Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Capacity Building Workshop and Exposure Visit to Model Village, Hyderabad, June 21 -22, 2011

The first Capacity Building Workshop of the Hyderabad Project was organised on June 21st and 22nd, 2011. This workshop was targeted towards community and government officials working at the local level in the peri-urban field sites. The workshop was meant to understand issues from the implementation agencies and introduce them to ideas of citizen participation and building public-private partnership in accessing water services through talks, discussions and an exposure visit to Gangadevipally model village in Warangal, Andhra Pradesh. This provided an opportunity to interact and learn among members of the group regarding better governance practices and addressing issues of water management, tank restoration and village level development in favour of the vulnerable communities.

 A total of 22 government and community officials 
 attended the Capacity Building Workshop

 22 government and community officials from four villages and sub-districts of peri-urban Hyderabad participated in the two-day workshop conducted at Warangal. The visit to the model village was made on the first day and group discussions and shared learning on the second day. 

Gangadevipally village Sarpanch addressing the participants 
on how the village developed into a self-sufficient model village. 

Gangadevipally village: Gangadevipally is a village in Geesukonda Mandal in Warangal district of Andhra Pradesh and is 160 km far from Hyderabad. This village has been setting new trends by adopting innovative approaches in community development. Sarpanch Mr. Kusam Raja Mouli initiated the transformation of this village by banning the sale and consumption of alcohol first. Till the year 1993, this village faced severe water scarcity. Bala Vikasa Social Service Society, a Warangal-based NGO assisted in solving the drinking water problem here by uniting the community strongly who contributed their money, time and labour in completing the project which provided a permanent solution to their water needs. Villagers were formed into 18 groups and leaders were elected from each group and thus, a water committee was formed. Water projects have become an important source of income generation in this village. There are 22 committees in the village looking after education, health, farmers’ development, women’s issues, environment protection etc. Majority of the families participate and get an opportunity to lead some or the other committee and all the villagers abide by the decisions of the committee. This village has been adjudged the best mandal level and district level village more than once and has received the Bharatha Ratna Rajiv Gandhi best village award at the national level (in 2007). 40% of the current residents in the village have migrated here in the last 15 years due to improved facilities and opportunities.

Enthusiastic children at Gangadevipally. 100 percent children have access to education in this village.
Participants at Fort Warangal
 Day 2: Day two started with an early morning visit to the exquisite Fort Warangal – which was the capital of the Kakatiya dynasty. Post breakfast, Mr. R. Murali, Convenor of MARI, facilitated a discussion session. Ten guest village officials from another Anantaram village also participated in this session. Anantaram has been recently awarded the 'Model Village of India' title and is located in Jinnaram Mandal of Medak district of Andhra Pradesh. Along with eight women community leaders, the village Sarpanch introduced their village and various effective development measures undertaken.

After a rich round of discussion on various village related issues, Mr. Murali then facilitated the group to discuss factors that have led to the processes of change in the two model villages and the steps that need to be adopted to replicate this in other villages. It was understood that shared leadership and decentralisation of power is the most important factor. Apart from this, shared norms and consensus, facilitation and support from organisations especially NGOs, awareness about on-going village schemes, and coordination with the immediate line departments to facilitate this process were many of the factors identified by the group for the efficient functioning of the gram sabha. 

The workshop concluded with suggestions and experience sharing from each participant individually. Options for intervention in the peri-urban field villages and ways of actualizing them were discussed. The villagers suggested protecting the Shamirpet lake by installing a water purification plant, while the Ravirala village folk suggested having a tree plantation drive in order to recharge their very low water table. Village action plan for each of the 4 sites was discussed and formulated.

- by Vasundhara Dash 


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