ नहीं मिल पाया. शुरू से ही भूमिगत जल पर निर्भर इन गांवो के हालत पानी के मामले में बद से बदतर होते जा रहे हैं.

22 March 2019
Story 4:World water day 2019: रोटी के दाम चुकाती धरती – Zee News

बरसों से भूमिगत जल के भरोसे रहने वाले गांव के लोग अब पानी को दूर से भर कर लाने, आठ से दस दिन पुराने पानी को पीने, हफ्तों-हफ्तों तक पानी के लिए इंतज़ार करने और टैंकर से पानी खरीदने को अपनी जिंदगी का हिस्सा मान चुके हैं. वो जानते हैं कि उनके यहां ऊगने वाला गेंहू उनकी ज़मीन के तले की तरावट को किस कदर सुखा रहा है लेकिन आप इसे उनकी मजबूरी कह सकते हैं या बाज़ार संचालित मानसिकता का उनपर हावी होना. ये भी कहा जा सकता है कि पानी की कमी से जूझते इन गांवो को फिर भी पानी की इस लगातार विकराल होती भयावह स्थिति और अपने भविष्य का अहसास ही नहीं हो पा रहा है.

22 March 2019
Story 5:भूमिगत जल के दोहन को लेकर किसी तरह का कोई नियंत्रण नहीं है – The Print

हर वो चीज़ जिसे हम खाते हैं, खरीदते हैं और पहनते हैं उसके उत्पादन में पानी शामिल है. एक उत्पाद को तैयार करने में जितने पानी की ज़रूरत होती है उसे उसका वॉटर फुटप्रिंट कहा जाता है. सुबह आप जो एक कप कॉफी पीते हैं उसे बनाने में एक अंदाज़ से लगभग 125 मिलीलीटर पानी लगता है. वहीं कॉफी को उगाने में जो पानी इस्तेमाल होता है, कॉफी के पौधों की सिंचाई से लेकर बीन की प्रोसेसिंग तक जो पानी लगता है वो इससे 1,000 गुना ज़्यादा होता है. जो करीब 132 लीटर होता है. हम रोज़मर्रा के काम जैसे नहाने-धोने और पीने में जितना पानी इस्तेमाल करते हैं, वो हमारे वर्चुअल वॉटर यानि आभासी जल के इस्तेमाल के आगे बौना है.

Meet the jury

Sanjeev Srivastava

Sanjeev Srivastava

Sanjeev Srivastava is the former editor of BBC Hindi service, including Internet and radio, having previously been a correspondent reporting across all BBC world service and news outlets in English. He started his broadcasting career in 1994, when he joined the BBC Hindi Service in London. He launched the BBC’s first Mumbai bureau, reporting across BBC television and radio in English, Hindi and Urdu.

Pankaj Pachauri

Pankaj Pachauri

Pankaj Pachauri is the founder and editor-in-chief of Gonews, India’s first app based TV News channel. Pachauri was associated with NDTV for 15 years. With more than 30 years of experience in print and broadcast journalism, he was also associated with other international media houses including the BBC, India Today, The Sunday Observer and the Patriot newspaper.

Anubha Bhonsle

Anubha Bhonsle

Anubha Bhonsle is an award winning journalist and author. She has a body of work reporting on politics, conflict and gender. As ICFJ Knight Fellow, Anubha is helping newsrooms amplify coverage of Gender and development issues with the single subject news model. She worked with Wire.in on #Grit, a site dedicated to the coverage of manual scavenging, health and sanitation and #GenderAnd at Indian Express.

About WaterAid India

WaterAid is an international non-profit, determined to make clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene normal for everyone, everywhere within a generation. Only by tackling these three essentials in ways that last, can people change their lives for good. Since 1986, WaterAid in India has successfully implemented water, sanitation, and hygiene projects, extending benefits to some of the poorest and most vulnerable communities across 13 plus states in India.

WaterAid India strives to make universal access to clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene a reality by 2030, the target year for Sustainable Development Goals.

Theme of the fellowship

Theme of the fellowship

India is suffering from “the worst water crises” in its history, with about 600 million people facing high to extreme water stress and about two lakh people dying every year dying due to inadequate access to safe water as per the recent Niti Aayog Report. The lack of access to clean water also imposes a huge financial and health burden on some of the country’s most marginalised sections.

‘WASH Matters 2018’ aims to highlight the various problems faced by urban and rural communities when it comes to accessing clean water like walking for miles and spending hours for just a few buckets of water or the severe health implications of consuming unclean water. It further aims to explore the physical, economic and social repercussions due to lack of clean water.

As WaterAid India and its partners strive towards making clean water accessible for everyone, everywhere through context specific community-led sustainable solutions, ‘WASH Matters 2018 Media Fellowship’ through field visits will encourage the selected fellows to document stories on the reality of access to clean water – the crises and the solutions through the lens of individual and community narratives.



  • Once selected, the fellows will have to attend an introductory workshop with WaterAid India
  • The selected fellows will be required to travel to minimum two field sites of WaterAid India in the country. The stories may or may not be limited to WaterAid India’s interventions but must contribute to the larger dialogue on the theme
  • The selected candidates will be expected to publish/broadcast long format investigative/ human interest stories, features or photo essays
  • Each fellow is to publish a minimum of three stories during the fellowship period
  • In case of print or online stories, the stories should preferably be in long format, a minimum of 1200 words for dailies, 2000 words for online/magazines. In case of video, it should be exclusive long format content for broadcast platforms (minimum 10 minutes)
  • After the field/site visits, the candidates are expected to share a draft version of their stories with WaterAid India
  • The fellows must acknowledge the support of WaterAid India when they publish or present their stories elsewhere
  • Post the fellowship, the articles/reports become the joint property of WaterAid India and the fellow. Once published, the stories would also be published on WaterAid India’s website wateraid.org/in
  • Fellows would be encouraged to promote their stories on social media platforms
  • WaterAid India has the right to question the deliverables and can stall payment if the fellow has not delivered in line with the expectations
  • Each selected fellow will have to sign a detailed Terms of Reference


The fellowship will be for a period of eight months (August 2018 – March 2019) where Fellows will be requested to keep WaterAid India in loop regarding the theme, location and travel required for the stories.


Each fellow will be presented with a certificate of appreciation at the end of fellowship.


The Fellowship is of INR 1,00,000 per fellow. This is inclusive of travel, accommodation, site visit and other miscellaneous costs. The disbursal of the fellowship amount will be in three installments – 40% on being selected as a fellow, 30% on the publication of first 2 stories and remaining 30% on the publication of the third story (a TDS component of 10% would be applicable on this payment).