WFH received an unsolicited proposal from the Society for Health Environmental and Rural Development Project (SHERDP) of the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu on the 11th of September in 2007. Their proposal requested $3,195 for four bore wells and hand pumps for three villages ($799 per well). On our request, in January of 2011 they submitted a revision of the budget to account for inflation with the price per well adjusted to $$995. Being the first time we have funded this organization, the WFH Committee cautiously voted funds for the first two wells. They didn’t disappoint, and their project completion report with testimonials showed professionalism and integrity, and was submitted in a timely manner.
This report described how meetings with the communities selected the general locations for the bore wells, while later, Shri. Nateson, a 76 year old traditional dowser renowned for his ability to identify water points for digging or drilling of wells in the area, selected the specific locations. A village water users committee was then formed, consisting of 15 members (10 women and 5 men). This was done with the support of the entire community in each of the two villages, which framed the roles and responsibilities of the committee members. This included collecting money for repairs. Five members of the local Self-Help Group (SHG) were trained in hand pump maintenance. The well was drilled successfully and hand pump installed, with the community providing food and refreshments to the laborers of the company.
The community pooled funds and contributed unskilled labor toward the constructions of the platforms. At the conclusion of the project, SHERPD conducted a training program for each village on the importance of water and sanitation, the connection between health and hygiene, water conservation and recharge of wells. Two beneficiaries wrote testimonials to express the profound appreciation of both villages, Veppankadu and Kunnamalai. SHERDP estimated that 3,450 individuals, plus livestock, directly benefited from the wells.