“Sath Diyawara” Drinking Water Based Broad Spectrum Community Development Project
Puritas (PVT) LTD
Puritas Sath Diyawara provides quality potable drinking water for 9,400 people across 6 villages in the region which is being traumatized by 13 deaths per day caused by the deadly Chronic Kidney Disease
INTRODUCTIONChronic Kidney Disease (CKD) is the most common illness amongst the farmers of the North Central Province (NCP) of Sri Lanka. It is believed to be a water borne disease and has been proven that consumption of quality drinking water not only prevents the disease, but also reverses the early stages of the ailment. Detailed studies reveal that the problem is worsened by socio-economic, educational, health and sanitation aspects of the residents. Puritas, being the specialist on water and wastewater treatment, designed “Puritas Sath Diyawara” to provide a self-sustaining, integrated solution for the communities in CKD affected areas. The project includes a water purification system, cost effective distribution methodology, effective waste management system, knowledge dissemination center, organic farming initiatives, good health and sanitation initiatives, and livelihood development activities. The project was implemented and successfully operating in 6 villages of the North Central Province and 4 such projects are in progress and expected to be completed by March 2016.
FRAMEWORK AND STRATEGYA detailed baseline survey was carried out to draw a comprehensive profile of each family. A Community Based Organization (CBO) was formed and registered with local authorities whilst identifying a suitable plot of land in a centralized location of the village with a source of water. Reverse Osmosis based water purification system was installed and a small tractor and trailer mounted tank was also provided to service the docking stations around the village to ensure all the villagers have easy and equal access to purified water.
To ensure the knowledge dissemination aspect, a knowledge hub was established with a library and Internet facility for villagers of all ages and gender. Learning and awareness programs on best agricultural practices, environmental friendly lifestyle, knowledge and technical knowhow, health and sanitation, market awareness are conducted to improve livelihood activities. A model organic farm was established to demonstrate best agricultural practices required for sustainable environmental management and as a source of motivation for villagers to grow organic products.
ACHIEVEMENT AND IMPACTThis project has created over 100 direct and indirect job opportunities benefiting over 450 dependents in 6 villages where it has been implemented so far, whilst providing quality potable water for 9,400 people. According to the community, there had not been a single death and reduced medical visits and expenses for CKD with in this very short period of time, and a post-screening will be carried out by local health authorities in the last quarter of this year to verify this.
Through the knowledge dissemination and livelihood development activities organized, small groups were trained in different value addition activities to add to their income generation including organic farming, handicrafts and traditional cottage industries. Furthermore, new income generation activities have been introduced apart from providing the market access to the village produce. An average of 153 memberships has been issued for the knowledge dissemination center established at Maithreepura, where the most of memberships are distributed among the youth
FUTURE DIRECTIONTo ensure the self-sustainability and continuation of this project in the long run each CBO is facilitated to function as an autonomous Micro-Financing Institution to uplift village entrepreneurial ventures for nominal rate of interest. Also it plans to create a community brand targeting the upmarket in the island and selected foreign markets linking all CBOs formed under “Puritas Sath Diyawara”. A promising market place for organic fruits and vegetable produce will be provided to avoid middle-man through the corporate relations that Puritas holds with the reputed supermarket and hotel chains. There are plans to intorduce practices in eco-village-tourism and homestay amongst villagers to preserve the natural environment, heritage and the culture of the area which on the other hand develop the regional infrastructure, living standards and economy. Initiatives on composite community waste management strategy will be provided as a proactive solution to reduce, reuse and recycle waste at the preliminary generation point itself to manage the household waste generation in each village and townships of the project area.
Puritas caters to the needs of the environmental engineering and management sector by providing specialized turnkey solutions in water & wastewater treatment. It also manufactures and markets of Activated Carbon based purification products. Puritas is a fully owned subsidiary of Haycarb PLC, the world’s largest coconut-shell based activated carbon manufacturer and is also a member of the Hayleys Group founded in 1878 which is one of the largest multinational conglomerates in Sri Lanka.