Bhadra Maya Pulami Magar


Age: 36

Address: Purano Gaun, Khola Tole, Manthali Municipality 9 Ramechhap District

“We learned that drinking filtered, clean water protects our bodies from diseases, and can lead to greater health”

Taking matters into their own hands: Mothers’ Group Bring Water Filters

It takes almost half an hour for the women of Purano Gaun, Khola Tole, a village in Manthali Municipality 9 of Ramechhap district, to fetch water from the springs (padhero) and natural wells. The water is often dirty but it is still used for drinking, cooking, cleaning and for other household purposes. Not surprisingly, the water often led to the community being sick.

Many women of the village would treat the water by boiling it, straining it in a white cloth or would sun-dry the water in plastic bottles. Some would simply skip these measures and drink the dirty water directly. However, the USAID-supported and CRS’ flagship program, Rural Area Initiative (RAI) helped transform their lives and behavior. When the Aama Samuha (Mothers’ Group) of the village attended Women’s Group Meeting conducted by their fellow neighbor and Community Change Agent (CCA) Binda Pulan Magar; they gained knowledge about family planning, maternal and child health, uterus prolapse, and health and hygiene.

It was during one of these group meetings that the Aama Samuha learned about the benefits of water filters. “After attending the RAI program’s group meetings, we learned about the importance of water filters for clean and healthy water for drinking and cooking purposes,” says the 36-year-old Bhadra Maya Pulami Magar, President of the Aama Samuha.

 “When Binda initiated the topic of water filters during one of the group meetings, we all decided to bring the filters in our household,” says Bhadra. But it took Binda quite some time to persuade the women to buy the filters. “After the Aama Samuha agreed to bring the water filters in their house, I first purchased one for my house and displayed the filter during a group meeting. Subsequently, the women started bringing water filters in their houses,” shares Binda.

“We learned that drinking filtered, clean water protects our bodies from diseases, and can lead to greater health,” asserts Bhadra. “The Aama Samuha gather every month for a meeting, there we discuss water filters every time. We want all the Aama Samuha members to have water filters in their house”. Studies have shown that the diarrhea case in Ramechhap has been rampant for many years. During the month of May and June, the cases have been even worse.

The Aama Samuha comprises of 20 houses, of which 18 now have water filters. The women of the other two houses plan to buy the filter by the end of June. Janaki Puri, aged 32, a member of the Aama Samuha says that her financial issues hindered her from buying the filters at first, but she plans to buy one in the near future.

One of the biggest challenges the women faced was convincing the elders of the village. The elders argued that they had been drinking the same water for so many years and nothing had happened to them. But the women were adamant too. They explained how drinking clean water was beneficial for their health and drinking impure water was one of the main causes of diarrhea among children. Slowly the elders gave in and now almost all the Aama Samuha houses have water filters.

RAI is a community-based initiative started in 2014 as a part of the USAID-funded Ghar Ghar Ma Swasthya (GGMS) or Healthy Homes project. The project aims to promote and create demand for family planning, maternal and child health, uterus prolapse, and health and hygiene in rural, hard-to-reach areas. The second phase of RAI started in 2018 and works on Tanahu, Terhathum, Argakhachi, and Ramechhap. The CCAs are local women who are trained by Nepal CRS Company to promote health in the community via group meetings and community events.

Nepal CRS Company P.O. Box. 842   Tokha Road, Mahadevtar, Gongabu, Kathmandu, Nepal Phone: 977 1 4962097 Email: info@crs.org.np