Action Research

The GPOD framework is developed out of an Action Research Project with two Gram Panchayats in the state of Karnataka-

  • Oorkunte Mittur Gram Panchayat in the Mulbagal Taluka of Kolar District and
  • Dibburhalli Gram Panchayat in the Sidlaghatta Taluka of Chikkaballapur district.

We worked closely with our grassroots NGO partners, Grama Vikas (GV) and Foundation for Ecological Society (FES) who have contributed extensively to developing solutions with Panchayats.

Grama Vikas (GV) is a non-government development organisation that works with poor & marginalised rural families in Kolar District, Chickmagalur district and Raichur district of the southern Indian State of Karnataka. GV focuses on protecting rights of children, natural resource management, networking for comprehensive & sustainable development and empowerment of rural poor communities. In recent years, Grama Vikas has started working extensively with Panchayats, pursuing the belief that sustained change can take place with the strengthening of these local institutions.

FES' efforts are primarily in locating forests and other natural resources within the prevailing economic, social and ecological dynamics in rural landscapes. It intertwines principles of conservation and local self-governance for the protection of natural surroundings and improvement in the living conditions of the poor. FES presently works with 3,409 village institutions in 27 districts across seven states, and assists village communities in protecting the 173, 361 hectares of revenue wastelands, degraded forest lands and panchayat grazing lands (Charagahlands). They support Panchayats and their subcommittees, Village Forest Committees, Gram Jungle Committees, Water Users Associations and Watershed Committees in order to improve the governance of natural resources.

The Gram Panchayat Organisation Development (GPOD) project was incubated in Arghyam in 2011, prior to being transitioned to Avantika Foundation since April 2014. Arghyam is a Bangalore based foundation which works towards sustainable water and sanitation. It grants funds to organisations, which implement and manage groundwater and sanitation projects in India. Arghyam has made grants to recipients in 22 states of India since 2005, the year of its founding.

Arghyam conducted ASHWAS (A Survey of Household Water and Sanitation) in 2009. The need for focusing on building GP organisation capability emerged during the dissemination phase of ASHWAS reports to the 172 participating GPs, most of whom did not seem to have the ability to internalise issues emerging from the survey and take appropriate action.