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FROM OUR ANNUAL REPORT

2018 - 2019

40TH YEAR OF GRAM VIKAS

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

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

In Odisha, whatever steps the people, government and civil society organisations take to move forward are very often undone by the forces of nature. Floods, droughts, cyclones, tidal waves, landslides, and extreme heatwaves are yearly occurrences in the state. The poorest and people at the margins feel the impact of these catastrophes the most. Gram Vikas has to very seriously consider and plan for disaster preparedness. Gram Vikas also has to play a role in post-disaster relief and rehabilitation. The question is how do you institutionalise it? What mechanisms can be adopted so that there is resilience within communities and people?

Joe Madiath

Chairman

Gram Vikas completed a landmark of 40 years of work, in partnership with rural communities, across Odisha, Jharkhand and other states in 2019. We celebrated the milestone by connecting with our partner village communities and other stakeholders and reaffirming our commitment and resolve to take the journey forward. Experiments in new streams of work and approaches marked the year 2018-’19 for us. We finalised the Gram Vikas Decade V Strategic Direction and Programme Framework, which will shape our work in the new decade. We began the process of restructuring the management and implementation systems, welcomed new Governing Board members, and continued and formed valued partnerships.

Liby T Johnson

Executive Director

Read the messages from the Chairman & Executive Director


In our 40th year, we ventured into new areas while strengthening our efforts in the first generation initiatives of providing water, toilets and bathrooms. We started work on protecting our water resources, ensuring the sustainability of land and forest resources and mobilising communities to access their rights to land; improving health and education outcomes for children and families; enabling energy security for whole villages and market access for farmers. All these while strengthening village institutions for stronger self-governance. We continued to stand with our communities to rebuild their lives after natural disasters.

We reached 14,978 households in 188 villages through our diverse areas of work.

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.

WATER & SANITATION

Source sustainability and quality management initiatives strengthen access to water for rural communities

Our work in Water is focused on ensuring continuous availability of safe drinking water, an adequate flow of water for domestic and productive uses, and sustainability of water resources. During the year, we continued to establish Piped Water Supply systems at the village level, piloted efforts in Water Quality Management, and strengthened the early-phase work on Water Source Sustainability.

PROGRESS DURING THE YEAR

5,237 persons in 1139 households across 18 villages have piped water supply 

26 villages have work in water supply systems ongoing

1200 households test their drinking water to ensure quality 

26 villages train in water quality management, repair and restore water systems

Successfully piloted an electricity-free, clean water technology in Keonjhar district 

Nine villages mapped and geo-tagged the springs, identified and demarcated the spring catchment area towards sustaining these water sources

districts

Jharkhand

Gumla

Odisha

Gajapati, Rayagada, Ganjam, Kandhamal, Kalahandi, Keonjhar, Mayurbhanj Jharsuguda, Sundargarh, Nayagarh

PARTNERS WHO SUPPORTED OUR WORK

Kandhabanta village makes contaminated water potable

Kandhabanta, in Jagannath Prasad block of Ganjam district, has had piped water supply to every house in the village for more than 15 years. A natural spring with an intake well around it is one source of water. Pipes carry the water to an overhead tank from where it is distributed to every household. The village also gets water from a borewell pumped into the same tank.

The local staff of Gram Vikas organised a meeting of the Kandhabanta villagers at the site of the intake well. This was to make the villagers aware of drinking water quality. They noticed gaps in the wall of the well with some leaves stuck in them. A bamboo clump, broken by wild elephants that frequent the area, had fallen into the well through the broken well cover. Anyone would notice that the water was not clear.

The water quality tests carried out in the village checked for nitrate, fluoride and bacterial contamination. The results were positive for bacteria. The villagers were taken aback when they were informed of the result in the meeting. They spent time near the intake well to understand how it could have happened and the possible measures to fix it. The villagers decided to repair the broken lid and fill the gaps in the wall so as to insulate it from future contamination. 

The village community needed to come together to give labour and money. Gandhi Jani, President of the VWSC (Village Water Sanitation Committee), educated the community on the ill-effects of continuous consumption of contaminated water. He used a test tube with the muddy water from the well and the examples of people in his village suffering repeatedly from diarrhoea to drive home the point. 

Gandhi Jani explained how a simple initiative at the community level could reduce health risk by water-borne diseases. Once the Gram Vikas staff conducted a few meetings, some VWSC members took on the responsibility of mobilising the community contribution. 

Gandhi Jani not only mobilised the people but also brought seven sacks of cement on loan from a nearby shop. It took three months to mobilise the community and get everyone to clean and repair the intake well. One person from each household contributed labour, and two masons were called from another village.  It took two days to clean the well and to insulate it with cement plaster.

The intake well is a little high on the hills surrounded by a forest. It is about two kilometres from the village.  There is elephant habitation in the area. Many a time, the pachyderms smash the pipeline which connects the well to the water tank. Villagers use the maintenance fund collected every month to repair it. 

During the water quality management project rolled out by Gram Vikas, people brought forth the issue of water wastage due to leaking taps. If there are leaks in almost every tap from the 30 households, that adds up to huge wastage. “As we were undertaking the community-based repairing of the water supply system, we thought that we could also repair the household taps. We took the help of a plumber from Gram Vikas to fix the taps and now none of the taps in the village leak,” says Gandhi Jani. 

Another test was conducted to see if there was any difference in the quality of water after the repair work.  “All of us could clearly see that the colour of the water was not blackish. It was pale white. We were happy that our collective efforts had paid off,” says Gandhi.

LIVELIHOODS

Communities get their rightful access to forest land, and increase incomes through farm and off-farm livelihoods

In Livelihoods, we work towards ensuring secure incomes for rural communities, the sustainability of land and forest resources and building the quality of human resources. We resumed our work to help communities and traditional forest dwellers get land ownership, continued training in alternate livelihoods, and promoted natural resources, farm and off-farm livelihoods. A total of 3432 households expanded agriculture and natural resource-based livelihoods.

PROGRESS DURING THE YEAR

1,491 households received land ownership records

79 villages validated Individual Forest Right claims 

97 villages reconstituted Forest Rights Committees 

28 women and 23 men trained in masonry

491 farmers in 14 villages adopt Improved Package of Practices for rice and green gram cultivation in 220 acres

25 vermiculture units in five villages  

40 acres of cashew plantation in five villages

771 farmers in 62 villages supported in the cultivation of paddy, ragi, rabi crops, mango

Stone bunds in 13 hectares of land in 28 villages

districts

Odisha

Ganjam, Gajapati, Kalahandi

Jharkhand

Gumla

PARTNERS WHO SUPPORTED OUR WORK

Higher yields and incomes at lower costs of cultivation for Kantabania farmers

Sagar Jena, 56, is an experienced farmer from Kantabania village of Balugaon GP in Nayagarh Block. He is the sole bread earner in a family of his parents, wife and two children. He has about two acres of rainfed land in which he cultivates paddy during Kharif season. He used to get 1,800 kilograms of paddy from his two acres of land.

Gram Vikas staff, implementing the Holistic Rural Development Programme, supported by HDFC Parivartan (a CSR initiative of HDFC Bank) were creating awareness in the village about improved rice cultivation practices. The package included new and better practices in seed selection and treatment, land preparation with organic fungicides, seedling bed preparation; on-time transplantation, line transplantation, weeding and life-saving irrigation provision. 

IPOP rice plants showed more tillers, bigger panicle size and bold grain with more weight. Ensuring weeding at the right time and the application of handi khata (literally meaning pot manure) – organic liquid manure prepared with cow dung, cow urine, aromatic leaves, lactate leaves and jaggery, through aerobic fermentation – help farmers get a higher yield.

Sagar was not sure about adopting the Improved Package of Practices (IPoP). With the constant motivation and guidance from Ramesh Chandra Naik, the HRDP Project Coordinator, Sagar decided to take up IPoP rice in half-acre of his land. After the first years’ experience, Sagar now considers IPOP the best method for rice farmers. He has a lower cost of cultivation and higher yields. His net income increased by ₹ 5,560.

Sagar has not only extended IPOP rice cultivation to one acre during this year but also impressed those who were criticising the IPOP method.

SANITATION & HYGIENE

8250 households adopt better sanitation, hygiene behaviours and waste management practices

We built upon our first-generation interventions of providing water supply and toilet-bathing room facilities to comprehensively address household-level health outcomes. Communities followed improved sanitation and personal hygiene behaviours, adopted better waste management practices and set up kitchen gardens for strengthening food and nutrition security.

 
PROGRESS DURING THE YEAR

22 villages became open defecation free

3705 households got a toilet-bathroom unit with piped water supply

1319 households adopted practices for safe disposal of excreta and child faeces

910 households better manage water use and adopt personal hygiene practices

645 households have kitchen sanitation and household liquid waste management system

2581 households developed backyard nutrition gardens

209 households set up water card-based water demand management system 

54 schools with model sanitation units got water supply

districts

Odisha

Gajapati, Ganjam, Kalahandi, Keonjhar, Sundargarh, Nayagarh

Jharkhand

Gumla

PARTNERS WHO SUPPORTED OUR WORK

Tutukoli village first gets tap water and now grows vegetables using greywater

Tukutoli is a small village inhabited by the Oraon community, in Raidih block of Gumla in Jharkhand. The villagers used to suffer from diseases like diarrhoea, typhoid and cholera. Open defecation was prevalent and there were few sources of safe water. There was an acute shortage of water in summer.

Today, every household in the village has a toilet and a bathing room (TBR), and piped water supply. “It was like a dream to get piped water supply in our house, which even families in cities do not get”, said a villager.

The PoWER project implemented by Gram Vikas with financial support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation through PRADAN helped the village realise this dream. The Village Water and Sanitation Committee (VWSC), formed as part of the project, got the responsibility for maintenance and governance of the piped water supply system and ensuring the proper usage of the sanitation infrastructure by all households. The committee collects monthly water charges from all households for the maintenance.

Everyone in the village expected Gram Vikas to leave after the completion of the TBRs and the commissioning of the piped water. But to their surprise, the staff of Gram Vikas started mobilising the villagers for improvements in the nutritional status of families and management of greywater from the bathrooms and the third tap in the kitchens.  

Smt. Jhariyo Oraon, a 40-year old woman, happily showed her nutrition garden to the staff of Gram Vikas. She has prepared channels to direct the greywater from the bathing room and the kitchen tap into the small nutrition garden. The small patch of land is filled with plants like papaya, brinjal, green chilli, local green leaves and even a mango tree! She says, “hum is pani ke liye paise de rahe hain.  Woh pani aise hi beh raha tha. Ab hum apne pani ka upyog sabzi ugane ke liye karte hai” (We paid for the water which was flowing away – wasted. We now use the greywater to grow vegetables)”. Investing just a rupee per day (₹ 30 is the monthly per-household water charge), she reaps larger benefits.

HABITAT & TECHNOLOGIES

Smart and renewable energy technologies bring farmers closer to markets, ensure continuous electricity and support better livelihoods

We progressed on our efforts to harness technology for establishing information-communication systems in remote villages without regular internet or mobile access. Village-wide networks set up using Raspberry Pi devices helped farmers access market information. Farmers adopted better agronomic practices through the use of 'I am Kisan' android application. Solar pumping systems helped village communities to reduce the operational costs of maintaining piped water supply systems.

PROGRESS DURING THE YEAR

107 farmers have regular access to farm and market information through the ‘I am Kisan’ mobile application

Six village entrepreneurs ave their capacities built to mentor other farmers to use the application

Developed cloud server interface software for the Raspberry Pi device

Six villages have village-wide networks, using the Raspberry Pi device, connected to smartphones of each user 

80 farmers learnt advanced farming techniques

17 villages installed solar water pumping systems

10 schools received solar pumps for water supply

districts

Odisha

Ganjam, Kalahandi, Keonjhar, Angul

Jharkhand

Gumla

PARTNERS WHO SUPPORTED OUR WORK

Lunugundi brothers earn better through mobile phones, motorcycles and better farming practices

Magatha Pradhan and Upendra Pradhan, brothers from Lunugundi village in Jagannath Prasad block of Ganjam district, are pioneers. They are guiding other villagers on how to generate incomes from their hitherto unused backyards, by growing bitter gourd and ladies’ finger in the summer season.

Gram Vikas helped the village implement the water and sanitation programme 10 years ago. Lunugundi village piloted the Smart Community Interface programme. As part of the project, six farmer families went on an exposure visit to Keonjhar district to interact with the vegetable farmers there. A training session in January 2019 by Gram Vikas along with its partner Vriddhi Rural Prosperity Services followed the visit. The training covered seed germination techniques, alternative farming practices, bed preparation etc. for vegetables such as bitter gourd, eggplant, ladies’ finger and beans.  

Magatha Pradhan, one of the trainees who had also been on the exposure visit, decided to cultivate bitter gourd. As a beginner, he cultivated it in 0.18 acres of land. He planted the bitter gourd seeds in the third week of January, soon after the training. He followed the techniques, from spacing to regular intervals of watering, and could see the results in March. He also convinced his brother, Upendra Pradhan, to do the same.

Upendra Pradhan planted bitter gourd in 0.10 acres of land and ladies’ finger in 0.18 acres of otherwise barren land. He started the cultivation 15 days after his brother. Magatha Pradhan started getting the farm produce from the middle of March onwards while his brother expects his first sack of bitter gourd and ladies’ finger in the first week of April. 

Buoyed by the vegetable market price update provided through SMS by the I-Am-Kisan application, which is a part of the Smart Community programme, the brothers decided to take up sale of the vegetables themselves thereby avoiding the traditional middlemen. Magatha carried 70-80 kgs of bitter gourd once in three days on his motorbike to either the Gandadhara (7 km away) or Belguntha (21 km away) markets and sold for a price of around ₹ 15-18 per kilogram. Upendra Pradhan plans to make door-to-door sales in the nearby villages.

In March 2019, Magatha earned ₹ 6,300 and Upendra expects to earn about ₹ 4,500.  They will continue selling the farm produce until July. “I was a little afraid before cultivating these vegetables as we were the only farmers (the two brothers and one more) in the village to start this venture. As I see the results now, I am confident of growing brinjal, ladies’ finger and bitter gourd in the coming rainy season also. I am also planning to repeat this in next summer in a bigger plot of land, as I know the technicalities now”, says Magatha Pradhan. Other villagers have been observing them and want to start vegetable cultivation in the coming rainy season as well as next summer.

‘We have found another crop to rely on for our livelihoods besides cashew during the summer season, and we are happy that we took this initiative’, says Magatha Pradhan.

EDUCATION

Virtual classrooms, design thinking and STEM education improve teaching-learning experience in tribal residential schools

In the past year, we focused on enhancing teacher and student capacities to best utilise the virtual classrooms infrastructure built over the past years. Regular use of multimedia and e-resources helped in better teaching and students' ability to learn new concepts. Design thinking sessions fostered leadership, communication, creative and critical thinking skills among children.

PROGRESS DURING THE YEAR

100% of students from all schools passed the Annual High School Certificate exam in 2018 – ‘19

28 classrooms became smart classrooms with multimedia teaching aids

Improved archives of e-learning materials for teaching and learning

Regularised use of multimedia teaching-learning methods

Teachers trained in the use of e-resources, STEM and incorporating digital literacy in a multilingual setup

districts

Odisha

Gajapati, Kalahandi

PARTNERS WHO SUPPORTED OUR WORK
VILLAGE INSTITUTIONS

Intensified efforts enhance capabilities of village institutions for stronger self-governance

Gram Vikas' work on strengthening village institutions is an overarching component across all our focus areas. During the year, we made substantial efforts to enhance staff level understanding and putting together capacity-building materials. At the field level, we focused on strengthening Village Water and Sanitation Committees (VWSCs) and building awareness for their convergence with local self-government.  

PROGRESS DURING THE YEAR

31 VWSCs trained on their roles and responsibilities

51 sessions for village communities and VWSCs on Panchayati Raj Institutions, their rights and formulating Village Development Plan; and incorporating it in the Gram Panchayat Development Plan

districts

Odisha

Kalahandi, Sundergarh, Keonjhar, Ganjam

Jharkhand

Gumla

PARTNERS WHO SUPPORTED OUR WORK

Our steadfast commitment to sustainability and building resilient communities

Measuring our past work 

An exercise with few parallels, the Status Assessment Survey (SAS) helps Gram Vikas reconnect with all the villages we have worked with, assess the status of the infrastructure, governance processes and gaps, and gauge the interest of the villages to continue the partnership. The survey of 70,000 households across 1170 villages, rolled out in May 2018. The team completed SAS in 846 villages, which provided formal assent and village-level survey in 10 districts. The findings from the survey will help Gram Vikas formulate village-specific strategies for work under the Gram Vikas Decade V programmatic framework. 

It is a matter of great pride for us that 29 out of the 50 volunteers, young men and women, selected for carrying out the survey will be joining as Gram Vikas employees in April 2019. They will be the first cohort of the Community Professionals Programme, where young women and men from Gram Vikas’ partner villages and alumni of the Gram Vikas schools are offered opportunities to work with Gram Vikas. After five years of engagement, they will be supported to obtain higher education in an area of their interest. We hope that these youngsters will form the core of Gram Vikas’ human resources in the coming years.

Supporting communities in post-disaster recovery

Cyclone Titli, which made landfall on 11 October 2018, caused widespread destruction of properties and took more than 50 lives in Ganjam and Gajapati districts. Gram Vikas team responded with great alacrity, immediately mobilising relief supplies, distributing dry ration and organising health camps; restoring piped water supply systems, facilitating Goonj to take up the Clothe-for-Work programme, providing cash-for-work for restoring productive assets and preparing gram panchayat-wise reports for long term livelihoods rehabilitation. We continue to work with the communities to rebuild their lives through technical and handholding support and resource mobilisation.

The unprecedented floods that inundated Kerala affected a large number of migrant workers, some of whom were from villages that Gram Vikas has been working with. We set up a control room and our teams travelled to Kerala to find and support migrants from Kalahandi, Odisha, stranded during the Kerala floods. The team kept the families in Odisha updated on their whereabouts. The devastating floods terrified most of the youth and they wanted to come back to Odisha. The team counselled and convinced them to stay back to avail of the job opportunities that were already coming up.

Thank you to our partners and supporters

At the heart of our success are our partner village communities. As we take new strides in our growth, they stand by us firmly, dreaming, designing and shaping a more equal world. We are always mindful that without them, there is no us and we are grateful for it. 

Our partnerships continued with corporate entities, nonprofits, philanthropic foundations; multilateral, bilateral and donor agencies. Academic and research institutions from across the globe seek our partnership as a win-win for furthering the knowledge base. 

We are thankful to the Government of Odisha for continuing to see value in partnering with us.

The Gram Vikas staff endure in their efforts to respond to the needs and aspirations of the rural poor to ensure a life of dignity.