Students from the Karlsruhe Institute for Technology (KIT) are involved in "Engineers without Borders" (EWB) projects for development cooperation worldwide. They bring their engineering know-how to drive forward sustainable improvements in the living conditions of the local indigenous population.
The village of Hudisahi in Odisha, India, is largely populated by tribal peoples, the Adivasi. The families of eight to twelve live there in poor conditions under one roof, without any electricity or sanitary facilities. There is also only limited access to clean drinking water. The aim of the Gramodaya project is to sustainably improve village life in Hudisahi and to create a place of community for the tribal dwellers. "Gramodaya" is a term coined by Mahatma Gandhi and stands for the sustainable development of the village from the heart of the community.
A 35-strong team of students from the KIT planned and organized the project. Following the first visit the EWB team, together with the village population, decided to build a community center with a solar electricity supply. A second focal point of the project is a biogas system which makes it possible to cook without firewood. The systems are simple and enable the village inhabitants to implement the concept themselves and spread the word about them. The community center with a photovoltaic system was inaugurated at the end of March 2017. It enables the building to be supplied with electricity. The final biogas concept was also established.
The community center now offers a space for village meetings and enables the schoolchildren to do their homework by light in the evenings. In addition to this, seminars on sustainable farming, health provision and women's rights are held in the building. In order to impart life skills and important know-how to the people of the Adivasi tribe, the ACM (Antyodaya Chetana Mandal), a partner organization of the EWB, also holds seminars at the community center.
As part of its social commitment, Daimler is sponsoring some projects and plans of Engineers without Borders in the areas of water supply, power generation, education and infrastructure. The "Gramodaya" is one such project.