Water & sanitation

India can be productive if and only if it is healthy. Good quality water being an essential unit to sustain life should be provided to all. However, this is not always the case.

Due to poor quality of water and presence of chemical/ bacteriological contamination, many water borne diseases are spread, which cause untold misery, and in several cases even death, thereby adversely affecting the socio-economic progress of a developing country like India. According to an estimate by WaterAid, it can be noted that these diseases affect the health and education of children. Furthermore, it is estimated that around 37.7 million Indians are affected by waterborne diseases annually, 1.5 million children are estimated to die of diarrhoea alone and 73 million working days are lost due to waterborne disease each year. The resulting economic burden is estimated at $600 million a year.

Water-related diseases put an economic burden on both the household and the nation’s economy. At household levels, the economic loss includes cost of medical treatment and wage loss during sickness. Loss of working days affects national productivity. Given the diverse nature of our of the country, solutions have to be diverse, and given the quantum of biological and chemical contamination in water in rural India, an all out effort is required by various partner organisations to solve this gigantic problem which will improve the overall health and thereby the productivity of the Nation. The active use of CSR initiatives by innovative execution of CSR implementation partners is a sustainable way to move forward in the contemporary Indian scenario.

Clearly, drinking water is too fundamental and serious an issue to be left to one institution alone. It needs the combined initiative and action of all. Safe drinking water can be assured, provided we set our mind to address it. This can be done by making CSR related to water resources an integral part of the company’s core business, and not just an activity at the periphery.

There is little doubt that water is a basic necessity for the survival of humans. There is interplay of various factors that govern access and utilisation of water resources and in light of the increasing demand for water it becomes important to look for holistic and people-centred approaches for water management. The Magic 7 CSR Summit gives us a platform to do exactly that.

Furthermore, of the 1.1 billion people in the world who defecate in the open, 59% live in India. The World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) estimate that there are more than 620 million people practicing open defecation in India, or nearly half the population of India. Consequently, poor sanitation, water and hygiene can have serious repercussions on healthcare, education and the economy.

In order to address this critical situation and make sanitation a national priority, the Indian Government launched the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) with an ambitious goal to end open defecation in India by 2019. The CSR initiatives of corporates are needed to help the government to achieve its objectives of SBM and to make sure that our economy isn’t affected by the lack of access to proper sanitation facilities to the large section of the Indian population.

The Swachh Bharat Mission has catalyzed the conversation around sanitation, right from the streets to the boardrooms of corporate India. However, despite substantial support from the corporate sector the road ahead remains challenging. We need to recognize and understand that tackling this issue is as much about changing ingrained behavior and social norms as it is about infrastructure. To fill in this void and move forward in the direction of progressive change we need to bring together the key players in the sanitation ecosystem and drive collective efforts in ending open defecation in India. The Magic 7 CSR Summit 2017 aims to achieve exactly that with its insightful panel discussion on sanitation along with its unique networking opportunities that will help you get your project implemented by a myriad of implementation partners present there.

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