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The transformation of a community – from sickness to health

Tyda is a small tribal hamlet located 90 kilometres from Vishakapatnam in the Anantagiri Mandal of the Vishakapatnam District which is home to approximately 18 households who migrated from Gunna

Mamidi village following the devastating Hudhud cyclone attack. They built huts out of bamboo, wood and mud. The community lacked necessities such as electricity, roads, sanitation and drinking water. Even though the hamlet was designated as a village in 2014, no outside support was coming forth.

A community-based social worker approached the India Living Water team in 2015. The results of the team's initial survey revealed the community's extreme hardships. The only source of water for their entire household was a small spring on the top of a hill several kilometres away. Unfortunately, the spring was contaminated, and the people struggled with waterborne diseases constantly. Children were the most affected, malnourishment was widespread, and living conditions were deplorable.

The India Living Water team realized that the most important challenge was to change the mind-set of the community. Accepting the challenge, they started with finding a solution to their water problems. A bore well was drilled.

• The access to clean water so close to the community was a source of relief and happiness to all of them, especially the women and the kids who were relieved of the water-carrying responsibilities. • The health of everyone in the community improved dramatically. • The children started attending school as they now had more time on their hands. • The next step was to improve their living conditions. We pledged to make the community an Open Defecation Free village. • The team, along with local health workers, conducted Health & Sanitation classes. • A Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) program was promoted, focusing on behavioural change in the community.

• People were motivated to practise safe sanitation and install taps in their homes for handwashing. • Six community toilets and two toilets in the Anganwadi school were built with 24-hour access to water. • These interventions transformed the community and brought a significant behavioural change in them. • Improved Sanitation and Hygiene practices. • Reduction in Waterborne diseases. • Healthier and more active children. • Enhancement in the safety and dignity of women. • An Open Defecation Free community (ODF).

The community of Tyda has come a long way from living in deplorable and unhealthy conditions to being declared Open Defecation Free. The India Living Water team is honoured to be associated with these change agents.

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