Global Recognition, for my friend
I see it…the headline grabs me – just do it…why not – the International Water Association – seemingly one of the biggest organisations in the world, supporting all aspects of sustainable water management and recognising excellence, are calling for nominations to award leadership and innovation in the water sector. And no you don’t have to be a member to nominate someone doing good work.
So again – why not – I fill the form – tell it how it is…how my friend and colleague – Sikandar Meeranaik – is doing great work with the farmers in India; how he learned by trial and error to bring a water supply back to even a fully dried up bore well; how he has kept his eyes on bringing water to the farmers of India – his friends, his family, his village…right from when he was a young man. He is a still a young man – but one with a vision that is wider than almost anyone can imagine. He grew up in a small village called Kotumachagi – his father, a farmer – this is his house – this is his father – and this is his brother’s young son.
It’s not a fancy place, but it is a good place. His parents are hard-working as they go to the fields every day. They are good role models for Sikandar; people of the land; people who understand. They are generous people, listen to the land, appreciate the weather, and are kind to those around them. At festival time they feed those who come to their door: the landless, the poor people of the village. And they even feed me, the foreigner who comes to support their son. They welcome me into their house and take care of me and make sure I am comfortable…so far from the place of my usual comfort zone.
But back to Sikandar and to our news of today. My nomination was read and considered by the board of judges that thought carefully on his story. They examined the evidence they could see and they decided that here was someone worthwhile. They recognised his work. They recognised the value in this man’s spirit and passion for the support of the common man in India…the small farmer: the one who is struggling, striving to support his family and those around him in the community; the one who each day looks to the sky and does not know really where the next drops of rain will fall. For it is this farmer – this man or woman of the land who is supported daily by the work of Sikandar – helping them to save the precious rain water that falls on their land.
And yesterday Sikandar received a call. From Kalanithy Vairavamoorthy, PhD – the CEO of IWA in the Netherlands…who was calling to tell Sikandar he had been chosen for the International Water Association Water and Development Practice Award!!! Inviting him to attend the IWA Water and Development Congress & Exhibition in Sri Lanka to receive his award in early December!
I stand by Sikandar Meeranaik and his work with the Sankalpa Rural Development Society. To date he has assisted over 1600 farmers to have sustainable water supply on their land through a simple method of rain water harvesting, channeling the monsoonal rains into their existing low producing or dried up bore wells. And now the IWA is also recognising this valuable work. And through this recognition the work can spread farther – perhaps even beyond the borders of India to other countries so direly in need of water… that water that will otherwise simply run off and take precious topsoil with it – that with Sikandar’s simple recharge structure can be arrested in its flow and directed underground to raise the levels of the ground water again and be recycled to grow our food in the coming seasons.
“So…there you go…this is simply a heads up to you all – when an opportunity comes by even if you think it an impossibility – how important is it to follow that rainbow – to do it anyway – to just go for it even when you think it is so far out of reach as to be considered impossible…the indicators are there – who are you to judge whether or not something is worth your while?”