March 2018

A model rural development

The Trusts’ initiatives for the overall development of Jagannadhapuram have empowered the rural community and enabled them to strive for growth

The citizens of tomorrow being taught the importance of hygiene in Jagannadhapuram, Andhra Pradesh

Jagannadhapuram in Andhra Pradesh is a small village located at a distance of about 20kms from the Veerullapadu Mandal (tehsil) headquarters. It has nearly 250 households, with most of them depending on agriculture and daily labour for a living. The village had been neglected and marginalised by political parties for many years; and owing to the poor literacy level, the villagers did not reach out to the government to seek any help.

Until the intervention of Tata Trusts in 2015, the people in Jagannadhapuram struggled for basic amenities like drinking water facility, total sanitation, and road connectivity to the district headquarters. The situation demanded help in terms of facilities and some kind of financial support for the development of the village.

After understanding the concerns of the villagers, a thorough micro planning was done to prepare a Village Development Plan (VDP) with the community’s involvement. The Trusts began its initiatives in the area after taking the required permit from the authorities. It initiated and facilitated many developmental activities with an aim to make Jagannadhapuram a model village.

To spread digital literacy among the villagers, they were introduced to the Internet Saathi programme, a collaborative project of Google, Intel and Tata Trusts. About 250 individuals (majorly women, followed by youth and school going children) were made aware of the internet and its applications. People began getting familiarised with the usage of internet to access information, upgrade their skill-set and make value added products.

The womenfolk of the village being counseled on the importance of building a toilet in each house

The people’s VDP clearly specified that most of the villagers practised open defecation as they couldn’t afford the initial investment to construct toilets. The project facilitated construction of 46 model Individual Household Latrines (IHHLs) with all facilities, in a participatory manner. Behaviour change communication (BCC) and Community-led Total Sanitation (CLTS) programmes were also conducted in the village as there was a need to change the mindset of people. As a result of the consistent efforts, Jagannadhapuram has been declared an open defecation free (ODF) village. Similarly, the project team has ensured provision of domestic water facility closer to home by building a 200m internal pipeline connection with a tap facility. Many soak pits have been constructed to facilitate the release of waste water. 

A village development committee has also been formed in Jagannadhapuram with an aim to mobilise the community to deal with all kinds of issues. The eight-membered team meets once every month to discuss the problems prevailing in the village and also proposes the action plans to resolve the issues. This enables the gram panchayat to liaison with other government authorities without the intervention of any trusts or non-governmental organisations.

According to Vemu Venkata Ravamma, the village sarpanch, “The Trusts’ interventions have made our life easier and smoother. We can now approach the government authorities to seek help through the village development committee. We are so thankful to the Trusts for all these thoughtful initiatives.”

The people in Jagannadhapuram are now availing medical services under the aegis of Swasth Kutumbam, a universal health care programme for marginalised families. Health insurance facilities have reduced their medical expenses to a great extent. The project teams are looking after the wellbeing of the villagers by organising medical camps and educating school children about keeping the village clean and green.

In an attempt to cultivate enthusiasm for sports among students, the Trusts has conducted several sports competitions in the local school. It has also inculcated good practices of hygiene and sanitation among the villagers by distributing drainage cleaning material and initiating participatory clean drives in the streets. The villagers have been encouraged to take the responsibility of planting and protecting trees in their surroundings. 

The community in Jagannadhapuram is backing every step of developmental activity initiated by Tata Trusts, the state and the central governments. The experience of carrying out development projects here has proved that a village can be successfully led towards development only through community mobilisation and the active participation of villagers in the programme.