Environmental Conservation and climate change is an important issue to which Raj Saubhag is keen to play its part. Tree planting projects, conservation and climate awareness and education in schools, water cleanliness as well as water harvesting projects have been undertaken so far. We have outlined some of our current projects below.
Raj Saubhag has long used rain water harvesting technology in its Ashram for drinking water. Seeing the plight of villagers where water is scarce, the ashram has now partnered with Samerth Trust to work on water harvesting projects in marginalised areas of Gujarat.
Monsoons in India usually last 3-4 months in a year. A normal monsoon would generally provide enough water for humans and animals to survive throughout the year. However there are many rain-deficient regions in the country. Many villages in Gujarat have received only 70% of their share of rainfall this year, while some regions have not even received enough rainwater to last them 6 months.
Kutch: Rapar districts has received only 375 mm of rainfall this year. Areas of Balasar and Gagodhar districts received such scanty rainfall that it will last them a bare 3-4 months. The sporadic rainfall patterns are a cause of grave concern in a rain-dependent nation like India. In the rare incident when it rains heavily for a few days, the poor villagers have no means to accumulate and store this water for future use.
Comprehending the gravity of the situation, Raj Saubhag Ashram partnered with Samerth Trust based in Ahmedabad to initiate projects to ease the challenges of the poor and marginalized sections of society.
Developing Community Based Assets: Check Dams, Reservoirs and Wells
Five earthen check dams in Kutch District: Amrapar, Mangadh, Manunam Vandh, Mevasa and Kanmer along with 31 dug wells were completed in 2013. The Amrapar talav (reservoir) with a dug well inside the reservoir collects rainwater that serves the drinking water and domestic needs of 300 families and 1000 cattle for the entire year. The earthen check dam in Kanmer supports over 800 families
Water samples from 52 intervention areas were tested. 18 samples were found to have a high level of free residual and 36 samples had a high level of hardness amongst other biochemical findings. The results were discussed with the village communities and in particular with the village health and sanitation committees to help take corrective measures to treat and improve the quality of drinking water.
WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) awareness programmes were launched in 2013 to help curtail water-bourne diseases. Adolescent girls in Jatawada and Gagodar Schools took part in Female Hygiene Management workshops conducted by Kanchanben Parmar, a nurse in Gagodar Public Health Centre (PHC). Fifty volunteers were trained at the Samerth Campus in digging wells and building check dams. The training was held by Jayrambhai Rajgor, a veteran in the field with a wide range of experience in the arid regions of Kutch. He also held workshops for 104 village volunteers on the responsibilities of the local government, the responsibilities of the village members and committees, water security and planning, managing resources well within the village and sanitation and waste management in the village.