Gauriben RaysinghbHai KOLI – India

Linked with Self Employed Women’s Association SEWA.

She is one of the Laureates awarded in 2006 with the Prize for Women’s Creativity in Rural Life given annually by the Women’s World Summit Foundation WWSF.

She says: ”Water is life!”.

Gauriben RaysinghbHai KOLI - India.JPG
Gauriben RaysinghbHai KOLI – India

She works together with the Self Employed Women’s Association SEWA.

Water is growingly scarce in many parts of the world today, and that is certainly the case in the village of Bharada, Gujarat State. The State Water Supply and Sewerage Board invited SEWA to undertake the work of pipeline repairing in the area – formerly strictly a man’s job. “We will die of thirst if you undertake this job” the men told the women.

However, led by Gauriben (39), the women of the SEWA group (Self-Employed Women’s Association, India’s largest organisation of poor self-employed women), participated in a seven month training programme during which they mastered the techniques of leakage repair of the iron and PVC pipelines, chlorination of water, the functioning of operating valves and various motors, keeping records of stocks for water tanks, etc.
Beginnings were not easy. An earthquake broke the pipeline in many places, but the women were able, thanks to their creativity and drive, to maintain uninterrupted water supplies, to the great surprise of the villagers.

The leader of one of the villages supplied by the pipelines systematically broke the pipelines to prove his point that women were incapable of running such a job. Undaunted, the women would immediately repair every break till the village head finally gave up.

In addition, the SEWA team teaches villagers a more hygienic use of the water supply and how to save water. As a result, water born diseases are receding and water is used more carefully.

Gauriben is now a highly respected local leader. (To read, go to Rural-Life Prize, and click first on the year, second on the name).

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