Safe drinking water will decrease the spread of water-borne diseases: Smita Gaikwad, Hinduja Global Solutions

India CSR Interview with Smita Gaikwad, Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications & CSR, Hinduja Global Solutions

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BANGALORE: India CSR Network was pleased to interview the Hinduja Global Solutions’ Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications & CSR, Smita Gaikwad last week about Hinduja Global Solutions’ CSR and it’s Safe Drinking Water projects under CSR.

As you can read from the interview below, how HGS is providing safe drinking water is impacting the lives of the people in Bangalore. Recently, HGS has partnered with the Jaldhaara Foundation to open water health centers across Bangalore to provide safe & clean drinking water to residents in the city. Check out the entire interview, there is bunch of helpful information!

What is the focus of the initiative?

You are aware that India, with a population of over one billion citizens, continues to grow rapidly with nearly 76 million people across the country still surviving in unhygienic living conditions, and without access to safe and clean drinking water. A WaterAid Report 2016 revealed that India ranked as one of the worst countries in the world for the number of people without safe and clean drinking water. Specific to Bengaluru, a report submitted to the World Bank by Karnataka Slum Clearance Board in 2012 said that the city accounts for 862 slums out of 2,000 slums in Karnataka. Over 60% of these slums lack water supply lines and are served by intermittent Bengaluru Water Supply and Sanitation Board (BWSSB) tankers and community piped water supply.

As a socially responsible corporate, HGS believes in enabling significant impact in the communities we serve – through initiatives in education, healthcare and skill development. We believe that access to clean water is significant to paving the path for a healthier society and their economic development. In line with this, HGS has tied up with Jaldhaara Foundation (JF) to provide clean drinking water to underserved communities in Bengaluru by setting up three WaterHealth centers.

The first HGS-sponsored WaterHealth center was launched at Singasandra on Hosur Road, Bengaluru and we plan to start the other two in nearby areas by August 2017. We expect it to touch the lives of almost 1 lakh people within a 5-10 km radius.

Share some insights into the WaterHealth Center you have launched? (Areas it will cater to, size of the plant)

The three WaterHealth centers – to cater to communities in Singasandra and Hosapallya near Hosur Road in Bengaluru – has an area of 600 sq.ft each. The centers will provide 100% safe and pure drinking water treated by UV & RO method. The water containers are specially designed to avoid contamination at the time of storage and use. Each center is operated, managed and maintained by JF’s technical partner WaterHealth in order to ensure optimal quality and performance at all times.

What is the treatment process used in the plants?

The sustainable water purification centers ensure standardized operating and maintenance procedures. Raw water goes through a six-stage purification process. This advanced six-step filtration process includes Activated Carbon Filter, Multimedia Filter, Reverse Osmosis (RO) Technology and UV waterworks and delivers World Health Organization (WHO) standard quality water. The centers also maintain a centralized real-time monitoring and quality control system to guarantee an immediate and agile response to any system or water quality issues.

What is the capacity of the plant? (How much water will it purify on a daily basis?)

Each WaterHealth center can produce 1,000 liters of water per hour and about 8,000 liters of water in a day. A family of four will consume 20 liters of water over two days, which means that a WaterHealth center can support 400 families per day. The production of water can be optimized based on the needs of the community that we are serving. To produce 1,000 liters of purified water, the plant intakes 1,500 liters of raw water. The recovery of RO is 60%.

Highlight the role/contribution of Hinduja Global Solutions in this initiative (Association model, outlook and focus areas)

HGS is working through a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model with Jaldhaara Foundation and BBMP. JF and WaterHealth will provide the technology and run operations for the HGS-funded program, while BBMP will facilitate the land, raw water source and electricity. The primary focus of the association is to ensure safe and clean drinking water to the local communities.

What is the role of Jaldhaara Foundation?

Jaldhaara Foundation, a not for profit organization, aims to provide sustainable access to safe drinking water and sanitation solutions to the underserved communities (both rural and urban) globally. In this program, JF will help us in operating and running the water centers for HGS, liaison with local communities, and create social awareness regarding the health and hygiene benefits of using pure drinking water.

How will it impact the larger population in these areas?

With three WaterHealth centers located on the Hosur Road stretch, we are aiming to provide safe and clean drinking water to around 95,000 – 100,000 people across a radius of 5-10 kms. Access to safe drinking water will help significantly decrease the spread of water-borne diseases, while reducing women drudgery, loss of man days and school absenteeism. Increased awareness about WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) goals in the community will improve health and wellbeing and society at large.

How many water health centers will be launched through this initiative? Which all areas will this cater to?

HGS, through its tie-up with Jaldhaara Foundation, will set up three WaterHealth Centers in Bengaluru by August/September 2017. The first Water Health Center is at Singasandra, Hosur Road, while the other two centers will be set up at Singasandra and Hosapalya areas.

Share some insight into the other CSR initiatives of Hinduja Global Solutions.

HGS’ CSR strategy is inspired by the pioneering thoughts of Late Shri Parmanand Deepchand Hinduja, Founder, Hinduja Group, My dharma (duty) is to work so that I can give. HGS’ activities are reinforced with its pledge to work towards the betterment of the society and the communities it operates in. The HGS Framework primarily focuses on four areas – Education, Healthcare, Skill development, empowering differently-abled and community development – that HGS believes will impact India’s future growth and prosperity. We extend our support to economically and socially disadvantaged children in India and invest in their holistic wellbeing, including their health and nutrition. We also offer essential and superior healthcare services to local communities. We have taken initiatives towards empowering differently abled people by setting up centers to train them and help them earn a livelihood. Our youth oriented projects are aimed at training youths with vocational training to ensure that they develop skills in IT enabled services and BPM services.

Disclaimer: The thoughts captured in the interview is solely that of the interviewee. The views expressed by the interviewee in this feature are entirely his own and does not necessarily reflect the views of India CSR Network and its Editor.

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