Skip to main content

In Gujarat's Meghraj, 77% girls "missed" school to fetch water, look after siblings: Ahmedabad workshop told

By Rajiv Shah
An Australian government-sponsored pilot project, meant to create technical awareness for sustainable groundwater use among villagers of two semi-arid regions of Gujarat and Rajasthan, has revealed how, despite huge official claims, water scarcity continues to bog the regions, adversely impacting girl child education in a big way.
Called MARVI or Managing Aquifer Recharge and Sustaining Groundwater Use through Village-level Intervention, a study report prepared for implementing the project in a meaningful way in the two rural areas, says that whopping 77% girls “missed” school due to home duties, which included collecting water.
Carried out in Meghraj in Gujarat and Dharta in Rajasthan, the study, said a participant in a two-day national workshop in Ahmedabad on groundwater monitoring and recharge, which began on May 30, was carried out by a group of about dozen scholars led by R Kookana and published in the “International Journal of Inclusive Education” (2016).
Titled “Groundwater scarcity impact on inclusiveness and women empowerment: Insights from school absenteeism of female students in two watersheds in India”, the study is based on a survey conducted in secondary schools of Meghraj and Dharta in order to “assess students’ perceptions about groundwater scarcity issues and the impact of the scarcity on educational opportunities of school students”.
Two main types of data were used in the study; survey responses to detailed questionnaire by a cohort of students in both watersheds and school attendance records for year 8 class students (aged 13 to 14 years).
Pointing out that “responses gathered via a socio-economic survey involving 500 families in the study area were also used to interpret the results”, the study says, in both the areas, identified as “watersheds”, more 90% students identified groundwater scarcity as a major issue.”
“Approximately 94% of the surveyed students were involved in household work, with female respondents helping by fetching drinking water form a nearby well, cooking, cleaning the home and looking after younger siblings”, the survey said.
Confirming that access to water remains a pipedream for the villagers, the study, whose contents were handed over to the participants at the workshop, says, “A large number of women continue to travel many times a day to collect water for various uses. Women travel an average of three times a day for 50 to 77 minutes per trip to collect drinking water, depending on the season.”
Suggesting how the Gujarat government’s kanya kelavani or girl child education drive has failed as a result of this factor, the study says, “Approximately 68% of the surveyed students in Gujarat arrived late or left school early due to household duties while 65% of students sometimes missed school altogether.”
It underlines, “A clear link between gender and school attendance was noted. For example in Gujarat, while 40% of male students missed school, the number of females missing school due to home duties was nearly twice as much (77%).”
A Meghraj hamlet
The study acknowledges that “approximately 65% of the surveyed parents indicated that their daughters have either missed school or were late in going to school because they were helping them collect water for domestic use.”
The study comments, the “demand on students, especially females, to undertake household work such as fetching drinking water and consequent school absenteeism highlighted that groundwater scarcity in the study area is a contributing factor towards limiting educational and economic opportunities available especially to female students.”
It adds, “In general, the groundwater scarcity can be one of the key factors that can limit empowerment of women and therefore any policy changes or initiatives to improve empowerment need to consider water availability issues.”

Comments

TRENDING

Hindus to be 'sent' to Kashmir? Despite Israeli settlements, peace eludes the region

By Anand K Sahay*
Curfew, news and communications blackout, transportation shut-down... News reports from Kashmir are worrying. So are the views relayed through the media, especially television. Old-fashioned repression seems to be consorting comfortably with expressions of concern “for our Kashmiri brethren”. We are looking at Orwell’s 1984 in the making.

Dholera 'inundated': Gujarat govt tries selling low lying area as top smart city site

Counterview Desk
Even as the Dholera Special Investment Region Regional Development Authority (DSIRDA) of the Gujarat government was busy organising a junket for Gujarat-based journalists for the area sought to be sold as an ideal special investment region (SIR) for industrialists, well-known farmers' activist Sagar Rabari has wondered why no investor has so far agreed to put in money in an area situated in Ahmedabad district along the Gulf of Khambhat.

Congress' anti-democratic laws led to Modi govt's 'Constitutional' changes: Scholars

Counterview Desk
A large number of academics* said to be belonging to several Indian and international institutions, even as taking strong exception to the Narendra Modi government's alleged move to amend the Constitution through "illegitimate" means, have taken strong exception to their colleagues in academia who we have become "all too accustomed to adopting a calculated silence in the face of such indignities."

Savarkar 'opposed' Bhagat Singh's, Netaji's dream of India, supported British war efforts

By Shamsul Islam*
In a shocking development, the student wing of the RSS put the busts of martyrs Bhagat Singh and Subhash Chandra Bose with Savarkar's on one pedestal at the University of Delhi late in the night on August 20, 2019. Bhagat Singh sacrificed his life for a socialist-democratic-secular republic and Netaji raised Azad Hind Fauj (INA) consisting of people of all religions and regions for armed liberation of India.

UN experts object to GoI move to 'reinforce' trend of prosecution, eviction of tribals

Counterview Desk
In a report sent to the Government of India, three United Nations (UN) special rapporteurs, expressing "concerns" over the failure to ensure "adequate" implementation of the India Forest Rights Act (FRA), have regretted that the Government of India has not cared to reply their previous communications on this.

Modi's Gujarati mind? Why govt move to 'sell-off' defence PSUs isn't in national interest

By Sandeep Pandey*
The Standing Committee on Defence, 2017-18, of the 16th Lok Sabha highlights the idea of Buy Indian-IDDM (Indigenously Designed Developed and Manufactured). The Committee expressed concern over the import content of equipments produced and developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Ordnance Factories (OFs) and defence Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) because of the dependence it creates for military hardware on foreign suppliers.

As submergence stares Narmada valley, Patkar says: With powerful in throne, we're helpless

Counterview Desk
Well-known anti-dam organization, Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA), plans to begin its “Resist Illegal Submergence in Narmada Valley” satyagraha on August 21 at Jantar Mantar, Delhi, amidst news that the situation in the valley is “critical”, with two persons having already died in flood-related incidents in the upstream of the Sardar Sarovar dam.

RTI Act holy cow for Govt of India? Official insists, don't ask why, when, what, where

By Pankti Jog*
The Government of India appears to have begun treating the Right to Information (RTI) Act as a holy cow. Its officials seem to believe that the Act is a sacred law, under which people shouldn't be questioning its functioning. One recalls what Prime Minister Narendra Modi said while addressing an RTI convention in 2015: “Why should government wait for people to ask information, we will have all information out in the domain, we have nothing to hide."

Can't go to court with RTI information, rule Ahmedabad authorities: Kankaria accident

By Pankti Jog*
In a shocking reply to an application filed by me, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) authorities have said that the information provided under the Right to Information (RT) Act should be used in court or in a judicial process. The Act is known to be a major tool that enables citizens to seek certified copies of documents, records from any public authority of state and Central government within 30 days, as per provisions of the Act.

Central Gujarat effluent channel 'releasing' highly polluted industrial wastewater: PM told

Counterview Desk
Senior environmentalists of the Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti (PSS), Vadodara, Rohit Prajapati and Krishnakant, in an open letter to the Prime Minister, the Gujarat chief minister, the Gujarat chief secretary, and senior Government of India and Gujarat government officials dealing with environment, pollution and climate change have said that the authorities’ response their pleas to take action against the leakages and flow of polluted wastewater from the effluent channels of Central Gujarat industrial areas has met with complete inertia.