35 residents of Aydega village, District Simdega, Jharkhand rejoice as the hand-pump in their village has finally been repaired after a wait of 2 years. The repair work was a direct result of a video (http://indiaunheard.videovolunteers.org/not-a-drop-to-...-new-bore-well/) made by Community Correspondent Warles Surin. He shares the experience of his first ever impact here.
On a scorching summer day Warles made his way to Aydega village and spoke to the people about the problems they had. The community agreed that the major problem that they all faced was the lack of access to safe water. The local hand-pump, the only source of water in the neighbourhood had been running empty for the past two years.
"They put their faith in me and my camera and decided to give a new method a try" says Warles.
The residents would walk a kilometre each day, come rain, shine or sickness, to a small water pond. Many fell sick while drinking this water. The pond was also the only source of water for bathing and washing up.
"The residents had in the past gone to the village headman and ward member to seek a solution. The delay in fixing the hand-pump was a technical one rather than the lack of motivation to do so. The dimensions of the broken pipe used in the hand-pump had long ceased to be the standard. The block office had stopped issuing those pipes. It was next to impossible to source a spare part in working condition," says Warles.
To the residents it did not matter whether the authorities manufactured a new pipe just for them or installed an entirely new hand-pump. They were tired of waiting and wanted a source of water as was promised to them through various government schemes.
"I made the video. Got all the evidence together, including statements from the residents explaining their daily struggle. I then took the video to the ward member, Jyotish Lugun. He was familiar with the issue and told me that he would try once again."
6 months later the repairmen finally came to Aydega to work on the hand-pump. The delays of the past 2 years were set right in a day's work.
"It doesn't matter how the work was initiated, I am just happy that the hand-pump has now been repaired" says Ward Member Jyotish Lugun.
"I went to Aydega to meet the residents after I hear the good news. I could sense the relief. And the joy for me was double as this was the first time my video had made an impact in a community" Warles says.
With each Impact video that gets made one begins to wonder what exactly it is about video and community journalism that brings results when other methods have failed. A theory shared by many Community Correspondents is that video brings accountability. Authorities know they are being watched and that brings action. The CCs are on to something. Keep watching this space for more impacts our CCs bring through their hard work and dogged determination to change their communities.
These could be amongst the lowest wages paid for doing life-saving work,
Why should it take a community media intervention to get ASHAs basic safety equipment?