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Livingstone Gamango realises his clean water dream

Story

By Mrityounjay Singh

20 August 2018

Two villages in Gajapati district gets a joint piped water supply system, toilets and bathrooms for every household.

A water tank atop a hill in Gajapati district.

Photograph by Ajaya Behera

“Gram Vikas has changed my gram (village). I was dreaming of building just toilets, but thanks to Gram Vikas, bathrooms came as a bonus along with water in the toilet, bathing room and kitchen – safe drinking water at that!”

Livingstone Gamango, 48 years, a farmer and a social worker, always wanted a toilet near his house. He is from the Dantarinala village of Mohana block in Gajapati district, where many generations live together as joint families in most households. Gamango could not afford a toilet but this did not stop him from motivating others to build and use one. But, he had a hard time convincing people as they often asked him not to preach what he did not practice.

One day, when he visited a village in the neighbouring block, Gamango saw the water and sanitation work of Gram Vikas. He spoke to the staff to understand the process. He proposed similar work in his small village of Saura tribe with 15 households and 70 people. But for Gram Vikas, provisioning of piped water infrastructure such as a water source, erecting a water tank, laying the main pipeline, distribution pipeline etc., for just 15 families in a hillside settlement, was not a viable option.

“I had to pursue Gram Vikas for three long years and mobilise another village close to mine before they agreed to implement the sanitation and water supply project in my village,” says Gamango. Determined, he mobilised 10 families from the settlement Kapakhalla, near his village, for the project. Gram Vikas then set up a joint piped water supply system for both the villages. Today, all 25 households of the two villages have individual toilets and bathing rooms with around-the-clock water supply.

Gamango is proud, excited and hopeful, “All the villagers feel proud of the facilities, similar to those for the District Collector, in their own homes! Water running through the taps all 24 hours of the day is not a common sight in a village in Odisha”. Gamango’s wife is a member of the VWSC and the couple ensures that not a single person from their community defecates in the open. Gamango is all praise for Gram Vikas and eager to collaborate with them in the future for the benefit of his community.

A Saura tribal woman collects water from the third water pipe near the kitchen.

Photograph by Ajaya Behera

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

Gajapati programme team supported in the story collection.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mrityounjay Singh is a management trainee with Gram Vikas.

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