Creating a Ripple effect

By Vikas Ratanjee
The need to act fast

Consuming fluoride and arsenic contaminated water keeps on affecting people in Assam at an extremely frantic pace and the water quality problem though relatively new is fast on the road to taking a serious turn, in fact it already has..More and more areas each day are getting discovered with water sources that are contaminated with arsenic and fluoride in groundwater  with water sources in even urban areas now getting affected. Children continue to be the biggest sufferers here.

Time is running out and it’s running out fast. so what can we do then?

We feel that the first thing we might need  in an Assam context of things, where the problem is so new and hasn’t quite picked up  is a ripple effect among people so that the problem can be brought out in the open, and we think that  it’s going  to be  you and me,  NGO’s, Researchers, Academia, Media, the youth who would need to go out there and create this ripple affect and make things move. A campaign to this effect called Unite for Water Unite for Assam was originated by the Fluoride Knowledge and Action Network in August

Following on and as part of the campaign  the Fluoride Knowledge and Action Network  along with the Arsenic Network organised  three events in Guwahati from Feb 9 to 11, 2015  on water quality.  As part of this there was a meeting on the 10th where a wider civil society forum in Assam participated and the response to this was massive with 88 participants in all for this, a meeting on the 11th with government and a doctors training on the 12th were also held.

What eventually emerged , especially in the meeting on the 10th was a need for an avenue that can bind efforts for a wider forum on water quality in Assam.  People felt that  a resource centre on Water quality could be one such avenue so efforts are not lost.

There was a need for this ripple we intended to create to reach important policy makers and influencers as well; these include as of now the Government of Assam’s Water Department (PHED) , UNICEF Assam and others so we had rounds of meeting with  these actors as well to push for things through their support  for a wider movement to take shape.

We’re  happy to let everyone know that the group of people that’s now active in Guwahati  have already come up with this resource centre, it will be placed at the Centre for Microfinance and Livelihoods (CML) and we’re hoping for some really good outcomes from this.

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