Wednesday, June 6, 2018

BRIDGESTONE India and UNICEF India join hands for ‘Drops of Hope’ - A Project on Water Conservation and Drinking Water Security

Project to be initiated in the districts of Pune, Latur and Osmanabad in Maharashtra, India

MUMBAI, India (Jun 5, 2018) – Bridgestone India Pvt. Ltd, a group company of Bridgestone Corporation joined hands with The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) of India for ‘Drops of Hope’ -a Project on Water Conservation and Drinking Water Security. The partnership has been formed in collaboration with the Government of Maharashtra, Department of Water and Sanitation. The first phase of the project will be implemented in districts of Pune, Latur and Osmanabad in Maharashtra India.

Bridgestone India is contributing a sum of 3.9 Cr. INR to the project over a period of three years. The focus of the project is to develop robust drinking water security and safety plans which also involves a baseline survey to understand the existing situation as well as assess the future impact.

Maharashtra state has the highest drought prone blocks due to hard rock areas and shallow aquifers. Only half of rural households in Maharashtra have access to tap water of which only 63% is treated. Nearly 20% of rural household still depend on distant & unprotected sources for their domestic water supplies and nearly 1/6th of rural population depend on public hand pumps. Per capita water supply in state has huge disparities that can range from 21 ~129 liters per capita per day (lpcpd). (National Vision is minimum 70 lpcpd by 2020)This Project is planned with an objective of strengthening village level committees to find local solutions to Safety and Security Planning for Drinking Water throughout the year.

Bridgestone India will provide support to UNICEF in undertaking training and skill development of community members and key officials at the village, block and district level to build water supply structures and ensure their proper maintenance. Another key facet of this program is the use of innovative communication processes and tools to support positive behaviors towards water usage and management.

The foundation of this project is to work closely with the Government of Maharashtra to identify and leverage key resources for enhancing investments in infrastructure.

This partnership involves deployment of models that aim to create a mechanism to ensure drinking water security. Communities will be encouraged to access available funds set aside for village development which also encompasses water security.

Speaking about the partnership, Mr. Yoshikazu Shida, Member of the Board, CEO and COO, Bridgestone Asia Pacific Pte. Ltd said, “Bridgestone Corporation has always believed in contributing to their social surroundings and this belief is reflected through our mission of ‘Serving Society with Superior Quality’. This mission is also a guiding light for Bridgestone’s CSR commitment ‘Our Way to Serve’. The three key priority areas of this commitment are ‘Mobility’, ‘People’, and ‘Environment’. Bridgestone’s partnership with UNICEF is a solidified commitment towards ‘People’ and ‘Environment’. This project in India is aligned with Bridgestone’s global CSR direction, and we will be associating with various partners and causes to provide relevant sustainable solutions.”

Mr. Parag Satpute, Managing Director, Bridgestone India Pvt. Ltd added, “We are glad to be associated with a prestigious organization such as UNICEF over the cause of water conservation. The state of Maharashtra has one of the highest drought prone blocks and being operational in the state, we feel responsible to aid the people especially our future generations. Water is one of the primary resources needed for the basic survival and being deprived of it has certainly periled the lives of many. Partnering with UNICEF will help us channelize our resources in an organized manner to provide sustainable solutions. We are also thankful to the Department of Water Supply and Sanitation, Government of Maharashtra, in providing their support to the cause.”   

Dr. Yasmin Ali Haque, Representative, UNICEF India, mentioned, “The scarcity of water is no longer a myth. We are seeing that around the world and we know when resources go scarce, children and women are especially more vulnerable. We are very happy that Bridgestone is supporting us to be able to demonstrate how communities can be empowered to help manage this situation. Since Maharashtra is a state where the Groundwater Act is enacted, it is most appropriate to support the demonstration to address the drinking water safety and security here. By implementing this programme in partnership with Water Supply and Sanitation Department, Government of Maharashtra we are hoping to find sustainable and scalable solutions to the drinking water scarcity problem in the state which can hopefully be further replicated across the country”.

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