Kunti Gupta, project coordinator, S M Sehgal Foundation has been recognized by United Nations Development Program (UNDP) as a Women Water Champion for her work on water conservation, water management, water quality improvement, and wastewater management in rural communities in India. The virtual felicitation event was organized by UNDP on June 2, 2021, in partnership with National Water Mission (NWM), Ministry of Jal Shakti (MoJS), and Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI), which recognized forty-one Women Water Champions for their remarkable contribution to the water sector. The event also marked the release the Compendium having inspiring accounts of their work in the field.
Ms. Nadia Rasheed, deputy resident representative, United Nations Development Programme gave the opening remarks. Special remarks were given by Ms. Birgitta Liss Lymer, program director, SIWI, and Mr G Asok Kumar, additional secretary and mission director, NWM, Ministry of Jal Shakti.
Empowering rural women is critical to the mission of S M Sehgal Foundation, a well-recognized NGO in the field of rural development, where a multifaceted approach is used to strengthen community-led development to achieve positive social, economic, and environmental change.
Kunti has worked in district Nuh, Haryana, for ten years, and in her role as a community mobilizer for water management she sensitizes villagers on water-saving practices. While Nuh was a water-scarce region, and water salinity was an issue in the state of Bihar, where she is working for the past four years, she took on a new water challenge. In Bihar, people faced many health problems due to fluoride content in water. Their unawareness about waterborne diseases was a major challenge that Kunti had to address.
Experience with different geographies helped Kunti to evolve in her role as a field coordinator to a project coordinator with wide experience working with communities across Haryana and Bihar with continuous community capacity building, group sessions, and community sensitization. “Water-aware communities pave a bright future for themselves,” says Kunti.
Sehgal Foundation’s Chief Operating Officer Anjali Makhija also spoke as part of the panel “Reflections from Partners,” which was moderated by Dr Swayamprabha Das, UNDP. Anjali congratulated the women water champions for their inspiring work across fourteen states of India. She shared that such recognitions go a long way in helping women take leadership roles to better manage water resources and solve water issues in their communities.
Sehgal Foundation has been working for sustainable rural development for more than two decades, reaching over 1,000 villages across 34 districts in ten states, and impacting 2.5 million people. Visit www.smsfoundation.org
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