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Pani - Empowering women

Create a sustainable way to empower women while providing them an easy access to water

Photo of Raghava Manvitha Reddy Ponnapati
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The group that is most affected by water scarcity in India are Women. Most of them have to walk 2-3 kms to get access to drinking water. In order to collect enough water for their household they have to make an average of 6 such trips a day.That's valuable time that they could use to educate and empower themselves. In addition, this process is grueling and creates severe long term health hazards for these women at an early age. 

Wello create  the water wheel which is a creative and innovative way to ease the burden of carrying water for these women. But, wello wheel costs about $50 which is more than Rs 3000. So it is quite expensive and most of these households cannot afford it. 

Our idea is to build a system that's similar to the wello wheel so that every household can afford to have one. This system would be cheaper and would also generate electricity to charge batteries which women can later sell to a company or use for lights in the village. 

How would you describe the stage of development of your idea?

  • Conceptual Development

How big or scalable is the potential of your idea?

We are still in the conceptual stage of our idea. We know that wello has attracted and generated interest among millions of users. And it has greatly improved the lives of many. We plan on targeting the same market for our idea.

Explain the sustainability aspect of your idea

Our system will generate electricity and revenue while providing women with a system that allows them to transfer water more easily and safely. The product would pay for itself and more.

What types of financing would be required for your idea to be successful?

We would require initial funding to develop and test a prototype which is cheap and simple to use. We would require an initial fund of $1000 to test design and materials.

In-country experience

  • Yes, for two or more years

Is your organization currently legally registered in India?

  • No

What states or districts will you target/are you targeting within India?

We would target all the rural population that don't have a water source within 2-3 km. We will start out with the states of Bihar, Rajasthan and Gujarat initially.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I am a native of India. I was born and brought up in the state of Andhra. As a child I remember watching my aunts do the difficult task of using a hand pump or going to an open well to pull up water in buckets or pots. And after this they had to carry it home. I am an adult now and I would like to see women using their time being empowered and educated rather than collecting water all day long. We are part of Cornell University's Design thinking we are passionate and empathetic towards women whose daily lives are consumed by getting enough water to sustain their household. We believe that they can spend this time on educating themselves, empowering themselves, helping their communities and thereby live more fulfilling lives.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Emily Lozano

I love the idea of a more affordable and comfortable way to transport water. One thing I've been cautioned about by an Indian friend is not to take away the women's opportunity to leave the house (although cutting the travel time was ok.)

The reason was this: while the women are in the home they are being tugged at constantly by children and husbands with demands on their time. Time saved  by bringing water closer (or in-house) would likely not be spent as uninterrupted study time. It will most likely be spent tending to the needs of others.

One idea might be to make the water destination serve two purposes - 1. to get water and 2. to be educated in some way. Fetching water may be the women's only time to be with themselves or their own thoughts.

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