What is a Model Village ?
Most of India’s population lives in villages. Villages in India will have somewhere between 50-200 households depending upon which state they are in. They are mostly in remote areas with issues of connectivity and telecommunication. A significant portion of the households will be dependent on agriculture or allied activities. The literacy is pretty low and the health indicators are bad. Inspite of all this shortcomings, the villages are rich in natural resources. They are closer to the idea of raw nature. The idea of Sustainability is actually sustainable here and not in cities which are mostly concretised. Therefore, it is important that we do not miss this opportunity. With villages, we have got a landscape which can be moulded either way. By Transforming them into model villages, we can ensure that we have chosen the right mould.
A Model Village is a village which is Energy surplus, has abundant water, has a community reserve forest, where every household has a livelihood source and where the residents are healthy & educated.
Components of Model Village
- Abundant Water – There is no life possibility without water. For any habitation, it becomes the first priority to have a stable and sustainable source of water. The village must have a stable water source and it must tap into all the possibilities like rainwater harvesting and watershed management to ensure this dimension. Water availability should also be ensured for all kinds of livelihood activities.
- Healthy Residents – The biggest health concern in the villages is the high rate of maternal and infant deaths. Most of the maternal deaths which occur in rural areas are due to home deliveries and improper diet of expecting women. This can be mostly eliminated by ensuring that they are monitored starting from the first trimester and that they go for Institutional delivery to the nearest health facility. In rare cases where the expecting women cannot travel to the nearest health centre, the home delivery must be assisted by a Skilled Birth Attendant (SBA). The infant deaths can also be significantly reduced by ensuring proper diet and nutrition.
- Basic Minimum Education – Education is the foundation for any kind of growth. Without the basic minimum education, any step forward will not be feasible. It must be ensured that all residents are literate and that all children at least clear Standard 8. Awareness of rights, duties and schemes should also be ensured.
- Energy surplus – In this age, energy availability is a key component and a pre-requisite for any kind of sustainable development. It should be preferable to have renewable source of energy for the entire village. Solar or Hydro-electric potential should be utilised to ensure that enough energy is generated to power the houses and the community institutions in the village. Solar power can also be used to power the street lights. Efforts should be made to make the village off-the-grid. Energy should also be available for any kind of livelihood activities being undertaken by the residents.
- Livelihood – Every household of the village should have a livelihood source. Without a stable income, proper education, health and nutrition cannot sustain. Moreover, it makes the household more independent and eventually the village will become self-sufficient in all regards.
- Connectivity – In this age of information, digital and cellular connectivity is important. They play an important role in health and education. Intra-village connectivity must be ensured for smooth day-to-day transactions. Road connectivity to nearest health facility and market is crucial too.
- Sustainability – We need to ensure that the balance with nature is maintained in the community. And therefore efforts should be made to make the community carbon neutral. Every village must have a community reserve forest wherein the land is donated by the community for the purpose of having a forest reserve which will be looked after by the community. This will inculcate a sense of responsibility and sensitise people with the idea of sustainable living. This will offset the carbon footprint of the village and offer a possibility of conceptualising a SDG compliant eco-system. The waste generated in the village should also be recycled there itself.
How can you help?
Contribute in any way possible to help us to make such Model Villages. We are starting with a pilot project in Daribokgre village of East Garo Hills, Meghalaya. You can volunteer in any field, help us to renovate the school or anganwadi, train the villagers in skills, make them aware about their rights and government schemes etc. The possibilities are endless. Basically anything to help us make it into a Model Village. Let the work begin!
You can reach out to us through email at firstname.lastname@example.org