I visited SM Sehgal Foundation for two weeks in December 2022 to learn about their successes with household-level drinking water programs, including the MatiKalp and JalKalp filters. During my research study, I am visiting nine organizations around the world to learn about the water challenges and each organization’s approach to creating sustainable drinking water solutions. While visiting with S M Sehgal Foundation, I met with Mr. Lalit Sharma, principal lead, Water Research and training, S M Sehgal Foundation, Gurugram, before traveling to Patna, Bihar, to spend a week visiting rural households with Aparajeeta and Sumit from the S M Sehgal Foundation team. We learned about the challenges of educating households around the hazards of invisible contaminants in drinking water, such as arsenic, iron and bacteria, since people often believe that clear water is safe. I discussed with households about how the Sehgal Foundation’s team builds relationships with each community and hosts information sessions to build awareness around these invisible contaminants. When a safer water source is not available, the Sehgal team informs people about the JalKalp water filter, which is an incredibly useful water treatment tool. When the JalKalp is too expensive, then the MatiKalp clay pot filter is another great option making water safe.
After visiting households around Patna, I traveled to Bhagalpur, Bihar, to attend a three-day workshop hosted by the foundation team on biosand filters. About thirty participants learned about water contaminants, their hazards to health, and how the biosand filter works to remove these contaminants. I joined as the workshop participants built a JalKalp filter, and I helped the women sift sand to the proper size for the filter.
To conclude, I learned about the water challenges in rural Indian villages and about S M Sehgal Foundation’s successful approach to creating sustainable safe drinking water solutions for households.
Dec 15, 2022, Canadian PhD student and water researcher Karl Zimmermann joined local women sifting sand that was used to build a JalKalp household water filter in Tilakpur village, Bihar.