Founder - Gramalaya
Tiruchirappalli, Tamil Nadu
S. Damodaran is the Founder of Gramalaya – an Indian NGO that has recently led successful campaigns in the rural and urban areas in Tamil Nadu. Through the Community Led Total Sanitation Campaign and innovative approaches in the water and sanitation sector, the NGO got recognition from Government of India as one of the approved National Key Resource Centre. S.Damodaran is associated with Gramalaya since its inception with more than 30 years of experience in the sanitation sector. He was instrumental in declaring India’s first village Thanadavampatti as 100% open defecation free in Tamil Nadu and declared the India’s first slum Kalmandhai as open defecation free zone with the support of Tiruchirapaplli City Corporation. He has designed the innovative child friendly toilet models suitable for urban slums, anganwadi centres and for the schools. With his mentorship, Guardian Microfinance Institution, a first MFI in the world was promoted by Gramalaya which is only providing loans for household water connections and toilets construction. Upon the successful, repayment of toilet loans and the impact created, several NGOs and MFIs have come forwarded to provide loans for toilet construction in the rural areas and urban areas. Gramalaya is the approved National Key Resource Centre of the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Government of India, New Delhi. Gramalaya was established in 1987 with a group of committed youths in the field of rural development. The ultimate goal of Gramalaya is to work for the amelioration of socially downtrodden people under the integrated rural development approach. Since 1987, Gramalaya has been operating in selected Districts of Tamil Nadu including Thottiyam and Thathaiengarpet and Thuraiyur Block in the rural areas and in the slums of Tiruchirappalli City Corporation in Tiruchirappalli District. Health and hygiene education, promotion of Self-help Groups among rural, urban and tribal women, construction of latrines and safe water supply through micro-credit are the major activities of Gramalaya.
Scalability and Impact:
The successful intervention in the rural, urban and coastal areas (tsunami affected fishermen villages) during the last health intervention, toilet technology park, introduction of water saving toilet pans for rural and baby pans, effective documentation system led Gramalaya to be one of the national and international resource organizations for water and sanitation activities. As a result of the 25 years of hard work and commitment to the vision, Gramalaya is visited every month, weekly by many international organizations, national organizations, Government departments, NGOs, researchers and academicians. Gramalaya is one of the approved Key Resource Centres (KRC) of the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Government of India, New Delhi. Through KRC, Gramalaya will provide training on water and sanitation to the Government Officials and NGO representatives in the three southern states covering Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnakata. The NIWAS located at the Gramalaya Training Centre is having a Centre for Toilet Technology and Training and a Water Technology Park with training infrastructure facilities to accommodate 30 inmates with audio-visual equipments and resource materials. Gramalaya through the support of WaterAid, Water.org and Arghyam has supported the rural families to construct more than 100,000 toilets in Tamil Nadu which are still being maintained and used by the families for a period of 25 years and more sustainably.
Awards and Recognition:
National Urban Water Award to Gramalaya, 2010