Gram Vikas, a non-governmental organization which works with rural and tribal communities in India and Africa, has made a development approach named Movement and Action Network for the Transformation of Rural Areas (MANTRA). The approach uses "Water and Sanitation" as an entry point for development activities and a medium by which an entire community could come together for an important collective goal that has a lasting impact. The major tenets of this model include 100% inclusion of the target communities, creation of self-managed community institutions, focus on ensuring social and gender equity, cost sharing and sustainability of the interventions implemented.
Gram Vikas partners with rural-communities to address their critical needs of education, health, safe drinking water and sanitation. It has already impacted more than 1,200 villages covering over 75,000 families and 400,000 individuals. Gram Vikas’ MANTRA model has been implemented in 24 districts of Odisha and piloted in six other states.
"Our village is better than the town. We have 24X7 piped water supplies to all families, without exception. Every family has its own toilet and bathing room as well," excitedly shares Lalita Malik, one of Gram Vikas’ beneficiaries from Tamana village in Ganjam district, Odisha.
Gram Vikas’ MANTRA involves developing institutional mechanisms such as consensus building, creating corpus fund, developing village executive committee and designing maintenance and sustainability plan. The approach enables marginalized sections of the community to sit together with the more powerful sections and negotiate issues regarding the village on equitable terms.