With so much in the news about climate change, it is interesting to know how it is affecting the work of QSA and its project partners. A series of discussions and surveys among project participants in Cambodia, India and Uganda has revealed comments such as needing to dig deeper wells to reach good water supplies, changes to when the rains come, some seeds don’t germinate as well or crops are not as plentiful, new areas are suffering from malaria.

Our partners in Tamil Nadu, South India have been discussing climate change issues with school children as part of a ‘Young Scientist’ program.

These students from Kottikuppam Primary School in Tamil Nadu gave a presentation to younger school students and some adult guests on chemical elements and the periodic table, vitamins and mineral content of everyday food, herbal plants, solar technology, and significant scientists and their inventions. All of this was done via small plays, puppetry, verbal presentations and song, with some scientific experiments to demonstrate various points.

A drawing competition was held after a series of lessons about solar energy, asking the students to draw their ideas of how it could best be used. (See drawings above.)

A year-long program funded by the Australian Government’s Agency for International Development (AusAID) in Tamil Nadu with support from QSA has been looking into alternative power and water sources in a rural community. The program, located in Devikulam Village, close to Nadukuppam, included the development of a rural design centre, with demonstrated environmentally sustainable methods of addressing water and power supply, and new building designs and materials, all suited to a village setting.

A range of educational meetings and workshops have been held for widespread dissemination of these ideas. Also provided for the community have been a range of solar panels, torches and street lights; repair to the whole water system with every tap and pipe tested and repaired when necessary; and provision of a number of toilets and bathrooms to improve sanitation and hygiene standards.

For some families this has meant they have water coming out of a tap close to their home for the first time in six years, even though the plumbing had been there all of the time, but water leaks and blockages to some pipes meant that the water never reached their home — something we take for granted here.


Illustrations: Use of solar power to operate pump for irrigation of rice, by K. Divya, 13 years (above left); Solar power hooked to a bullock cart so that people can see at night, by G. Kamesh, 10 years (above right).

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