Decentralised governance as provided by the 73rd Constitutional Amendment has put the focus on Gram Panchayats as institutions of self-government. This means that Gram Panchayats are responsible to plan and implement numerous central and state government programmes. This includes delivery of safe, adequate drinking water to people and provision of sanitation facilities. However, this has not been matched by investments in building capacities and systems to shoulder these responsibilities.
The project aimed at building capacities of the Gram Panchayat staff in systematic local planning using the Water Use Master Plan (WUMP) approach. It also sought to create community awareness on environmental sanitation and to explain provisions under various government programs and to implement water and sanitation interventions in a transparent manner. Based on the plans prepared, the gram panchayat was also helped to implement some key activities pertaining to water and sanitation.
- All Gram Panchayat members understood the importance of water conservation and adoption of safe sanitation through the baseline and WUMP exercises.
- Comprehensive ward-wise baseline information and WUMP report has been prepared, which is being used by Gram Panchayats to prioritize the interventions
- Several rounds of CLTS training and awareness campaigning has led to reduction in open defecation by 50% and change in hygiene behaviour (regular cleaning of roads, drains, wells etc.)
- WUMP prepared and implemented. Around Rs. 50 lakh has been mobilized from various GP schemes towards water & sanitation activities.
- The Gram Panchayat has opened a separate bank account for receiving project funds by seeking permission from the collector, for the first time in Odisha.