From the People to the People

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Here, I would like to give our people some excerpts from the talks made by Joe Madiath from the Project, “MANTRA” how much it is of great importance for our rural population to know how to use latrines systematically and to how to get clean water. In developing countries including India, 80% of the diseases rural people are suffering are attributed to unclean water. Due to lack of the practice of using toilets, they generally dispose excrements in open spaces thus causing pollution of the water resources. That is why there is a great need for rural people to use toilets in their daily lives.
For fulfilling this need, the MANTRA Project (Movement and Action Network for Transformation of Rural Areas) was launched. The MANTRA is a mass movement in which the local populace themselves take an active part to change their daily lives. In the villages which take part in the campaign, a General Body consisting of the whole rural populace is to be formed. The General Body’s responsibility is to draw up the work plans of the project. The General Body then forms the Executive Committee to implement the work plans.
In implementing the project in practical ways, two main groups are set up, one for gathering of materials used in construction, for example sand. Another is the apprentice group to be trained for the job, all of whom are selected from casual workers, especially to train as masons and plumbers. On completion of the tasks of the said two groups, cement and iron rods supported by the government are utilized for construction of public bath-rooms and toilets. Cisterns/ water tanks are built on towers for supplying water to common bath-rooms, toilets and kitchens. Through the cisterns, water is distributed to villagers through pipes.
Thanks to the effort of MANTRA, the rate of disease outbreaks dropped by 82 percent among the rural people in 1200 villages with a population of 0.4 million. Prior to the distribution of water through pipes, it took rural women 6-7 hours a day to fetch water. Due to the long hours needed to fetch water on a daily basis, the women have very little opportunities to learn at schools, less than 10 percent of learning opportunity. Yet, management to distribute water through pipes led women to getting learning opportunity at schools up to 90 percent.
Daily income of casual workers from construction sites rose up to 3-4 times. In our country too, we firmly believe that we should initiate such a MANTRA project as soon as possible.

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