The GP Organization Development project was conceived to look at capacity building from an organisational perspective, trying to address one fundamental question: How do we strengthen the Gram Panchayat as a self governing body, as constituted under Article 243?
The project was executed at two levels: At one level, it was to understand, observe and critique the design and functioning of institutions involved in governance and service delivery to rural citizens. At the second level, with a view to test our various hypotheses as well as to evolve, pragmatic solutions which are implementable in the real context, we worked with two Gram Panchayats in Karnataka, facilitating real time change in an action research mode.
The framework of the GPOD project is based on Organisation Development (OD) principles. The rationale for the using OD framework is its focus on organisation as a whole, and not on standalone components. The premise is that successful change occurs when all components of an organisation are aligned, i.e. the vision, skills, incentives, resources, action plan and results. Our work with the two Panchayats has helped us evolve certain key foundational principles. (1) We believe that the GP is pivotal in improvement of service delivery and governance at the last mile. (2) The focus of capacity building should be on building a strong GP organisation, which will enhance their absorptive capacity to leverage different efforts and resources directed at them. (3) Elected representatives can contribute significantly towards the GPs performing their mandated roles. (4) Lastly, a number of policy changes have to be instituted to create an enabling environment for the GPs to function as equal intergovernmental bodies.
In addition to its current efforts in Karnataka, Arghyam is also looking at scaling up this project with the help of a few academic institutions and the Government of Karnataka.
The crux of mandate of the Foundation for Ecological Security (FES’s) lies in conservation of land, forest and water resources. The organization focuses on the prevailing economic, social and ecological dynamics in rural areas, and introduces principles principles of local self governance for the protection of the natural surroundings and improvement in the living conditions of the poor.
Grama Vikas (GV) focuses on protecting rights of children, natural resource management and networking for comprehensive & sustainable development and empowerment of rural poor communities. The organization primarily works in Kolar, Chickmagalur and Raichur districts of Karnataka.