“Sath Diyawara” Drinking Water Based Broad Spectrum Community Development Project
Puritas (Pvt) Ltd
As the key CSR initiative of Hayleys Group, Purtias Sath Diyawara provides clean drinking water for more than 25,000 people across 16 villages in Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Mullaitivu and Vavuniya districts in Sri Lanka.
INTRODUCTIONChronic Kidney Disease (CKD) is a widely spreading disease amongst the farmers of the North Central Province (NCP) of Sri Lanka. It is believed to be water borne and has been proven that consumption of quality drinking water not only prevents the disease, but also reverses the early stages of the ailment. Further, detailed studies reveal that the problem is worsened by socio-economic, educational, health and sanitation aspects of the people. “Puritas Sath Diyawara” was designed to provide a self-sustaining, integrated solution for the communities in CKD affected areas. The project includes a water purification system, distribution mechanism, effective waste management system, a knowledge dissemination center, organic farming initiatives, efforts to encourage good health and sanitation initiatives and livelihood development activities. The project is implemented and successfully operating in sixteen villages in the Northern and North Central Provinces. Five more such projects are in progress and expected to be completed by end 2016.
FRAMEWORK AND STRATEGYA detailed baseline survey was carried out to draw a comprehensive profile of each family. Community Based Organization (CBO) was formed and registered with local authorities and a suitable plot of land in a centralized location of the village with a promising source of water was identified. Reverse Osmosis based water purification system was installed and a bowser mounted two wheel tractor was provided to service the docking stations around the village to ensure all the villagers have easy and equal access to purified water.
As part of the knowledge dissemination initiative, library and an internet facility was established for villagers of all ages and gender. Learning and awareness programs on best agricultural practices, environmental friendly lifestyles, knowledge and technical knowhow, health and sanitation and market awareness were conducted.
A model organic farm was established within the same premises 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 235 direct and indirect job opportunities benefiting over 1,265 dependents in sixteen villages where it has been implemented so far, whilst providing quality potable water for 25,496 people. According to the community, no deaths from CKD was reported and medical visits and expenses for CKD were reduced within this very short period of time. To verify the statistics, a proper post screening will be carried out by Puritas at the end of this year.
Through the knowledge dissemination and livelihood development activities, small groups were trained in different value added activities to improve income generation including organic farming, handicrafts and traditional cottage industries whilst improving access to market for the village produce.
FUTURE DIRECTIONTo ensure the self-sustainability and continuity of this project each CBO is facilitated to function as an autonomous Micro-Financing Institution to encourage village entrepreneurial ventures. The project also aims to create a community brand targeting the upmarket in the country and selected foreign markets linking all CBOs formed under “Puritas Sath Diyawara”. Direct marketing for organic fruits and vegetable produce will be provided to avoid middlemen through corporate relations between Puritas and reputed supermarkets and hotel chains. Practices in eco-village-tourism and home stay will also be introduced to preserve the natural environment, heritage and the culture of the area which will in turn improve 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 wastes at the preliminary generation point itself to manage the household waste generation in each village and townships of the project area.
Puritas is the pioneering solution provider in the environmental engineering and management sector specializing in the areas of water and wastewater treatment and manufacturing and marketing of activated carbon based purification products. Puritas represents Veolia, which is the world’s leading environmental management entity, and together contribute to the development of township infrastructure in Sri Lanka. The company also has presence in the Maldives, Indonesia, Thailand and Myanmar.