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Community participation in water and sanitation programmes

Gram Vikas is a voluntary organisation working in the eastern state of Orissa in India since 1979. Through the process of MANTRA (Movement and Action Network for Transformation of Rural Areas), it has been implementing a water and sanitation programme across the state which stresses participatory planning and implementation. This article details the process of ensuring community participation undertaken by Gram Vikas. Gram Vikas’s experience tells us that building community participation is time-consuming and cannot be taken for granted. The end result—of social transformation—through community participation is sustainable, and well worth the effort and wait.