Wednesday, October 11, 2023

Awareness Session for Sama Foundation

        The Biome Environmental Trust team conducted an awareness session on water conservation for the Sama Foundation at Devara Jeevanahalli, popularly known as DJ Halli, Bengaluru. This was the first interaction between the Biome team members and the Sama Foundation members.

Topic of Discussion - Basic understanding of aquifers, importance of well rejuvenation, water issues of DJ Halli, proposing solutions and planning.
Date and Time - 6th October 2023, 11 AM to 2 PM
Venue - Sama Foundation, Youth Center, DJ Halli, Bengaluru
Biome team members - Avinash, Suma, Neelima, Krishna, Ayushi, Srivalli, Nagraj and Apeksha
Sama Foundation members - Sama Foundation Founder- Paul Ramanathan, Climate Action team - Vinodhini and Ashwini, Communication team - Vikram and others

About Sama Foundation:
        The event started with a brief introduction by the Founder of Sama Foundation, Paul Ramanathan. About 20 people from the foundation joined us for the session. The team members described to us how the foundation was started, the work done by them and their short-term & long-term goals.
        Sama Foundation mainly works towards an inclusive society aiming to eliminate hunger, poverty, and all kinds of discrimination and exploitation. The main project taken up by the Foundation, named “Janadhikari”, focuses on three important factors of society - Education, Health and Social Benefits.
  1. Education: Sama Foundation has worked towards reducing the dropout rate of children in pre-primary school. They have introduced post-learning initiatives like tuition. They have brought up the idea of pair learning among the students to build self-confidence and self-awareness. For youth of the age group 18-30 years, they offer a 3-month skill development course, that includes communication skills, digital literacy, guidance for career growth & development, spoken English etc
  2. Health: They conduct health camps from time to time. They coordinate with government hospitals and spread awareness regarding chronic diseases, Government insurance policies (like Ayushman Bharat), etc.
  3. Social benefits: They work towards the holistic development of the community. Given the plethora of government schemes available for marginalized communities, they create awareness regarding financial literacy, pensions etc. They aim to empower women and children by connecting them with government schemes and benefits.
  4. They have conducted surveys on 10,000 households in the locality. They conduct meetings regularly involving at least 300 households.

Biome’s interaction with the Foundation:
        In the previous visits done by Biome, the team had identified 32 wells. As a part of the awareness session, Biome team members Neelima and Avinash conducted a knowledge session for the Sama Foundation members. They explained briefly the different sources of water, the sustainable management of the same, the geology of Bengaluru, the concept of shallow aquifers and the need for the revival of open wells. The session was interactive, with members clearing their doubts. The questions delved deep into the concept of water conservation, helping understand the need for it.
Glimpses of the presentation
Issues faced by the community:
  • The community faces an ongoing water crisis, with many places getting water once every 5 days. As a result, people need to buy RO water for their water requirements.
  • The area faces flooding during the rainy season due to improper solid waste management and the terrain.
  • The quality of the water from the Municipal connection is not up to the mark.
  • The sewage and water pipelines need to be mapped and monitored.

Agenda proposed by Biome:
  1. Understand the Water demand of the community and revive the wells accordingly:  The entire area can be segmented into small settlements, and the water demand of each settlement should be calculated. Accordingly, the wells nearby can be prioritized for revival. A questionnaire can be prepared and distributed to households to understand their water needs.
  2. Water quality study:  The quality of water needs to be monitored regularly for tap water and well water. A module educating them regarding the salts dissolved in water, the pathogens present, the contaminants, and the harmful effects can be compiled and distributed to the people.
  3. Rainwater harvesting in Government schools: Identify a school in the locality for rainwater harvesting and groundwater recharge. This will act as a model of best practices of water management for the entire community.
  4. Local Involvement: Identify the plumbers and masons in the locality and involve them in implementing the work. This helps in social inclusion and skill development of the community youth.

Blog written by Apeksha Deshpande

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