We’re excited to share our current Together for H2OPE project in Assam, India!
Tonganagaon Tea Estate is the largest organic, fair trade tea estate in all of India.
Since we began purchasing Assam black tea many years ago,
we have contributed $750,000 worth of Fair Trade funds to this estate.
In 2016, we launched an innovative partnership with the Women’s Earth Alliance (WEA) to ensure clean, safe drinking water for 6,500 residents in the estate’s 12 villages. WEA has empowered women for over 10 years, helping 750,000 people in 18 countries.
While every household has a well (900 total), they are poorly constructed leading to water stagnation, sandy soil seeping through the ground, and water table contamination, especially during the monsoon season.
Many latrines are located too close to the wells, which creates a dangerous source of contamination. 30% of families report suffering from water-borne illness. Education about health and sanitation is another component to the challenges.
We are raising funds for the overall project, ensuring community-driven, sustainable water solutions for all Tonganagaon residents.
With on-the-ground engineering, construction, education, & behavior change, we will implement the following water, sanitation, and hygiene solutions, including:
Improve Infrastructure: Reduce contamination of the 900 existing wells by ensuring proper drainage and upgrading hand pumps and other hardware.
Ensure Treatment: Help the community learn how to boil and filter water to minimize bacterial contamination and iron, especially during the monsoon season.
Safe Storage: Support community members to safely handle and transport water once it is treated so it does not become re-contaminated.
Upgrade Latrines: Provide guidance to Chamong Tea Company, who will be improving existing latrines and constructing 900 new facilities over the next 3 years.
Engage the Community: Implement a training program that supports the community’s adoption of good practices in water management, sanitation, and hygiene.
We are in the middle of working with a pilot village on the Tonganagaon Tea Estate to establish tools and techniques to be scaled to all 12 villages by June 2017. The project volunteers have been successful at:
Teaching the community to use the three water treatment techniques – boiling, candle filtration, and sand filtration.
Dialogue and engagement with community leaders to conduct demonstrations in the temple, church, and other public locations.
Develop water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) songs composed and sung by the trainers and volunteers. Additionally, WASH movies will be viewed and plays are performed.
Build a good rapport with the District Public Health Department, which participated in one of the demonstrations. The PHD also donated WASH information, education, and communication (IEC) materials, as well as water testing kits and a training to the project team on how to use the kit to test water.
Conduct weekly cleanliness drives, which the volunteers have been coordinating to encourage community members to keep their private and public spaces clean and free of debris, especially around wells and latrines.
Technical assessment of all wells, latrines, and drainage on the tea garden will be complete by the end of November.
Join us in providing clean,
safe drinking water to the
Assamese Indian farmers who
pick our organic black tea.