Godavari Tanda's Story of Transformation
Godavari Tanda is situated in the draught affected Parbhani district of Maharashtra. The total population of the village is approximately 1000. The villagers belong to Lamani Banjara community. Until a few years ago, the villagers had to face a lot of problems. They had to walk miles to fetch drinking water. There were no roads. There was a shortage of electricity and people were not educated. Girls were not allowed to attend school. But the biggest problem they faced was that they never tried to discuss and solve their problems collectively.
The situation of the village started to change in 2011. The youth of the village formed an association called Godavari Tanda Shetkari Samiti. They wanted to bring about a change in a change in the village and they needed some guidance for the same. To begin with, Reliance Foundation took them to Hivare market to show them what an ideal village looks like. The youth realised it for the first time that if the villagers want then even they can transform the village.
Approximately, 40 villagers came forward and promised to take part in village’s development. Reliance Foundation came to this village in 2011 and they encouraged people to gather at one place and discuss their problem. There was a change in people.
The next step was to unite the villagers. After Gram Panchayat’s initiative, villagers started collectively discussing their problems and tried to find out solution to those problems. With everyone’s contribution and acceptance, village development schemes were formulated. To carry out these developmental plans, the youth leaders of the village were given training. They first initiated a cleanliness drive in the village, and then a campaign against open defecation was started.
Women started imitative against alcoholism in the village and closed down all the alcohol shops. Elderly women and youth leaders were included in the Gram Panchayat, and slowly they started attending Gram Sabha meetings.
Pragyabai Bhima Rathod, Gram Sabha Member, Godavari Tanda says – ‘Earlier, alcohol was sold in the village. Men used to get drunk and fight in their homes. So we shut all the alcohol shops in the village.’
It is the result of villagers’ collective effort that disputes are now solved by the Panchayat. Drinking water is supplied to homes directly through the pipes in Godavari Tanda. There is no open defecation in the village as well because every household has a toilet now. There are primary schools and qualified teachers for the education of villages’ children. Micro Irrigation has helped in optimum utilisation of the water resources for irrigation purposes. The villagers now have accidental insurance and crops. Solar energy now provides electricity on the roads even at night. Birth of a girl child is now celebrated in the village.
Women take part in the Gram Panchayat meetings now where they don’t hesitate to put forward their need and thoughts. This is the reason that women are now being treated as equals.
Biogas plants have been installed in the village which has freed women of the burden of funding wood for cooking and harmful smoke. Gram Panchayat has also prioritized education. Villagers primary school is equipped with e-learning facilities. RO purified now understand importance of educating their children.
Landless families have started goat rearing in their homes so that they can earn by staying in the village itself. Because of the Panchayat’s initiative, every household is covered under family insurance. Every villager has a bank account and they do not have to go to the bank instead, bank friend comes to their doorstep and provides them all the bank services.
Godavari Tanda Gram Panchayat has been awarded various awards for their initiatives, one of which is Sant Gadgebaba Swachhata Award.
Development of Godavari Tanda is a prime learning example but for any development, a village needs to change the mindset of the villagers. Ideal village is formed by ideal villagers. For development, villagers should first think of the village and its facilities as their own. For the residents of Godavari Tanda, village’s development is their own development.
Reliance Foundation is an Indian initiative which was founded in 2000 by Dhirubhai Ambani. It is affiliated with Reliance Industries Limited and is one of the largest private foundations in the country. Reliance Foundation is the Top CSR spender for the third year in a row in the country
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