Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 9
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

WDA finishes year of service to Indian clean water projects

As the year comes to a close, Whitman Direct Action’s Sadhana Clean Water Project has achieved results. The project’s sustainability and future are secured by the dedicated students involved.

WDA members plan and execute yearly proposals that seek to help marginalized people through environmentally and economically lasting programs. By uniting people from various backgrounds, building self-confidence, leadership and teamwork skill sets, WDA has enacted positive change on campus and abroad.

In the past three years, WDA has completed a house-building project in Nicaragua and a bio-diesel program in multiple South American countries.

This year, India’s water crisis drew the attention of WDA. India is the second largest country with a population of 1.25 billion people, of whom 226 million do not have access to clean water. In the state of Maharashtra alone, over 700,000 water related illnesses have been reported and by the year 2025, the demand for water is projected to double.

Following the much talked about Date Auction, money from the ASWC contingency fund, grants from Youth Venture and Asian Studies and a myriad of other donations, WDA raised over $10,000 for this year’s Sadhana Clean Water Project.

After hundreds of hours of volunteer work, WDA members Jessie Conrad, Tim Shadix, Jyotsna Shivanandan, Yukta Kumar, Daniel Bachhuber and Dr. Raechelle Mascarenhas utilized these funds to travel to India and work directly with the community members and NGOs their project aims to help.

In India, WDA surveyed rural villages in the Kolwan Valley, held the Safe and Sustainable Water Conference in Mumbai and created the Water Book, a compilation of case studies and essays chronicling 10 different Indian NGOs efforts to implement clean water projects.

Community wells were tested in multiple villages as part of the rural study group in the Kolwan Valley. All three open-wells exceeded World Health Organization’s standards for fecal chloroform and nitrate.

“There was a lack of following through on the part of the government with regard to water purification,” said Shadix.

Taxes collected by the Indian government are meant in part to go toward water purification; village leaders, however, noted this was not happening.

The students’ survey of rural villagers’ access to clean water and the Water Book are now serving to unite local NGOs and public health officials that were previously not communicating. In addition, a report is in the works that will be used as a model for the area and the continuance of water access research.

“We hope it will be a transparent resource for NGOs and government officials,” said Conrad.
The future of WDA is fully in the hands of the students involved.

“The success of the project is up to us. It’s very intense, once you’re committed, you’re really committed,” said first-year John Loranger.

Every year a new project is chosen after multiple proposals are discussed. For next year, WDA is continuing to look at water issues and perhaps micro-financing in rural Zimbabwe and Uganda.

“The most exciting part is that we can choose any project, in any part of the world that we’re passionate about. It’s entirely open-ended,” said Shivanandan.

A collaborative report of this year’s WDA Sadhana Clean Water Project will soon be available at their Web site, whitmandirectaction.org. Students can also become involved with WDA’s grassroots team and aid in the execution of next year’s project.

If you are interested in joining or helping WDA in any way, please contact students Jessie Conrad at [email protected] or John Loranger at [email protected].

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