Project implementation in Africa will follow the same prescribed format used in India:
100% inclusion and commitment is first obtained through motivational activities, and exposure visits. During this time a corpus fund is also collected (on average US per family). This fund is proof of the commitment from the community, and, the interest from it is used to extend the facilities to families coming up in the village in future, therefore ensuring long-term sustainability. During this period, many capacity-building activities are carried out, especially in terms of empowering women to be heard, and working with men to accept women as equals. During this time the Village Executive Committee (VEC) is elected, which has an equal number of male and female members and is responsible for managing the water and sanitation project.
Once 100% inclusion has been obtained, then work starts on building the toilets and bathing rooms (TBRs), one block per family. The community must also supply all labour and locally available materials. Once every family has constructed their TBR, work begins on the water supply system, to provide piped water supply to each family.
Once the water supply system is functional, GV continue to work on capacity building and training to enable the community to manage the project in the future, as well as enhancing livelihoods after GV's withdrawal.
In addition to building the infrastructure, a key factor in the success of this programme is changing hygiene behaviour and attitudes. Therefore, hygiene education workshops are coordinated both in schools and the village, passing on simple messages about washing hands after defecation and before eating, and covering food.
Gram Vikas works predominantly in the East Indian state of Orissa. Orissa is one of the poorest states in India, with approximately 40% of its population living on less than a dollar a day. In addition, it has the dubious distinction of having the poorest coverage of protected drinking water and sanitation infrastructure in the whole of India. Less than 20% have access to a protected water supply, less than 5% have access to sanitation facilities, and less than 1% to a piped water supply.
Gram Vikas has found that one of the key reasons for the very high levels of poverty is the high levels of ill-health, the majority of which can be traced directly to very poor quality drinking water. Easily-preventable water-borne diseases cause 80% of ill-health in rural Orissa.
The operational areas of Gram Vikas have a large indigenous population and are physically remote with very poor basic services and facilities, rendering them as districts that have low human development indicators. The communities depend primarily on primative agriculture and daily wage labour for subsistence. The vicious cycle of poverty and morbidity work together to keep communities in these areas in a perpetual debt cycle, forcing them to lead sub-human lives devoid of dignity, self-respect, and the capacity to demand and negotiate with external forces for their rightful entitlement. In this context, the water and sanitation project is an entry point and through the process of 100% inclusion, the aim is to harness the inherent collective potential of poor communities to help them to determine the course of their development.
Gram Vikas delivers their water and sanitation activities through the MANTRA (Movement and Action Network for the Transformation of Rural Areas) programme, which is based on five core values:
1) 100% Inclusion: All households must be involved in the development process and must benefit equitably. Participation of all households of a habitation is a non-negotiable condition of the programme.
2) Social Equity: There must be representation of all sections of the community in decision-making processes across caste, economic status and other barriers to ensure that a level playing field is created.
3) Gender Equity: Equal representation and participation of men and women in community level decision-making and control is a requirement.
4) Sustainability: Development processes have built-in institutional and financial mechanisms for sustainability, and are necessarily based on sound environmental values.
5) Cost sharing: Poor people can and will pay for beneficial development services but there are some social costs which society at large must meet.
Movement and Action Network for Transformation of Rural Areas (MANTRA) as the programme is called, unites communities to overcome barriers of social exclusion. Water and sanitation as an entry point activity in habitations is not only a vehicle for improved health, but also a way of transforming hierarchical caste and gender based exclusion into equitable inclusion.
As the families in the two villages of Kibena and Limuli have suffered a set back in their maize harvest because of two successive droughts, they are unable to meet the monetary contributions that they had initially agreed to. The additional finances that is needed is around $150,000.