Joe Madiath

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Joe Madiath
Joe Madiath, Skoll Foundation.jpg
Madiath at the Skoll World Forum in 2011
Joseph Madiath

(1950-12-03) 3 December 1950 (age 68)
Cheruvally, Kerala, India
ResidenceMohuda, Orissa, India
Occupationsocial entrepreneur & founder of Gram Vikas

Joe Madiath (born 3 December 1950) is an Indian social entrepreneur. He is the founder and former executive director of Gram Vikas,[1] a non-governmental organisation based in Orissa, India. Gram Vikas uses common concerns for water and sanitation to unite and empower rural communities, including adivasi communities.

Childhood and career[edit]

Joe Madiath's social activism began at the age of 12, when he helped organise young workers employed by his own father, helping them to fight for better work conditions. As a result, his father sent him away to a boarding school in Kerala.[2] Years later, his father finally accepted his son's views and became supportive of his work as a social entrepreneur.[3]

Madiath studied English literature at the University of Madras, where he was elected the President of the Students' Union of Loyola College, Chennai. There, he founded the Young Students' Movement for Development (YSMD). During this time, he also cycled solo across India, gaining insight into the plight of the poor.

In 1971, Madiath led 400 YSMD volunteers to West Bengal to manage relief camps for refugees from the Bangladesh Liberation War. Witnessing the devastation of the 1971 Orissa cyclone, and realising the comparatively little attention received by the disaster victims, Madiath and a small group of volunteers shifted their attention there. Once their relief efforts were completed, Madiath and a few colleagues from the YSMD decided to stay in Orissa to work as development activists. On invitation from the district authorities, they moved to Ganjam district in 1976 to begin work with adivasi communities. Madiath founded Gram Vikas in 1979.

Work with Gram Vikas[edit]

Since 1979, with Joe Madiath serving as Executive Director, Gram Vikas has worked mostly with adivasi communities in rural Orissa on a number of development projects, including biogas promotion, community forestry, rural habitat development, and education.[4] The bulk of Gram Vikas' efforts have been on water and sanitation solutions for the rural poor of Orissa.

Gram Vikas uses the "universally important needs of drinking water and sanitation" to bring villagers together and realise how collective action can lead to gains for the community. The fundamentals of Gram Vikas' approach are 100% participation from all villagers, with "clearly defined stakes and mechanisms for institutional and financial sustainability."[5]

As of March 2011, Gram Vikas has reached 1089 communities, with a total population of over 298,000 mainly in Orissa, but also in Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, and Andhra Pradesh.[6]

As of January 2015, Gram Vikas has partnered with more than 70,000 families covering 400,000 poor.[7]


Personal recognition[edit]

Awarded to Gram Vikas[edit]

See also[edit]

Runcie C. W. Chidebe


  1. ^ Duflo, Esther; Banerjee, Abhijit (12 January 2012). Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty. PublicAffairs. pp. 46–. ISBN 978-1-58648-798-0. Retrieved 12 January 2012.
  2. ^ Pradeep, K. "In Pursuit of Social Justice". The Hindu. Retrieved 12 January 2012.
  3. ^ "Profile: Joseph Madiath". Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship. Retrieved 12 January 2012.[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ "Bringing Water Supply and Sanitation Services to Tribal Villages in Orissa the Gram Vikas Way". Country Water Action: India. Asian Development Bank. Retrieved 12 January 2012.
  5. ^ Madiath, Joe; R.V. Jayapadma (2005). "Learning by Doing – Sowing the Seeds of Local Governance". IRMA Symposium on "Decentralization and Local Governance".
  6. ^ Gram Vikas Annual Report. Gram Vikas. 2010–2011. p. 2.
  7. ^ "Joe Madiath". Skoll Foundation.
  8. ^ Dueñas, Ma. Christina. "Water Champion: Joe Madiath – Championing 100% Sanitation Coverage in Rural Communities in India". Asian Development Bank. Archived from the original on 28 May 2011. Retrieved 12 January 2012.
  9. ^ "Profile: Joseph Madiath". Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship. Retrieved 12 January 2012.[permanent dead link]
  10. ^ Parichay Foundation, Shrie Awards. "Social Worker: Joe Madiath – Life Time Achievement Award for Social Work-". Odisha Live. Retrieved 19 June 2016.
  11. ^ Sweeney, Tracie (5 April 1996). "India's Gram Vikas to receive Alan Shawn Feinstein World Hunger Award". The Brown University News Bureau. Retrieved 12 January 2012.
  12. ^ "2001 Global Development Awards and Medals Competition". Global Development Network. Archived from the original on 23 April 2012. Retrieved 12 January 2012.
  13. ^ "Winner (2003) – Rural Health and Environment Programme". World Habitat Awards. Retrieved 12 January 2012.
  14. ^ "The Tech Awards Laureates 2003". The Tech Awards. Archived from the original on 13 January 2012. Retrieved 12 January 2012.
  15. ^ "Announcement of the winner of the Kyoto World Water Grand Prize" (PDF). World Water Council. Retrieved 12 January 2012.
  16. ^ "Social Entrepreneurs: Joe Madiath". Retrieved 12 January 2012.

External links[edit]