Grama Shakthi

It has been recognized that the dependency mentality crippling personal initiatives, the inadequate proportion of participation of women in the decision making process although they form half of the population, planning for community development lying in the hands of outsiders who are less sensitive of the realities encountered by the suffering people and lack of access to capital for the poor and its unequal distribution with other factors help perpetuating poverty. The removal of these factors is necessary to alleviate poverty. It has been proven in our country that if information, decision making power and resources are provided to the poor communities, they would effectively manage those resources to overcome poverty.

Lessons learned from Gamidiriya

A number of direct lessons have been learned through Phase 1 implementation and various assessments and evaluation carried out as part of preparation and incorporated in Phase 2 design are:

  • Simple and clear principles (participation, inclusion, transparency, accountability and cost sharing) agreed up-front with communities ensures commitment of key stakeholders.
  • An implementing agency with flexibility and autonomy to act as “guardian of rules” was critical for testing of new models, quick results and compliance to the rules. This institutional arrangement will be maintained until the capacity and systems to take over the tasks are built within the government institution.
  • Empower the local communities to drive the priorities and oversight of investments in their communities through simple operational guidelines, processes and procedures codified in the Community Operational Manual.