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

Vaccine nationalism? Covaxin isn't safe either, perhaps it's worse: Experts

By Rajiv Shah  I was a little awestruck: The news had already spread that Astrazeneca – whose Indian variant Covishield was delivered to nearly 80% of Indian vaccine recipients during the Covid-19 era – has been withdrawn by the manufacturers following the admission by its UK pharma giant that its Covid-19 vector-based vaccine in “rare” instances cause TTS, or “thrombocytopenia thrombosis syndrome”, which lead to the blood to clump and form clots. The vaccine reportedly led to at least 81 deaths in the UK.

'Scientifically flawed': 22 examples of the failure of vaccine passports

By Vratesh Srivastava*   Vaccine passports were introduced in late 2021 in a number of places across the world, with the primary objective of curtailing community spread and inducing "vaccine hesitant" people to get vaccinated, ostensibly to ensure herd immunity. The case for vaccine passports was scientifically flawed and ethically questionable.

'Misleading' ads: Are our celebrities and public figures acting responsibly?

By Deepika* It is imperative for celebrities and public figures to act responsibly while endorsing a consumer product, the Supreme Court said as it recently clamped down on misleading advertisements.

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Magnetic, stunning, Protima Bedi 'exposed' malice of sexual repression in society

By Harsh Thakor*  Protima Bedi was born to a baniya businessman and a Bengali mother as Protima Gupta in Delhi in 1949. Her father was a small-time trader, who was thrown out of his family for marrying a dark Bengali women. The theme of her early life was to rebel against traditional bondage. It was extraordinary how Protima underwent a metamorphosis from a conventional convent-educated girl into a freak. On October 12th was her 75th birthday; earlier this year, on August 18th it was her 25th death anniversary.

Mired in controversy, India's polio jab programme 'led to suffering, misery'

By Vratesh Srivastava*  Following the 1988 World Health Assembly declaration to eradicate polio by the year 2000, to which India was a signatory, India ran intensive pulse polio immunization campaigns since 1995. After 19 years, in 2014, polio was declared officially eradicated in India. India was formally acknowledged by WHO as being free of polio.

In defence of Sam Pitroda: Is calling someone look like African, black racist?

By Rajiv Shah  Sam Pitroda, known as the father of Indian telecom revolution, has been in the midst of a major controversy for a remark on how Indians across the regions look different. While one can understand Prime Minister Narendra Modi taking it up for his electoral gain, suggesting it showed the racist Congress mindset, what was unpalatable to me was Congress leaders – particularly Jairam Ramesh, known for his deep intellectual understand – distancing themselves from what Pitroda had said.

Palm oil industry 'deceptively using' geenwashing to market products

By Athena*  Corporate hypocrisy is a masterclass in manipulation that mostly remains undetected by consumers and citizens. Companies often boast about their environmental and social responsibilities. Yet their actions betray these promises, creating a chasm between their public image and the grim on-the-ground reality. This duplicity and severely erodes public trust and undermines the strong foundations of our society.

'Fake encounter': 12 Adivasis killed being dubbed Maoists, says FACAM

Counterview Desk   The civil rights network* Forum Against Corporatization and Militarization (FACAM), even as condemn what it has called "fake encounter" of 12 Adivasi villagers in Gangaloor, has taken strong exception to they being presented by the authorities as Maoists.

No compensation to family, reluctance to file FIR: Manual scavengers' death

By Arun Khote, Sanjeev Kumar*  Recently, there have been four instances of horrifying deaths of sewer/septic tank workers in Uttar Pradesh. On 2 May, 2024, Shobran Yadav, 56, and his son Sushil Yadav, 28, died from suffocation while cleaning a sewer line in Lucknow’s Wazirganj area. In another incident on 3 May 2024, two workers Nooni Mandal, 36 and Kokan Mandal aka Tapan Mandal, 40 were killed while cleaning the septic tank in a house in Noida, Sector 26. The two workers were residents of Malda district of West Bengal and lived in the slum area of Noida Sector 9.