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Arghyam, a civil society organisation working on water issues since 2005, has participated in drinking water programmes involving State Governments since its inception, either directly or by partnering with local Civil Society Organisations (CSOs).
This publication documents Arghyam's and its partners' collective experiences in participating in these Government programmes and puts forward key learnings and challenges.
The various programmes include - Sachethana, a school rooftop rainwater harvesting programme, and Suvarnajala, a flouride mitigation programme, both in Karnataka; Pani Thiye Panjo, a decentralised drinking water management programme in Gujarat; and Mazhapolima, an open-well recharge programme in Kerala.
Overall, Arghyam's experiences point out to the need to gravitate towards developing partnerships based on mutual respect. This means that Government and Civil Society collaboration in the programmes should be officially recognised and formalised, so that suggestions and key inputs get attention and are acted upon.
Further, focus on software activities such as capacity building of water users and institutions and increased civil society participation in such programmes, rather than on hardware/assets, will have better impact on improving the quality of implementation and ensuring transparency and accountability.