On May 23, Safe Water Network launched its 75th iJal Safe Water Station built in partnership with Honeywell India, bringing the total number of iJal stations in India to 185. This enterprise is located in Medak, a district found just northwest of the city of Hyderabad, in the state of Telangana.
Medak District Collector Bharathi Hollikeri inaugurated the iJal station along with community leaders. Hollikeri reflected on the impact that these iJal stations are having on the communities she represents: “Safe water stations in Medak district [are] empowering [the] local community by providing safe drinking water access to over 50,000 people for their good health. The price is affordable and the program is sustainable. I appreciate Safe Water Network and Honeywell India for their commitment towards Medak community.”
Meanwhile, CEO Kurt Soderlund joined Honeywell India President Vikas Chadha for a press conference to celebrate not only the launch, but also the lasting partnership between the two organizations.
During the event, Soderlund outlined Safe Water Network’s goals for India, while highlighting the necessity of collaboration with local governments: “We are committed to ensuring communities have access to safe water—especially for the poor. We focus on ensuring sustainability by building local capabilities to operate the iJal Safe Water Stations and mobilizing strong grassroots community support. We are grateful to Ms. Bharathi Hollikeri, IAS, District Collector, for expansion of this initiative for the betterment of community health of her district. This is an important step toward scaling up iJal stations in Telangana.”
Chadha spoke of Honeywell India’s partnership with Safe Water Network as part of a broader effort to impact lives in the state of Telangana (where Honeywell India is based): “Not only are we helping build Telangana into a technology hub through our thousand engineers and global technology work they do here, we are also tied to [the] community through this program. It is important to understand that safe water is not just about health. It allows children to go to school every day, parents to work and improve living standards—it can transform lives.”
This iJal station initiative involves not only the construction of locally-owned and -operated water enterprises, but also community engagement to promote safe water adoption (which begins with door-to-door consumer outreach) and the mobilization of local stakeholders. Safe Water Network works with a broad coalition of stakeholders on each project, which can range from the local sarpanch (village head) to accredited social health activists (ASHAs), anganwadi (rural mother and child care center) workers, registered medical practitioners, nurses, and teachers.
For this work, Honeywell India recently received a prestigious corporate social responsibility (CSR) award. On March 30, Honeywell India attended the 25th annual summit of the Hyderabad Software Enterprises Association (HYSEA), a regional body with more than 300 members representing the software industry in Hyderabad, to receive the association’s HYSEA CSR Award. Honeywell India was recognized for its “innovative and path-breaking initiatives in the areas of community development and environment protection” for its work with Safe Water Network in the state of Telangana—culminating in the newly launched water enterprise in Medak.
Safe Water Network’s India Country Director, Ravi Sewak, summarized the important work made possible through this partnership with Honeywell India: “Through on-ground community engagement, Honeywell India and Safe Water Network have been converting traditional mindsets and reviving the centuries-old habit of viewing water as a freely available and safe commodity. Communities are accessing safe water conveniently from water ATMs using their pre-charged RFID card. Now, we see more men collecting water instead of women, who traditionally had to walk miles to fetch and carry water to their homes. We are poised to replicate and scale this model in other clusters.”
Chadha described Honeywell India’s work with Safe Water Network as “one of our flagship corporate social responsibility programs that is bringing about a sea change in the health, productivity, and livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of people.”
Honeywell India recently committed to fund 30 additional iJal stations through 2018, in the third grant under its corporate social responsibility partnership with Safe Water Network—estimated to provide access to an additional 105,000 people.