From learning herself, to teaching others: Jal Sakhi Jyoti’s story
Twenty-five-year-old Jyoti of Haryana’s Mukimpur village remembers the time when she would hesitate to walk out of home, unaccompanied. “But now I am a different person,” the young woman said. Married, with a child, Jyoti’s confidence rose as she took on the role of a Jal Sakhi—through an intervention of WaterAid and AB InBev. Jyoti and many like her after being trained on issues related to water, began sensitising the community on the same.
In her own words, Jyoti had no idea that there could be so many interrelating issues around water. Like, water conservation was crucial to ensure everyone’s future, particularly now, when drastic weather changes are affecting every aspect of our lives. A lot of people in Mukimpur are farmers and agriculture is highly dependent on water. “I also had no idea that water could be tested. It was only after my training that I understood how to test water quality and why it was important,” she said, “Earlier children would fall ill often—now I know it was because of poor quality water and lack of hygiene.”
Jyoti was chosen for the role of Jal Sakhi after key consideration and discussion with the self-help groups working in the village. Her roles include water quality testing and identifying needy families who are bereft of water connections. She is also expected to make people aware of the importance of drinking potable water, not wasting water, and hygiene. A Jal Sakhi is given an enumeration for her work.
The journey of sensitising people, however, had its own challenges. “Initially it was not easy convincing people about the issues of hygiene and water quality,” Jyoti said, but slowly, as people saw results, they became more open to her suggestions. “Now the general condition of the village has significantly improved", she adds with a smile.