2019 - 2020


We are driven by our commitment to equity and dignity for all.

We are driven by our commitment to equity and dignity for all.

Gram Vikas has taken several steps during the past year to address challenges that confronted the nation, Odisha and the whole world at large. COVID-19 has dealt a severe economic and long term blow to many, but, especially the poor, who are most affected by it. Migrant workers became unwanted in their work place and unclaimed in their native land. I am glad that Gram Vikas could intervene in this situation and come to the aid of some of those who were affected. Gram Vikas has been able to replicate its model of sanitation and water rather successfully. We, however, have not been very successful in persuading other NGOs, let alone the government and its agencies, to replicate this model. Even today, drinking water and sanitation are seen as two separate entities. For the sake of health, hygiene and wellbeing, these have to come together. For this, there has to be certain hand holding necessary even after the project is handed over to the people. This will create the requisite pressure to be just and equitable - the mission of Gram Vikas.

Joe Madiath


2019-20, was the first year of the ‘Gram Vikas Decade V’ approach. While rolling it out, we were able to bring closure to many of the programmatic experiments taken up during the previous two years, and transform them into full-fledged programmes. Sectoral stewardship role is one that we take very seriously. We are proud that Gram Vikas was one of the two civil society organisations represented in Government of India’s 14 member task force to review the rural water supply sector and recommend ways to strengthen the implementation of Jal Jeevan Mission. On another note, as I look back at the year we are reporting on, our achievements were foreshadowed by the concerns of the coronavirus pandemic looming on the horizon. Partnerships with various organisations have been a key element of the successes we achieved during the year.

Liby T Johnson

Executive Director

Read the messages from the Chairman & Executive Director

In our 41st year, we started a long-term natural resource rehabilitation initiative, focused on building the community capabilities to revive and manage water resources, in villages severely affected by cyclones. We deepened our work in water source sustainability and water quality management while expanding our work in community managed piped water supply, focused on strengthening sanitation and hygiene behaviour change, and experimented with different initiatives to improve farm and non-farm livelihoods. A successful multi-stakeholder effort resulted in providing access to renewable energy impacting livelihoods, education and health outcomes for tribal communities. We continued to support Gram Vikas residential schools in academics and extracurricular activities. We deepened our efforts on building the technical and administrative capacities of village institutions and finding innovative ways to ensure their long term sustainability.

We reached 27,734 households in 554 villages through our diverse areas of work in 2019-’20.

Our interventions are guided by our Movement and Action Network for Transformation of Rural Areas (MANTRA) approach. It initiates sustainable development processes in villages with water and sanitation as an entry point. Built around the core values of 100% inclusion of individuals and households in the village, MANTRA enables complete ownership and cost-sharing by the community, social and gender equality, and sustainability. This ensures that the benefits are shared equally among all irrespective of sex, caste, creed or economic status.


Technology adoption and strengthening community capacities lay the foundations for ensuring water source sustainability, access and quality

Our work on Water carries threefold aims: to ensure continuous availability of safe drinking water, an adequate flow of water for domestic and productive uses and sustainability of water resources. The Government of India’s Jal Jeevan Mission adopted Gram Vikas’ MANTRA principles for community involvement as the basic principles for ensuring 100% rural water supply. Realising the groundbreaking impact of new technologies, we piloted the use of Internet of Things for remote monitoring and tracking of the functionality of the piped water supply system. We built capacities of our partner village communities in water quality management and to protect, sustain and grow water aquifers for water source sustainability. We continued to ensure that local communities have a meaningful stake in the piped water supply programme.


2586 households in 42 villages received functional household tap connections

5727 households across 93 village in 12 districts have the plans ready for piped water supply

7826 households across 182 villages in seven districts initiate water quality management programme

7349 households, in 179 villages, test water quality 

44 villages initiate water source sustainability programme to benefit 2233 households  

408 Springs across 77 habitations and 28 watersheds mapped

Our MANTRA principles for community involvement – 100% inclusion, cost-sharing, equitable representation of all sections of communities in a village, ownership of operations and maintenance and, inbuilt financial and institutional sustainability – adopted as the basic principles of the Jal Jeevan Mission approach. 





Angul, Gajapati, Ganjam, Jharsuguda, Kalahandi, Kandhamal, Keonjhar, Khurda, Mayurbhanj, Rayagada, Sundergarh


Water impact stories from our partner villages 

Baria village community partners Gram Vikas to solve its water crisis

Ask any farmer in Baria to recall their mornings before the construction of TBRs in homes. Most of them will recount guarding their precious fields from the villagers using it for open defecation. However, in the neighbouring village, Biunria, just a kilometre away, every household had individual toilet and bathing rooms and functional, household piped water supply with 24×7 water being available through three taps. Inspired by what they saw in Biunria, the masons made an impassioned argument for Baria emulating the model. Read the full story on how the Baria village community partnered with Gram Vikas to solve its water crisis: http://bit.ly/3auCw1P

Building community capabilities for managing water quality 

On 07 February 2020, Gayatri Minz, a 35 year old woman, from Silam Bartoli village in Gumla district, delivered a presentation on water quality management at a national conference in New Delhi organised by the Ministry of Jal Shakti, Government of India. Speaking at the Gram Vikas session on ‘Water Quality Surveillance and Community Involvement’, Gayathri shared about village level cadres owning and ensuring safe water in their communities in Jharkhand. Read the story on how Gram Vikas’ work in water quality management enabled Silam Bartoli village to have access not just to water but safe drinking water throughout the year: http://bit.ly/3h6owMW

Protecting and harnessing natural springs as a sustainable water resource 

The Springs Initiative began in October 2019 by building capacities of local communities to provide the utmost care for the sustainability of water sources. It consolidates this narrative by creating awareness on the role of hydrogeology and balancing the supply-demand dynamics of spring water resources. These efforts are fortified by training village cadres to protect and develop springsheds and watersheds. Read more about the initiative: http://bit.ly/38sX74d


Access to skill based employment, improved farming practices and safe migration initiatives provide dignified livelihoods and secure incomes

Our work on Livelihoods ensures secure and sustainable income sources for rural communities, sustainability of land and forest resources, and enhances the quality of human resources. We launched a series of pilot interventions under the Safe Migration Programme founded on the belief that migration should be a secondary livelihood option, and a conscious and informed decision made for the upliftment of the person and her/his family. Farm-based livelihoods work promoted community-led convergence across watershed development, natural resource management, agriculture, horticulture and off-farm income-earning activities. In non-farm livelihoods, we continued to train men and women for skilled-based employment in the construction sector, reactivated self help groups of women and helped establish bank linkages and supported tribal communities to access rights to land and entitlements.


1410 migrant households in 47 villages received information on employment, health and social security benefits

140 men and 30 women from 55 villages get trained in masonry

300 farmers improve agricultural productivity through the use of ICT solutions  

493 tribal households in 46 villages access government resources

3533 households in 17 villages benefit from improved livelihood options 

Claims of 171 tribal households under the Individual Forest Rights settled 

145 tribal households get full ownership of the allotted land 

17 defunct self help groups reactivated and establish bank linkages



Gajapati, Ganjam, Kalahandi, Khurda, Nayagarh


Livelihood impact stories from our partner villages 

Enabling safe migration and dignified livelihoods for rural youth 

After completing high school in 2009, Basanti Naik worked as a labourer in her village Tukuguda. Basanti desired to end the uncertainty of irregular work. However, she had no guidance about employment options outside her village. She attended a meeting organised by Gram Vikas in the village, which suddenly opened a whole new world of opportunities for her. Read the full story: http://bit.ly/34zDvu1

Helping the tribal poor realise their right to land 

Tula Pradhan from Koinphulia village in the Ganjam district of Odisha is a sole breadwinner for her family. A widow and daily wage labourer, she stays in a temporary house on the government land. Tula’s case is representative of many landless villagers in rural Odisha and their difficulties in obtaining housing rights. Read how Gram Vikas’ work to support local communities to claim their legal rights to land helped Tula: http://bit.ly/3mF07iI

Farmer Producer Company transforms the lives of marginal farmers 

Bijay Jani, a 45 year old farmer from Hatigada village in Ganjam district of Odisha supported his family of six working on his two-acre land. Bijay discovered the road to change after enlisting himself in the Prakruti Bandhu Farmer Producer Company supported by Gram Vikas. Read the story: http://bit.ly/3axC9DM

Vegetable cluster development makes a farmer out of a landless labourer 

Balia Pradhan was struck with Polio in childhood. The disability and reliance on crutches made it difficult for him to pursue any sustainable livelihood. However, the Vegetable Cluster Development initiative of Gram Vikas under the Holistic Rural Development Programme turned him into a successful vegetable farmer. Read Balia’s inspiring story: http://bit.ly/2WAJwCk


Functional infrastructure, behaviour change and community-led total sanitation practices ensure good health

Our MANTRA principle that 100% households in a village construct their own facilities became a cornerstone of India’s Swachh Bharat Mission and its key theme of open defecation free villages. Carrying forward the ongoing work of the past two decades, we supported households to construct separate toilets and bathing rooms. Our WASH+ programme instilled a behaviour-change approach in sanitation in the partner communities. We advocated for developing or upgrading the existing small vegetable garden space in the homestead using wastewater. We began an action research to help develop a novel, low-cost, locally available toilet hardware to assist caregivers in their child faeces management practices. School sanitation initiatives built separate toilets for girls and boys, and built awareness and knowledge on safe sanitation.


1435 households build toilets and bathing rooms

14,937 households in 258 villages learn about nutrition gardens

102 toilet units built for 4152 students in 63 schools  

1037 households in 74 villages participate in the research to help caregivers develop better child faeces management practices



Gajapati, Ganjam, Jharsuguda, Kalahandi, Kandhamal, Keonjhar, Khurda, Mayurbhanj, Nayagarh, Rayagada, Sundergarh




Sanitation & Hygiene impact stories from our partner villages 

Simlisahi’s women rally their community for the right to safe sanitation 

For the women of Simlisahi village from the Nayagarh district of Odisha, the daily trek to a nearby hill for defecating and fetching water was an excruciating ordeal. Bilasini Jena, a member of the local self-help group, drew strength from her personal adversities, rallied other women and became a local community advocate to ensure access to and adoption of safe sanitation with the support of Gram Vikas in Simlisahi. Read how: http://bit.ly/2LXabak

Harnessing community ownership for total sanitation

In 2005, Gram Vikas implemented a sanitation and water supply project at Baniamari village in Ganjam district. The construction of toilets and bathrooms in all 50 homes of Baniamari ended the practice of open defecation once for all. However, daily waste management continued to be a bottleneck towards achieving total sanitation. Read how Banimari community learnt to identify biodegradable and non-biodegradable waste, its segregation and disposal to create a clean village environment with support from Gram Vikas. Full story here:http://bit.ly/34v8FCQ

Nutrition gardens enable dietary diversity while conserving water 

A modest beginning with an initial success at kitchen farming turned Saraswati into a full time vegetable farmer. In 2018, she started the kitchen garden to reduce expenditure on food but today it has become an important source of income for her family. Read how Gram Vikas helped Saraswati learn to nurture a nutrition garden, and its value for household food security and health: http://bit.ly/2LNDP1w


Information communication technologies and renewable energy enhance livelihood, education, health and emotional wellbeing of remote village communities

Our work in Habitat & Technologies focuses on building capacities within Gram Vikas and of its partner communities. The broad themes identified under this area are the use of new and appropriate technologies along with renewable sources of energy, creating sustainable and dignified habitats and improving the physical quality of lives of rural communities. The Smart Community Interface Project made effective use of information and communication technologies in regions with limited, unreliable or no access to digital connectivity to give agricultural information for farmers, health and nutrition information for women and adolescent girls, aid communication services between migrant workers and their families and learning opportunities for children. We provided technical support to the villages for setting up of solar water pumping systems, and revived a solar off-grid village electrification project in Maligaon.


1350 households in 17 villages gain benefits in agriculture, health, education and migration through the use of information communication technologies 

571 households in 13 villages get access to renewable energy



Gajapati, Ganjam, Kalahandi, Keonjhar




Habitat & Technologies impact stories from our partner villages 

Farmers get latest agronomic and real time market information

Adoption of mobile phone applications to learn about new farming techniques, pests and plant diseases, and market price of the produce in Odia is changing the culture of farming in rural Odisha. Gram Vikas facilitated access to information communications technologies solutions to farmers, which has helped improve crop productivity, enabled market and price discovery, and earned them better income. Read the story from Ganjam district: http://bit.ly/37Dg58N

Revival of the Maligaon solar project 

A remarkable achievement during the year was the re-commissioning of the solar mini-grid electrification project in Maligaon village of Kalahandi. It was truly a multistakeholder effort and also marked our first successful foray in crowdfunding. Read the feature on how we lit up a village in remote Kalahandi in Odisha: http://bit.ly/3nDXVcT


Digital classrooms open a world of opportunities and STEM education foster scientific temperament in students

We support the four residential schools started by Gram Vikas to strive for excellence in academics and extracurricular activities. Exposure to global platforms and opportunities to use advanced technologies in formal learning and other educational activities enhanced the classroom teaching and learning capacities of teachers and students. This also helped foster their scientific temperament and knowledge.


63 teachers improved their teaching outcomes 

1271 students receive better STEM education




Gajapati, Ganjam, Kalahandi


Navonmesh Prayogshala: A lab for young scientists in rural Odisha

STEM Labs makes science accessible, fun and engaging for first generation learners from tribal communities in Odisha. These innovation labs, set up in Gram Vikas Residential Schools, help students design award winning science models while encouraging them to aspire to be future scientists. Full story here: http://bit.ly/2J7upwU


Building village-level capabilities, structures and processes establish stronger self governance mechanisms for local communities

Strengthening Village Institutions is an overarching component across the spectrum of Gram Vikas’ work. We began activities to enable stronger and formal linkages between the Village Development Committees (VDC) and the Gram Panchayats. We conducted leadership development programmes and village-level awareness sessions, facilitated the Annual General Body meetings, and advocated to involve more women at leadership positions. We began developing specialised cadres of service providers to assist the VDCs and the households for the implementation and monitoring of various development activities.


178 VDCs have new leadership with the inclusion of women SHG leaders 

154 VDCs hold formal Annual General Body meetings

₹29,06,000 mobilised by VDCs from the Gram Panchayats 

365 persons in 214 villages trained as village institution service providers 

180 village cadres from 149 habitations trained for the Water Quality Management programme 

112 village cadres from 45 habitations trained for the Springshed management programme



Angul, Gajapati, Ganjam, Jharsuguda, Kalahandi, Kandhamal, Keonjhar, Khurda, Mayurbhanj, Rayagada, Sundergarh




Village institutions ensure sustainability of outcomes

Colonypada is a 28 household village in Jharsuguda district of Odisha. In 2014, with support from Gram Vikas, the village community completed the construction of toilets and bathrooms (TBRs) connected with three piped water connections for every household. The onus of maintaining this system lies with the Village Water and Sanitation Committee made of ten members. Read how Gram Vikas’ work in strengthening capacities of village institutions ensured the sustainability of TBRs and the piped water system in Colonypada: http://bit.ly/3h96TMQ


Relief and rehabilitation support help communities cope with disasters and a pandemic

In the past year, cyclones Titli and Fani, and the COVID-19 pandemic mobilised us in action to provide immediate relief and rehabilitation support to our partner village communities. We reached out to villages affected by Titli in the Mahendragiri area with relief support and livelihood rehabilitation. We provided food kits, organised cloth for work programmes, and restored drinking water sources in communities affected by Fani on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar. Towards the end of the year, we set up a helpline for stranded migrant workers and rolled out various supportive measures to communities affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.


2254 households in 57 villages benefit from restored land, water channels and plantations, revived horticulture, protected land resources; rebuilt disaster-resistant houses and community infrastructure, and new livelihood skills in masonry

1154 families across 11 villages get food kits 

646 families across nine villages food and material relief support through the cloth for work programme

280 families in three villages benefit from restored drinking water sources

119 school going children and 82 Anganwadi get safe drinking water




Gajapati, Ganjam, Kalahandi, Khurda


Masonry training for livelihoods and disaster rehabilitation

Krushnanagar Ambapadia was one of the many villages wrecked by Cyclone Fani with homes and livelihoods demolished in the wake of its impact. Home to fifty-six families, this hamlet in the Khordha district is located on the periphery of Bhubaneswar city. Most of its inhabitants are from the Scheduled Tribe communities and work as daily-wage labourers, while some tend to small plots of land for subsistence farming. Cyclone Fani left the villagers of Krushnanagar high and dry with roofless homes and disruption in livelihood activities. Gram Vikas helped women and men from Krushnanagar learn new livelihood skills. Read the story: http://bit.ly/37CfFPY

A year of national recognition and braving a pandemic

MANTRA goes national

The Government of India launched the Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) with the aim to provide tap connections to every rural household in India. It is designed to be a community-driven scheme. Planning for water source sustainability is a basic component of the village level planning under the JJM. It provides for community level engagement in the management of water quality. 

We are pleased to share that the MANTRA principles for community involvement – 100% inclusion, cost-sharing, equitable representation of all sections of communities in a village, ownership of operations and maintenance and, inbuilt financial and institutional sustainability – are provided as the basic principles of the JJM approach. The Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation under the Ministry of Jal Shakti, Government of India nominated the Gram Vikas Executive Director as a member of the national-level task force. 

With decades of grassroots experience in the rural water sector under its belt, Gram Vikas looks forward to engaging with the JJM on a sustainable basis. We are equally committed to contributing to the national goal of providing safe and adequate drinking water in rural India.

The Bandhu Helpline

As the COVID-19 pandemic prompted the nation-wide lockdown in March 2020, we found that several migrant workers from Odisha were stranded in different parts of Kerala. Many of these persons had come in direct contact with Gram Vikas as part of the safe migration pilot in Thuamul Rampur block. As the number of distress calls by the stranded workers to their known contacts increased, we realised an immediate need for the intervention. 

We launched the Bandhu Helpline on 31 March 2020 in collaboration with the Centre for Migration and Inclusive Development (CMID) and ESAF Small Finance Bank, who were our partners in the safe migration pilot project. 

The helpline provided services in five languages to the workers who needed quick information about the places to stay, food options or even an emotional comfort to deal with the dire situation. Gram Vikas personnel based in Bhubaneswar operated the Odia language helpline.

Thank you to our partners and mentors

Our work benefited from continuing collaboration with the existing donor partners and building relationships with the new ones. Oracle Giving through the Charities Aid Foundation, charity: water, HDFC Bank, InterGlobe Foundation, SAIL Rourkela Steel Plant, Mahanadi Coalfields Limited and Tata Steel Long Products Limited continued their support to Gram Vikas during the year. 

We built new partnerships with Tetra Tech, UNDP, PWC India Foundation and LIC Housing Finance that helped us to deepen our ongoing work and start new projects at different locations. 

Partnerships with various resource organisations have been a key element of the successes we achieved during the year. ACWADAM, CMID, TREE Society, SBI Foundation, WaterAid India and the Thomas Clasen Research Group at the Emory University provided us with invaluable technical and knowledge support in different areas of work. 

The Government of Odisha has been a continued source of support for our work. The Panchayati Raj and Drinking Water Department and the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Organisation, the Scheduled Tribes Development Department and the Odisha State Disaster Management Agency have been long-standing and steadfast partners for Gram Vikas.

The guidance and direction provided by the Governing Board have always helped the Gram Vikas management team to remain alert and active at all times. It has also boosted the morale of Gram Vikas staff to surmount various challenges strewn along the development path.

109,001 households have benefitted from Gram Vikas’ partnership with village communities in Odisha and Jharkhand since 1979.