Getting potable water for her family for Mangi Devi of Tilonia village is Rajasthan has not been an easy job. She has had to walk several kilometres with a 20-metre long thick rope to collect a few pots and buckets of water from the well. Some wells may not have drinking water left because they were not hygienic. They may have become the dumping ground for animal carcasses or daily garbage.

And this was just one of the many problems of the villagers from this drought-affected region. The water had dried up –there was no water for drinking, farming, cattle or anything else. The village had to rely on tankers which kept them waiting for hours. That was when Tilonia Shodh Evam Vikas Sansthan (TSVS), an NGO based out of Tilonia, Ajmer district, was entrusted to develop the traditional local water resources in the village.

The Coca-Cola India Foundation, ‘Anandana’ joined hands with TSVS for the construction of three big water structures to conserve rain waterunder ‘Project Neerjal.’ The initiative has managed to create a storage capacity of approximately 5.9 billion litres of water; it has revitalised 200 hand pumps and 310 village wells.

Nearly 50,000 villagers benefitted from the construction.

There is enough water to satisfy the needs of villagers like Mangi Devi now. Not only have they learnt the importance of water conservation but are also implementing it at a smaller scale in their own houses and fields. There is a newfound awareness amongst these villagers.

With the basics taken care of, they can now empower themselves and find new means of livelihood with the training they are receiving.

Today, there is more equality -between genders as well as castes. Women are coming out and voicing their opinions and becoming a part of the decision making process. After all, a few years ago, who would’ve thought someone like Mangi Devi would teach computer skills to children in the village!