Banwasi Seva Ashram (BSA), Sonbhadra, Uttar Pradesh
Contact: Dr. Vibha Augustine
Dates: July 2023 – June 2024
Total Budget: Rs. 5,48,000
2023 Budget: Rs. 5,48,000
After the successful completion of a two-year pilot project for fluorosis mitigation in the Kusmaha and Govindpur villages in the Sonbhadra district of Uttar Pradesh, Banwasi Sewa Ashram (BSA) requested a one-year extension to consolidate their work. The extension project will continue the previous interventions such as defluoridation kits, nutritional and medical supplements, and kitchen gardens. BSA will continue to monitor the health of the study population to examine the effectiveness of the interventions and will mobilize other villagers to follow best practices. BSA hopes to create a village level fluoride mitigation plan to ensure all residents of a village have access to fluoride free water and will advocate with the state and district administration to implement the plan.
In the first six months of the extension year, BSA conducted training for the 75 households in the project to educate them in the maintenance of the Watsan defluoridation kits and replaced filter cartridges where needed. They provided vitamin and mineral supplements to the most affected people and provided training in making nutritious laddus of til, methi, and mahua (to improve calcium and iron intake). Villagers are being motivated to reserve til from agricultural produce for self-consumption and to grow kitchen gardens with green leafy vegetables. 60 such gardens have been established. BSA had previously created maps showing fluoride levels in water sources and they continue to hold community meetings to inform villagers about safe and unsafe sources.
A major challenge faced by BSA is that the worst affected people are often very frustrated due to years of neglect from officials. BSA needs to provide constant education and counseling to villagers to motivate them to overcome their reluctance to participate in the interventions.