GRAM-UTTHAN is an NGO, working primarily in Kendrapara and Seven other adjoining districts in the state of Orissa. It has been one of the leading developmental organizations not only in the district but also in the state. Initially it started developmental intervention in Pimpuri village of Kendrapara district, today it has become one of the major developmental agencies recognized and appraised by local, regional, national and even international development partners.
It was in the year 1990 that a team of social workers having previous experience in development sector came together and formed a society namely ‘GRAM-UTTHAN’ for the development of rural villages. ‘GRAM-UTTHAN’ literally means ‘Raising of Village’, that is exactly the sole motto of the organization.
GRAM-UTTHAN initially struggled for small grants and worked for rural poor of the locality through various activities concentrated on their Health & Sanitation, Education and livelihood related issues. In this phase, GU experimented with various developmental activities, which helped GU and its staff in learning the dynamics and various issues of rural development.
It was a learning point for GRAM-UTTHAN how a poor woman can make use of such small credit in a perspective way. Realizing the zeal of the women for taking up economic activities and their ability to utilize and repay loan funds, GU tried to provide loan assistance to its SHGs. By 1996 GU was able to mobilize loan fund for this cause from institutions such as Rashtriya Mahila Kosh (RMK), National Minorities Development Finance Corporation (NMDFC) etc. and started giving small loans to the SHGs for supporting economic activities. Such transaction not only helped the groups for better utilization of finance, but also the message was spread to other women who voluntarily made groups and approached GRAM-UTHAN to follow its principles and rules and avail support service from it.