Thursday, April 13, 2017

Water Quality and Fluorosis Training Workshop for Kalike

After the hydrogeology training from ACWADAM, the team of Kalike Organization had water quality session on the final day (6th April 2017) of the ongoing workshop series (3-6 April 2017). I and my colleague Shreyas represented the Fluoride Knowledge and Action Network (FKAN) and coordinated the water quality training for the Kalike Team, with specific focus on Fluorosis and Nutrition.

We began with understanding water quality, standards for drinking water and its implications on human health. Kalike has recently begun working on the water and sanitation in the district. Yadgiri faces issues of both water scarcity and water quality, hence defining concrete steps was essential. This is where the vast learnings of the FKAN could be shared, discussed and improvised to set of activities, which Kalike could carry out to mitigate the issue in a focused way. There is scope for cross learning, so that Yadgiri, for e.g. could implement best strategies from other affected places like Nalgonda, Jhabua, Nagoan etc.

We had used the Safe Water Learning Cards for the training. We had split the team into groups of 4 each, ensuring each team had members who could help/explain other members in need. We had 3 sets of discussion happening on the Basics of Safe Water and Fluorosis, Solutions to the issue and lastly the strategies that could be used to bring these solutions to the ones in need. The discussions were quite interactive, which helped them to understand different aspects of fluorosis. Look at pics below of the Flash Cards Session in process.

While most of the team knew the methodology to use field testing kits, we demonstrated the use of Caddisfly kits and Arsenic testing to answer few specific queries about it. We stressed on the importance of using the data and doing preliminary analysis. Further, we demonstrated the team specific surveys to identify cases of dental and skeletal fluorosis in their study villages (look below). This was to create awareness and advocacy with relevant stakeholders about Fluorosis in the district, which was lacking according to Kalike.

Skeletal Fluorosis Survey Demonstration 1

Skeletal Fluorosis Survey Demonstration 2

Arsenic Testing with field kit

When we played the video on the Network’s work in Jhabua in MP and Naogaon in Assam, the team was happy to know the effects on Fluorosis could be reversed in growing children. While discussing the strategies, most members believed School is an important institution to work with. There were some members who exclusively worked in Angaanwadis across villages. They quickly realized importance of using specific nutrition to counter the effects of Fluorosis. But they pointed out they are challenges, people would not use Moringa, Amla regularly even after awareness, due to their food habits. They suggested there may be other local alternatives that could be worked out, specific to the food habits in Yadgir.

Members who work on Nutrition in Angaanwadis

When we came to discuss the strategies, we quickly asked the team formulate plan for Yadgiri. We coordinated and came out with the baseline study plan for the team to work on the next 3-4 months. The Kalike team which consists of more than 15 Program Officers (part of a newly developed WASH program) covering the block of Yadgir in the initial phase. The team now working in Yadgiri, have come from other districts like Kalburagi (Gulbarga), Koppal, Udupi, Belagavi(Belgaum), Dharwad in Karnataka etc. I hope they take the learnings of Safe water and Fluorosis, even to these districts. The team is a mix of both young students and ones with experience in rural development. This is the strength of the team at Kalike. They look forward with working with FKAN for guiding them for implementation of solutions as their next steps, immediately after the baseline study.

Kiran Kumar Sen,
Wipro Sustainability Seeding Fellow,

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