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Lonand India
I’m a member of Grampari’s School Handwashing Team and I decided to help build one at my sister’s home. She lives in a large village, actually almost a town but in the summer, there are a lot of water shortages. She has sink with piped water supply but doesn’t use it much in the summer. Her kids don’t wash their hands much so I was excited to build one and teach my nephew and niece how to build one and how to wash their hands properly. Their friends also came over and then brought their parents over so it ended up being a mini workshop!

Deepak Jadhav – dpk.jadhav@gmail.com

 

This piece is written by Andrew Hinton, the film maker who created “It’s in Your Hands”, the tippy tap film about his trip to NYC.

I was thrilled when “It’s In Your Hands” was selected to participate in the Media That Matters festival in New York. Not just because there was a little prize money involved and it’s an excuse to visit one of my favourite cities in the world, but because the festival is now in its 11th year and provides an amazing platform for important social issues.

The films chosen make up a touring program that travels the US and beyond, screening in classrooms, cinemas, community centres, and lots of other places beginning with ‘c’. And there’s nothing a filmmaker likes more than getting the work seen, particularly with a piece like this which is all about spreading an idea and raising some awareness.

The festival took place at the end of October over three days which included a chance to meet the other filmmakers and the Arts Engine staff who run the festival at brunch, a swanky launch party at HBO where all the filmmakers introduced their work (and our Tippy Tap film had its ever first outing on a big screen), a day of panels and filmmaker interviews, and a premiere in the School of Visual Arts cinema.

At the premiere the screen was HUGE and the projection was super crisp – the film looked amazing, provoking a moment of wonder at how this tiny thing that Jared and Sowmya and I put together in a couple of days in India in February had travelled all the way from Panchgani to New York City and become 50 feet high in the process.

Another special moment was the appearance in the cinema lobby of an original and much admired MTM Tippy Tap, which had been built by the father of one of the organising team. A bang up job he did too, Sowmya would’ve been proud.

The films are a broad mixture of styles and subjects, some made by recent filmmakers, others by more established teams. A couple really stood out for me: The Leaves Keep Falling and Sick Wid It  but they’re all definitely worth a watch and together create a powerful tool for discussion and action.

MTM have a tradition of asking filmmakers to accept their awards with a haiku (a Japanese poem of 17 syllables), so after the screening we all made our way to the stage. Our film won the Jury Award, so I went last. Never having read any kind of verse in public before gave rise to no small amount of apprehension. Before I left London I had contacted the vastly talented poet Lemn Sissay to see whether he could pen something worthy of the occasion, and he rose to the challenge in exemplary fashion. Armed with Lemn’s haikus (one of which required singing,) I arrived in NYC feeling confident the night would be ours. However, I hadn’t reckoned on the meltdown of my laptop on the day of the screening. Its immediate admission to the Apple store for surgery meant that his wonderful pieces were gone. Instead I had to hurriedly come up with something of my own, which went something like this:

ideas find us
Many unseen hands brought
this to being

which isn’t quite right in syllable count so here are Lemn’s, thankfully rescued by an old watchmaker in a dusty back room of Apple HQ

Hands. Water and Action
Digital digits.
Pixels flow like water flows
Educate edit
 
Equal Waters
This giver of life
Falls through fronds of open palms
Drip drip drop drop die
 
Give Pure water
We are water
Our one whole  body is  amassed
Here leastly this is yours
 
Protest
These hands reach to sky
I am not calling for rain
They are cupped vessels.
 
Fifty Percent
How can I do the
Things I wanna do when fi-
-fty percent of me is you

(all by Lemn Sissay)

As Lemn advises in his mail: “My favourite is fifty percent. But you’ve actually got to sing that one.  With referrence to fifty percent water makes up about fifty percent of our body weight.  (75 percent in a baby)..”

Perhaps it was a good thing that the audience were spared the chance to hear me sing. Instead we all retired to a nearby bar for some post award schmoozing.

It was great to meet a whole bunch of people over the course of the festival, but especially Cara Shih a graphic designer based in NY who had come across the film when it won the youtube competition and got in touch with Sowmya and offered to do some work on Tippy Tap logos. Meeting her kind of brought something full circle: work connects with people who get inspired to create more work and go on to connect in real life. It doesn’t get much better than that.

Massive thanks to Lemn for stepping up, to Arts Engine for putting on a great festival, and to the Tippy Tap team for all-round amazingness. What a trip!

 

Anna Hazare, an Indian social activist first recognized for the transformation of his village (Ralegaon Siddhi) using watershed management, is in the news! He started a fast unto death to pressure the Indian government to pass a tough anti corruption bill especially geared to stop corruption in public offices. The fast led to rallies and protests supporting the passage of the bill across the country. Hazare broke his fast today – just after the Government of India agreed to his demands and the passage of the bill. To celebrate, here is a picture of Anna Hazare washing his hands using a tippy tap!

The picture is from January 2010 at Ralegaon Siddhi. We built a tippy tap for our personal use near the latrines. When he saw the tippy tap, he called it “crazy”. He then followed up by saying “The world needs more of this kind of crazy.” Our thoughts exactly.

 

I’ve been online for the last hour trying to find inspiration to write this post which is a day late as it is. Since we work in watsan, it seems like it shouldn’t that hard to write about something that we eat, sleep and breathe (and drink and hand wash with). But I struggle sometimes with this notion of World Water Day.

I love the idea of millions around the world tweeting, texting, facebooking, posting, youtubing, Digging, stumble-uponning, gum-chewing, nose-picking, hair-scratching and generally just bad-grammaring about World Water Day. There’s something beautiful about the idea of solidarity, I suppose when someone with running water 24 hours a day thinks about someone who doesn’t have water. But I can’t shake my sadness that we need a day for this at all. World Water Day, really? It’s like having a day for air or something else that we all need – how ridiculous. Of course, when I did look this up, it turns out that there is a Clean Air Day, a Spare the Air Day and a Clean Indoor Air Day (aka No Tobacco Day). There goes that point.

In an effort to clear my head, I decided to sort through thousand or so pictures on our camera…and stumbled upon these:

Main village canal where villagers bathe and wash their clothes and dishes.

School hand pump

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The pictures are from various water and sanitation projects we have worked on. The ones above are from a Bengali refugee camp called RH3 in Karnataka, India. The picture on the right is from Deou in northern Burkina Faso in West Africa.

Kids pulling up turbid water from hand dug well

I feel a little sheepish that I spent time surfing the virtual world for this post when I clearly needed to be targeting my focus on the realities on the ground. The reason this day strikes me as odd is because it’s Water Day EVERY DAY for many in the world. The women and children in Deou spend up to 24 hours in a relay race of sorts to provide 2 jerry cans of water of dubious quality for their family every day. My kids (as I refer to the dozens of children who adopted me during my work in RH3) literally consume shit in their drinking water. And I really don’t have to go as far as this to see dramatic water struggles. Almost every single villager we work with here lists water as their first and foremost problem.

I’ve been behind a computer for 18 hours a day for 3 weeks now. It is not a typical schedule for us, but it turns out that you need to do this if you’re trying to create a website from scratch with no web design background. While we’re excited about the win of the video and the launch of tippytap.org, it’s important to keep what’s important close to us. Our challenge lies in linking the splash of the video win and all these virtual victories to an actual improvement for the communities that we serve. Wish us luck.

And for those of you that are interested (and read this far), Canada celebrates National Clean Air Day on June 8th.

 

 

 

We won!  Our tippy tap video entitled “It’s in Your Hands” is one of 4 winners in youtube’s do-gooder nonprofit contest.  And that’s out of 1350 videos.

It’s funny how life works out.  Andrew Hinton is based in the UK.  We work in Panchgani.  Andrew had never heard of tippy taps.  And we had never heard of Andrew.  An ‘Initiatives of Change’ video assignment brought him to Asia Plateau in Panchgani where he stumbled across our Grampari tippy tap here during a stroll after tea.  And thus, the tippy tap video was born.

Another happy coincidence (aka watching the sloth video) meant that we ran across the youtube video contest.  “This will be fun,” we thought, “but we won’t actually win”.  That didn’t stop us from relentlessly spamming our friends though.  And then we won (and have managed to retain most of our friendships too….)

Which brings us to this website.   We believe in tippy taps.  More than the technology though, we believe in the kind of thinking that recognizes tippy taps, a really small and simple thing, could be the solution to a really big problem.   3.5 million children dying every year –could you ask for a bigger problem?  And hand washing with soap – could you think of a simpler solution?  It’s literally in your hands.

Clichés aside though, promotion of this life saving practice is not as easy as you might think.  Behavior change in general is a tricky business.  People don’t wash their hands for a variety of reasons.  Which means that you first have to identify what these reasons are.  And then overcome these barriers with a variety of tools.  We’ve created this website as  a forum for all things tippy tap and hand washing and as a resource to improve public health through the promotion of hand washing with soap.  Basically, what we wish we had when started out on this journey.  So come join us.  Send us your pictures, stories, designs, puns, limericks etc.  It’s in your hands now….