Journey of GV

GV was founded by a visionary, the late Dr. N.K.A. Iyer. Dr. Iyer was Administrator and Director, the Rishi Valley School and Rishi Valley Rural Education Centre, Andhra Pradesh. He was also an Advisor and consultant with funding organizations like OXFAM. Later in his career, Dr. Iyer who was born in a village in Kolar District, returned to his roots and set up GV to facilitate development of poor communities.

In 1979, Dr. Iyer started a child development programme in a village with an emphasis on nutrition and health with the support of Novib of The Netherlands. The balwadis (child care and nutrition centers) were set up in 19 villages in Mulbagal Taluk.

In 1983, GV was affiliated to ChildFund International (earlier known as Christian Children’s Fund) to implement a Child Sponsorship Programme for 400 children and their families. In the subsequent years the sponsorship of children increased to 600 and later to 1000 children and their families.

In 2004-2005, GV was requested to take over sponsorship programme which was implemented by another NGO for 600 children and families in the neighbouring Bangarpet taluk of Kolar district and thus the number of sponsorships has had increased 1600.

Building women's grassroots institutions.

In 1982, GV began organizing rural women's groups to enable them to take over and run the child nutrition programmes.

The first of the rural women's groups was Kasturba Mahila Sangha. Dr. Iyer, an agnostic encouraged the organizing of weekly worship of the goddess Lakshmi (a ritual called Lakshmi Pooja) in order to enable women, mothers of children at the center, to gather at Grama Vikas' premises. The group had a President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer. The "mothers' meetings" began with devotional songs and led to discussions on nutrition for children, with a nutritious demonstration meal being prepared and distributed among the women.

In the winter of 1982, at one of the meetings, Sangha members asked GV if it could offer help in ways other than feeding the children. Dr. Iyer asked them if they were talking about loans, if so how much and what for? The women began to hesitantly discuss this aspect - The members of the first women's group organized by GV were taking their first steps towards empowerment. The sangha had given way to a clearly defined group with a purpose, with many more to follow.

Thus were sown the seeds for today's poor rural women’s SHGs in Kolar District.

Beginning with a total of 79 members in four sanghas in 7 villages of Mulbagal Taluk, the sanghas grew both in numbers and membership. From savings and credit, they moved on to addressing community problems. They began to undertake campaigns, against alcoholism and for rejuvenating tanks.


People to people communication

A team of self confident, articulate women drawn from 20 sanghas were instrumental in campaigns like protesting against alcoholism, touring villages spreading the message of the need to rejuvenate tanks and motivating rural women to form new SHGs.

The evolution and growth of GRAMEENA MAHILA OKKUTA (Rural Women's Federation)

The women's groups organised by GV began to coordinate their activities in 1994 and in 1997 they formed their federation, Grameena Mahila Okkuta(GMO). GV facilitated the growth of the federation into an independent entity by providing resources. In 2002, GMO became fully independent of GV. It now has its own infrastructure and is the leading rural women's SHG federation in Karnataka. GMO is currently facilitating the State-level network of SHG federations in Karnataka. GV and GMO continue to work together closely.

In 2002, GMO become independent of Grama Vikas and established it’s own office and started functioning as an independent Organisation by women, for women and of women. GV has handed over Women Empowerment project to GMO and assisting it whenever request comes from it.

For further information of GMO, Contact: Mrs.M.S.Jayalakshmi, Administrator, Grameena Mahila Okkuta, Honnasetthalli, Yelagondahalli P.O, Mulbagal Taluk, Kolar District, Pin. 563127, Karnataka.Email : Mobile No: +91-9448084568.

In 2007, GV has expanded it’s project area to Raichur taluk of Raichur distirct in North Karnataka. In Raichur GV has had implemented Child Focussed programmes with the support of Zilla Panchayat and Child Projection Unit of Deputy Commissioner’s office in the areas of Behavioural Change through Communication techniques and strengthening of  School Development and Monitoring Committees(SDMCs) to stop school dropout rates in Raichur taluk villages.

In 2011, with the support of Sir Dorabjiee Tata Trust (SDTT), Mumbai, GV started working with 50 rural communities in 10 GP to strengthen the delivery of  Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA).

In January 2011, GV with the support of Arghyam, Bangalore started facilitating a project called Grama Panchayat  Organisational Development (GPOD) in one Grama Panchayat (GP) called O.Mittur GP in Mulbagal taluk of Kolar district. It is a research project and the research is to strengthen the Gram Panchayat as an institution of self governance, as constituted under Article 243-B, for the rural areas? GV has completed 2 years of work and it has enriched GV’s experience in this area as well. This project will come to an end by 2015 February.

In 2012, GV has initiated a 3 year project to work with 500 cotton growing families in 4 villages of Yapaladinne GP in Raichur taluk with the support of Rabobank Foundation, The Netherlands. At the end of the project period,  to address sustainability of the programme a Farmers Producers Company will emerge in which 500 farmers will be the share holders.