PHS believes in collective learning with the communities to further each other’s understanding. As a collective we have engaged with the governance processes of securing universal right to water and have tried to demystify it.
In the 11 years of engagement one of the key strategies for this translation is leadership training and capacity building to sustain the movement to secure the universal right to water. Community representatives are given basic training in perspective building, leadership development, digital literacy and governance. These have helped communities understand the functioning of the water department in MCGM to be able to deal with it in an effective manner. We have conducted multiple training workshops with approximately 200 youth and community leaders of the informal communities that we work within to build capacities towards interacting with bureaucrats, deciphering the technicalities of water supply provision and distribution and about the rights of the people to water in the city of Mumbai.
Building water leaders
We have also engaged community members themselves to work along with the licensed plumber to carry out follow-up activities for ensuring water connections to communities. We believe that in addition to the training sessions and workshops we conduct with support of funding from the Global Greengrants, this engagement has further enhanced distribution of knowledge about water access and policy in general to people within informal communities of Mumbai. So far, we have been able to get 1000 applications (each application reaching a group of 5 households). This has been made possible through the undeterred and courageous work of all members of the PHS with support and facilitation of the PHS conveners. These applications have come from 72 informal settlements spanning across various administrative wards of Mumbai. This indicates our commitment to continue to spread across the city and reach the neediest locations so that we can help them gain access to water from the state authorities.
Strengthening the grassroot voices
We have also been undertaken with academic institutions like the TISS School of Media and Cultural Studies to equip the youth to communicate their stories through digital media. With the help of faculty and students from the School of Media and Cultural Studies at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, we organised four community media workshops with youth of the informal communities that we work with. The basics of filmmaking was taught to young girls and boys in 4 locations of Mandala, Transit camp and Bhim Nagar in an interactive manner. The links for the videos can be found here and here.