What is your signature innovation, your new idea, in one sentence?
Implementing community based participatory and sustainable water and sanitation management to improve the quality of life for people in developing rural areas.
Describe your innovation. What makes your idea unique and different than others doing work in the field?
For over twenty-two years CORD has been working in over 550 villages in District Kangra, Himachal Pradesh. By establishing community based organizations human capital is harnessed, and education and awareness is spread at the grass root level.
As one component of our integrated program, CORD is providing water management and sanitation awareness to many villages. We also aid in the construction of low cost toilets for the poor, single women, and differently-abled persons. The community then mobilizes to help such needy people by volunteering for labour or offering monetary support. It also provides training and sets an example which other villagers can follow in construction of their own toilets.
Besides advocating toilet construction, we are implementing other water management and sanitation measures such as: soakage pits, kitchen gardens for proper recycling or disposal of kitchen waste water, rainwater harvesting, revival of natural water sources, check dams, gabions, loose boulders, and plantation to prevent soil erosion, garbage pits, and segregation of plastics for recycling.
Delivery Model: How do you implement your innovation and apply it to the challenge/problem you are addressing?
Beneficiaries are selected in each village by local Community Based Organizations. For deserving, CORD enables access to half the funds through Self Help Groups and partially constructs the toilet. The family provides the remaining funding, and contributes labor efforts. Beneficiaries selected are from the following categories: Disabled, Single Women, Below Poverty Line, Scheduled Casts, or Other Backwards Classes. The toilets are built to be functional, and the beneficiaries themselves complete the construction. These structures serve as a model for other villagers.
How do you plan to expand your innovation?
CORD works on the four principles of networking, integration, participation, and sustainability. Currently we are working in 30-34 focused panchayats (approx. 150-180 villages); in doing so, we have developed villages and created a pool of resource persons who are experienced and knowledgeable. In response to their demands, we link other villages to our developing villages where they can teach, learn, and replicate each others’ practices.
We follow up with villagers 2-3 months after construction is completed and again 1+ years post construction on their progress, and current practices. We also ask how they are spreading awareness to their peers, and if they have actually motivated others to implement proper water and sanitation practices. CORD sows and nurtures the seed which grows into an integrated, participatory, demand driven program in which each village is sustained by the villagers themselves. Our goal is to create such self sustainable practices in as many villages as possible.
Do you have any existing partnerships, and if so, how do you create them?
Since we are an integrated and comprehensive rural development organization we work directly with the people and local self governments of over 550 villages.
Currently our health and sanitation program is working with the Lions Club, Dharamshala and Lions Club, Oak Brook (Chicago, USA). We also have many networking liaisons on the panchayat, block, and district level in District Kangra, Himachal Pradesh on various issues regarding health, sanitation, and water management.