Government, Corporates, Civil Society/Not for Profit Organizations, among others, invest huge amount of financial resources on programs to develop rural India. However, last mile delivery challenges due to gaps in information and inadequate participation at grassroots level makes it difficult to fully achieve the stated objectives. Members of village-level institutions are also constrained by poor awareness, insufficient skills and limited resources, and therefore struggle to lead development activities in villages. Rural women are at an added disadvantage due to wide gender gaps in education and skill development, as well as, limited knowledge on health and hygiene, financial security and general lack of confidence.
Local participation is critical for the success of any development program as it allows for representation along with inclusion of local knowledge and practices, leading to more equitable and sustained outcomes. It enables communities to take an active lead and eventually own the development program or initiative, thus validating the effort of agencies and ensuring sustainability of the impact created.