The waterbowls given to volunteers by WBP are a little heavy, so they do not get stolen
Thanks to the efforts of the Water Bowl Project (WBP) in Bangalore, 300 plus bowls around the city cater to over 1000 dogs, cats and birds! “We have heard stories about how birds have returned to neighbourhoods and how children plan their day around filling water bowls,” shares Sanjana Govindan Jayadev who leads the WBP team, which aims to engage the entire community towards the cause of stray animals. All WBP asks you to do is: fill one bowl of water daily for birds and animals in the vicinity.
The Project is not just for animal lovers; it calls out to every human being to harmonise with their environment and with all other beings in it. The WBP team provides volunteers with water bowls and guides them on how to use them to the best advantage. Dozens of communities in Bangalore have become part of the campaign and are responsibly working towards improving the lives of stray animals. Sanjana shares more on the project!
HUFT: Tell us a little about yourself.
Sanjana: If you run into me at an event, I am the person in the corner playing with the stray dogs and passing them leftovers from everyone else. I have always loved animals and have a deep respect and understanding for all life. I am mom to a four-year old animal lover who spends her time deciphering relationships between ants in our home! I work for a non profit and am a passionate developmentalist.
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HUFT: How did you implement the project?
Sanjana: Once I found a supplier for the bowls and identified people who I know who are interested in running this project, the WBP began. I crowdfunded this project through Wishberry. Here’s my pitch video!
HUFT: What are the challenges you face?
Sanjana: A lot of people and organizations have started to do this on a large scale. I took the decision to deliberately expand and scale slowly. I felt that the idea was not just about putting a bowl out but also about maintaining in, building lasting relationships with urban strays in the area and changing perceptions of local community members. Unfortunately, because a large number of bowls were abandoned and ill maintained the idea has gotten diluted.The challenge is really to identif people who are passionate about animals and want to support local stray populations. I have developed a questionnaire and a mini phone interview to gauge the people who approach me.
Sanjana: The water bowl is merely a tool to engage the community and urban strays in a meaningful way. We all connect best at our most primal level – water has that power . It is my hope that using the water bowl we will be able to conduct mass sterilizations and vaccinations of urban strays. My goal is also that urban strays move to being community owned dogs where ownership and accountability are taken up by each locality for their dogs. Finally, for me this is really a kindness project. You don’t need to be an animal lover, young or old – you just need to tap into that deepest human part of you and help another being.
HUFT: What is your advice for people who want to help out?
Sanjana: You can do this outside your home, on your terrace in your office cafeteria etc. With crowding urban spaces we need to find a way to share our resources and live together. Remember to use a heavy bowl (since they are often stolen) , get your community involved and be consistent and committed.
Don’t be disheartened by people who want to criticise you (they are not the majority) . Most people will surprise you with their kindness.