Gram Vikas announced today that it would put all its earlier water and sanitation projects onto the Peer Water Exchange and use the platform for all its future projects.
Based in Orissa, India, Gram Vikas is one of India's most pioneering NGO's focused on social development. Since 1979, it has been working to help people, especially tribals, in one of India's poorest states. Gram Vikas started working on water and sanitation in 1992 and has over 500 projects dotting a huge map on the wall in its office. It has a unique approach: 100% sanitation coverage has to be included in any water project. And with about 500 staff members who spend nearly 70% of their time in the field, it is able to rigorously enforce its ideas and document long-term success.
Gram Vikas has won numerous accolades for its work, including the prestigious Kyoto Water Prize at the 2006 Mexico World Water Forum and the Skoll Award.
Chitra Chaudhuri, who oversees the main office, is happy that PWX will showcase all of Gram Vikas' work. "Our scope is getting bigger and often, even our staff, do not know what is happening in other areas from where they are working." She realizes its going to be a challenge to get data onto PWX, but its going to be really worth it to see it on the PWX map and analyze it in to see results in different ways, "PWX offers Gram Vikas the ability to closely manage our projects and streamline our communications so that our people can learn faster, make smarter decisions, and be more efficient. I believe this system will help guide and document our work of reaching our goal of providing 100,000 households with water and sanitation." She adds, "We love how our reports to a single donor will also be seen by the rest of the world."
Joe Madiath spends nearly half his time on the road sharing his work with international agencies and promoting Gram Vikas' approach in other states and countries. We have always been about sharing our approach and results and now PWX allows our work to be 100% transparent. "However, online or published reports do not easily show our rigor and our commitment," he cautions. His is fully committed to PWX and in the concept of peer review, "My strong hope is that other organizations see the potential of PWX to shine a light on what is working in the water sector and put all their projects on this platform so that we all can do a better job while getting a fuller picture of the water sector and what is working long-term."
Rajesh Shah of PWX agrees, "We are most happy to support the great work of Gram Vikas and showcase it to the world. I hope that after getting 16 years of Gram Vikas' work onto PWX others, especially the donor community, will follow their example. The water sector needs a single repository, a clearinghouse so that everyone can see our progress in fighting this global crisis."