MANTRA involves establishing inclusive, community-led water and sanitation systems in rural Orissa
Gram Vikas is a rural development organisation that has been working with poor and marginalized rural communities in Orissa since 1979. Gram VikasÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ vision is: an equitable and sustainable society where people live in peace and with dignity. Gram VikasÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ mission is: To promote processes which are sustainable, socially inclusive and gender equitable, to enable critical masses of poor and marginalized rural people or communities to achieve a dignified quality of life. All programmes are guided by five core values: inclusion, social equity, gender equity, sustainability and cost sharing. In the early 90s Gram Vikas sought to uncover the root causes of poverty. It was found that ill health due to unsafe drinking water was a major cause of loss of productivity among adults and a leading cause of death among children under 5 and was thus one of the root causes of poverty. More than 80% of all rural morbidity is traceable to water borne diseases. This realisation led to the launch of the Rural Health and Environment Program (RHEP) in 1992, with a pilot intervention in 5 villages. The programme uses water and sanitation as the entry point activity to unite the community to take action to improve its well-being and environment. Before the programme begins in any village, the village must come to a consensus that all families, without exception, will participate. This brings the community together across barriers of caste, gender and economic status, which for centuries have excluded large sections of communities from the process of development. The village must also raise a corpus fund of Rs.1,000 ($22) per household with the better-off paying more and the poorer less. The corpus fund is an acid test, demonstrating that the community is committed to the process of development. Interest from the corpus fund is used to meet the social costs of extending the water and sanitation system to new households in the future, ensuring 100% coverage at all times.
Gram Vikas has reached 22,347 households in 289 villages with a population of 124,148 across 17 districts of Orissa with water and sanitation.
LocationOrissa, Eastern India, India
Primary Focus: Drinking Water - Households
Secondary Focus: Sanitation - Households
People Getting Safe Drinking Water: 2,100
At least 300 families comprising about 2100 people, in small hamlets not qualifying for government funds for water infrastruture, will be covered under this project, and will have 24-hour piped water supply to their toilet, bathing room and kitchen. Ethnically backward sections of the society form at least 60% of the families covered; the division of beneficiaries between men and women is 1:1
Women and children are the greatest beneficiaries of this programme - women benefiting from being spared the drudgery of fetching water for household uses and children, escaping the clutches of water-borne diseases, which result in widespread morbidity and mortality.
School Children Getting Water: 1,000
All children in the villages covered by this project would have access to safe drinking water. Any schools operating in the villages are also provided similar drinking water, toilet, and bathing room facilities with contribution from the entire community.
People Getting Sanitation: 2,100
Access to sanitation is not only a matter of hygiene, it is a statement in dignity - it restores to the rural folk, especially women, their self-respect. Moreover, it is well understood that given the widespread morbidity and mortality in rural areas due to water-borne diseases caused by faecal contamination of water, safe water can never be assured to a habitation in the absence of mechanisms for hygienic disposal of human waste Ã¢â‚¬â€œ meaning proper sanitation
People Getting Other Benefits: 2,100
Gram Vikas staff engage with self help groups of women to impress upon them, the importance of personal hygiene. Small, but instructive messages about using some form of soap (or detergent or ash) to clean the hands after one uses a toilet, bathing regularly and wearing clean clothes are passed on during the regular meetings. Due to the availability of a bathing room, women would find it easier to take care of their personal cleanliness and hygiene. In addition, children are repeatedly guided, in schools, about the importance of hand-washing, keeping their hair clean, keeping nails short and clean etc. Between the mothers and the children, there is often a mutually reinforcing cycle at work, making the need for personal hygiene an ingrained one.
Before construction of the toilets and bathing rooms, young men and women, working as unskilled labourers, are trained in masonry. On completion of the training, they construct the toilets, bathing rooms, overhead water tanks and later on, houses, under the supervision of master masons and technical personnel. These newly trained masons are assured of work for at least one year if they so desire. Some of them go on to become master masons, leading trainings in other project areas, or successfully securing contracts for work in nearby urban centers. Within a year, the income earning capacity of these people increase by at least two to three times.
The village fund that accumulates through individual and community contribution as well as interest accruals, can be used at a later stage as collateral to leverage bank loans for community-based income generating enterprises.
Start Date: 2007-01-01
Completion Date: 2008-03-31
Water is pumped to an overhead water tank from sanitary dug wells where possible. In hilly areas, mountain streams and perrennial springs are tapped using the gravity flow technology to bring water to a habitation.
The project will be executed in one phase.
A village comes to a consensus such that all families of the community will participate in the programme after a process of dialogue and negotiations between Gram Vikas and the community that may take a few months to a few years. Once the community has agreed to undertake MANTRA, they plan how to form the corpus fund of Rs.1000 per household where the better-off pay more and the poorer less. Once the corpus is collected, the community together with Gram Vikas plans the construction of the toilets and bathrooms and also creates a plan for operations and maintenance (O&M) by identifying common resources such as horticulture plantations, forests or ponds for pisciculture that can be developed to meet all or part of the O&M costs once the system is commissioned.
The community drives the implementation of the programme. The community makes the bricks and collects all the local materials necessary for construction like sand and rubble for foundations. Villagers construct the toilets and bathrooms led by trained masons. From each village, youth, both men and women, are trained in masonry during the preparatory phase of the programme. The landless, typically the poorest of the poor, are given priority. The masons are assured work for at least one year and a survey conducted by Gram Vikas found that masons trained under Gram Vikas are able to command significantly higher wages as skilled workers than they could as unskilled labour and also work more days of the year. The community builds the overhead water tank and lays the network of pipes. One or two village youth are trained as pump operators and to make repairs to the system that may be needed.
This general body elects a Village Executive Committee (VEC), with 50% of the positions reserved for women, which is registered under Societies Registration Act, 1860. The VEC takes over responsibility for the project incrementally. Once the system is commissioned, the VEC ensures O&M systems are functioning including monthly household collections to meet electricity expenses for water pumping where electricity is used. The VEC also imposes a system of fines for open defecation anywhere near the village or unclean toilets to further ensure complete behaviour change.
Gram Vikas is in constant dialogue with potential villages around those where it is already working and in new areas. Village selection largely depends on each villageÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s response and willingness to commit to the programme. The project can be implemented in almost any area and indeed Gram Vikas has implemented in extremely remote areas, inaccessible by road and unelectrified.
Once a village is selected, a water source is identified. We have developed a gravity flow system to forgo the problem of water pumping in unelectrified villages where a suitable water source can be located in a nearby hill. The location of the toilets, bathrooms and water tower are done together with the villagers with the technical guidance of Gram Vikas staff.
The programme involves each and every family in the village without exception. 100% consensus ensures that even the poorest and most marginalized benefits from the same level of service, and has an equal say in deciding how the project should be implemented. This minimizes the chances of the systems established falling into disrepair or disuse. In villages where the programme is established, the village institutions represent interests of all sections, and attempts are made to develop necessary capacities so that they are able to manage conflicts. The village committees have proportionate representation of all caste and class groups in the community. Gram Vikas stays three to five years to build capacities of women and the excluded, so that they can participate on an equal level.. For the first time the poorest woman, the widow, or the dalit (untouchable) feels that s/he has a voice, which will be heard and which matters.
To ensure financial sustainability, a corpus fund is collected of Rs.1000 per family. Interest from the fund is used to cover the social costs of extending the system to new households, ensuring coverage of all families at all times. It is heartening to report that so far, 123 toilets and bathrooms have been constructed by new families after Gram VikasÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ withdrawal, maintaining 100% coverage in all such villages. Community resources such as horticulture plantations, forests, and ponds are developed to contribute towards operating costs such as electricity for pumping water. Also, in some villages, 0.25% to 0.5% of the harvest goes to operating costs such that payment is proportional to landholding and the landless, typically the poorest, do not pay.
A pump operator is trained to manage water pumping and handle repairs to the system. Intensive capacity building continues for two years after the water and sanitation system is commissioned with the Village Executive Committee so that it can take full responsibility for management of the system once Gram Vikas withdraws, including collecting monthly tariffs where necessary to meet electricity expenses and the salary of the pump operator. The project becomes entirely self-supporting.
Prior art before metrics
See attached spreadsheet.
Co Funding Amount: $73,296
This includes people's contribution worth $27,273; resources accessed from the government worth $4,091; and other resources raised by Gram Vikas from other sources or from its own funds worth $41,932.
Community Contribution Amount: $27,273
The community contributes Rs. 1000 ($22) per family on an average upfront, which goes into a corpus fund.
People contribute over 30% of the total costs of establishing the water supply system in the form of skilled and unskilled labour, locally available construction materials like bricks, sand, stones, chips and other aggregates.
People also contribute over 50% of the costs of constructing toilets and bathing rooms - also in the form of skilled and unskilled labour and locally available construction materials.