"Every day more than 3000 children die from diarrhoreal diseases mostly from drinking contaminated water.”
One of the key risks to communal health, especially in the Kalwa slum, is water quality. The slum is dotted with hundreds of bore wells. In optimum conditions, bore wells are drilled to 30-50 meters into the ground. But in urban slums like Kalwa, some bore wells as shallow as five meters down, which can be easily infected by pollution and sewage. Many people boil the water to eliminate contamination. But many other residents cannot afford to do that, or do not have the requisite knowledge to deal with the risk.
The detrimental impact of using contaminated water is readily apparent in Kalwa. The doctors at the Shravan Health Center have seen many ailments caused by the contamination in the water. It includes extreme diarrhea, intestinal parasites, stomach diseases, and more.
GPM has been working on solutions to open-water problems, and has embarked on a partnership with Doctors for You and the corporation Eureka Forbes that has worked on water filtration and water quality throughout India. We have established a safe-water filtration plant in the Kalwa slum that produces drinking water for over 1000 households. This is a sustainable, social enterprise project that provides safe drinking water to those in need at a reasonable price. Residents have an incentive to use the clean water because it is cheaper for them than the contaminated bore water. Moreover, residents who visit the Shravan Health Center and/or send their children to the GPM Love2Learn school receive additional discounts on clean water. This is a win-win model for the residents of the Kalwa slum.
This pilot project, the first of its kind in the Kalwa slum, is also being viewed with an eye towards replicability and scale. As this pilot initiative has proved to be a great success, GPM will continue to seek out partners in order to scale up this program and find ways to reach wider populations.