Advocacy at Arghyam envisages translating the learning and understanding from the field projects that we support into policy inputs to governments at various levels. Arghyam has been called upon from quite early in our existence to provide inputs to government, most often by the Central Government. We strive to keep our suggestions and inputs very evidence-based; reflecting the actual experiences of our partners on the ground.
The following lines give some idea about our work in this area.
Planning Commission Consultations: In late 2010, Arghyam was requested by the Planning Commission to collate civil society inputs on drinking water and sanitation for the approach paper to the 12th Fiver Year Plan. This request resulted in a series of regional consultations followed by national consultations culminating in formal documents that were submitted to the Planning Commission as joint input from the large number of the organisations and individuals that participated in the process. Read more
Publication on Sustainable Sanitation: "Step By Step - Achieving Sustainable Sanitation" is an Arghyam publication. The publication arose out of a consultation on sustainable sanitation organised by Arghyam at the behest of Dr. Mihir Shah, Member, Planning Commission in 2009. Dr. Shah requested that the discussions at the consultation be captured as a process document that would reflect the steps and processes that are part of a successful sanitation intervention. Read more
ASHWAS (A Survey of Household Water and Sanitation): is a participatory survey conducted by Arghyam with the support of partner NGOs to ascertain the status of domestic water and sanitation in rural Karnataka from a citizen perspective, and to create awareness on water and sanitation issues and introduce a participatory approach to deal with these issues. The survey covered 17,200 households in 172 gram panchayats (GPs) across 28 districts of the State during 2008-09. Read More.
Policy inputs and presentations at important fora: Besides some of the major activities above, we have continually responded to requests from government departments and organisations to provide inputs on several different aspects of water and sanitation. Read more.
The Research initiative at Arghyam envisages funding carefully picked areas where Arghyam feels that a focussed research or product design/development effort would pay significant dividends by resulting in a product or technique that could benefit many people.
Typically the research is in a water technique or technology, almost always with strong sustainability and low-cost aspects. These research areas are arrived at in close consonance with Arghyam's Rural Grants and Urban Water and other initiatives at Arghyam and are meant to and respond to the felt needs and reflect field knowledge derived from these areas.
Past research funding at Arghyam has included support to two students at the University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore, to work on hybrid rice research and use of Anthropogenic Liquid Waste (human urine) as a fertilizer. Of these the ALW work has expanded into joint funding starting (along with UNICEF and Stockholm Environment Institute) of a Center for Excellence in Ecological Sanitation at the University from 2008 to 2011. More Ph.D. research, a demonstration plot with outreach activities, and a communication strategy for upscaling use of urine as a fertilizer are among the activities envisaged for the Center of Excellence. The use of human waste as fertilizer assumes extra importance in the light of the soaring costs of inputs for chemical fertilizers. More about the Ecosan work here.
The current other main area of interest for research funding is appropriate wastewater treatment solutions. Untreated sewage water is a significant and widespread problem in cities and rural areas and mainstream solutions have disadvantages that have prevented their widespread uptake. There is a clear need for new solutions that meet the our particular needs. We have supported the installation of a 15KLD (kiloliter per day) domestic wastewater treatment plant using an innovative indegenous technology called Soil Biotechnology as action research. Contact us to access the draft report.
Other areas for future efforts include water quality.
For more information or queries regarding the Research & Advocacy at Arghyam, please send mail to vijay at arghyam.org