Community leaders at Balangir Conclave commit to village development


By GV News Desk

12 April 2023

Hundreds of  Village Development Committee (VDC) leaders and members of self-help groups, Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs), and Farmer Producer Groups (FPGs) gathered on 22-23 March 2023 in Balangir, Odisha, to discuss various development initiatives in their respective villages. From 20 villages, 184 participants attended the Balangir Conclave held in Bangamunda and Balangir blocks.

Gram Vikas is partnering with these villages to implement HDFC Parivartan’s Holistic Rural Development Programme (HRDP). The initiatives under the Loisingha, Bangamunda, Balangir, and Deogaon blocks of Balangir seek to enable dignified and healthy living among the rural communities through self-governance. The ongoing interventions span the areas of natural resource management, skill development, livelihood enhancement of the farmers, education, health and sanitation.

The participants spoke about the need to speed up the development work in their villages, solve community issues, and help explore better livelihood opportunities for their people.

Datar Thati, 60, President of Pandarani VDC from the Loisingha block, shared how the work by Gram Vikas had pushed progress in his village, “In the past year, Gram Vikas has supported several initiatives in our village. The village school has a renovated kitchen and wall paintings. We constructed a new boundary wall for the school and the nearby Anganwadi. All 550 households in Pandarani have toilets now. The upgradation of the Pandarani Upper Primary School is ongoing.”

The school and Anganwadi in Tentulikhunti village in Loisingha block also have a new boundary wall and wall paintings, which create a lively learning environment for students.

The HRDP, which began in January 2022, aims to reach 18000 individuals in 4660 households across the district. Tentulikhunti VDC President, Upendra Rout, 40, thanked Gram Vikas and HDFC Parivartan for the work initiated in his village, “About 43 farmers from our village have formed four FPGs within the past year. The groups have helped farmers lower input costs and improve practices of cultivation. The farmer groups hope to bargain for a better price for their produce from the wholesale dealer.”

Upendra requested Gram Vikas to support the residents in constructing twin soak pits for every household to end open defecation in his village.

Swacch Bharat Mission had helped every household in his village to construct a toilet three years back, and they now needed soak pits to start using them.

Nilendri Tandi, 53, a Ward member of Sandhisar village in Bangamunda block, appreciated Gram Vikas’ initiatives like forming Child Clubs, “The Clubs regularly engage with children to support their emotional well-being and improve their learning abilities.”  Campaigns on sanitation and hygiene practices in the village and distribution of IEC materials had improved awareness of good health.

He specially mentioned the training for SHG leaders and the mapping of entrepreneurship aspirations among SHG members to support their livelihoods. “Members of Jaya Lakshmi SHG of Chhatrang village in the Bangamunda took up line sowing of paddy in their fields after Gram Vikas trained them on Improved Practices of Paddy (IPoP). When daily wage labourers refused to do line sowing and preferred the traditional method, the women adopted IPoP by sowing and transplanting the saplings. It saved them 18 days of labour cost for 15 labourers at a rate of ₹150 per person. They did all the work in record time.” 

Most of the leaders who spoke at the event on both days were delighted that the representatives from the 20 villages had not only gathered there but also shared their experiences wholeheartedly at the event. Many returned with ideas and learnings garnered from the Concalve’s interactions and discussions to prepare a collective action plan to aid their villages’ development activities further.

The Balangir Conclave under the Holistic Rural Development Programme (HRDP) in Balangir district of Odisha

Photograph by Pravat Ranjan Jena


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