Gram Vikas: helping rural communities lead a dignified life

Gram Vikas began in 1979 as part of a student-led movement to provide aid to victims of the 1971 cyclone in Orissa. Till date, this organization  has helped over 4 lakh people in improving water and sanitation facilities. Gram Vikas works to empower village communities and provide a dignified quality of life to people living in Orissa, Jharkand, Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh. Their programs focus on multiple levels of empowerment and safety, from enabling children to adopt safe and hygienic practices to educational reforms.

Through their flagship program – MANTRA (Movement and Action Network for Transformation of Rural Areas), Gram Vikas is attempting to shake the mentality that those living in rural areas should have access to poor or low quality solutions for problems that they encounter. They also believe in disproving the idea that low cost resolutions are the most economical ones.

We talked to Chitra Choudhary, who has been a part of Gram Vikas team since 2007, at BRAC Frugal Innovation Forum held in Dhaka, Bangladesh.  She’s the manager of National Resources at Gram Vikas as well as in charge of operations and documentation. In this exclusive interview, she talks about what motivates her, the impact that Gram Vikas had so far and all that the organization hopes to achieve in the near future. Chitra also talks about the importance of not only working in rural communities but also why it is important to associate with organizations that work with rural communities. Chitra also discusses the important work of the MANTRA program and how it is transforming the lives that it reaches out to.

Hear it from Chitra:

Know more about Gram Vikas here

This article is part of a series of interviews that were taken at the 2014 BRAC Frugal Innovation Forum: Scaling Digitally. Please visit here to find other article in the series.

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