Water for Tribals

Aga Khan Rural Support Programme (India)

The Aga Khan Rural Support Programme (India) is a non-denominational, non-government development organization. AKRSP(I) works as a catalyst for the betterment of rural communities by providing direct support to local communities. AKRSP (India) is active in over 2700 villages of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar. It has impacted the lives of over 1.5 million people from marginalised sections of society. Over 80% of the households impacted by AKRSP(I) work belong to marginalised societies like tribals, Dalits, minorities and other backward classes. Over 60% of beneficiaries are women who form the core group for program interventions.

AKRSP(I) has pioneered various participatory development approaches in the country over a period of time and it has won various national and international accolades for this. The backbone of AKRSP (I)’s work is the empowerment of rural communities particularly underprivileged and women through collectivization as well as the promotion of individual enterprises. Building self-reliant people’s institutions for financial inclusion, livelihoods enhancement and improved rural governance is the heart of the organization’s approach.

Currently, the organization has major interventions in the areas of Women Empowerment, Sustainable Agriculture and Livestock Development, Natural Resources Management, Early Childhood Development and Primary Education, Skills and Enterprise Development for Youth, Clean Energy, Rural Governance, and, Drinking Water and Sanitation.

“Water for Tribals” Initiative

Rounds of dialogue among various organisations working on water issues in the central tribal belt of India led to a common understanding that the prosperity of rural households relies heavily on water. However, their experience after decades of work revealed that there is still insufficient water access and control for irrigation and drinking purposes in tribal areas and related policies and programmes need specific attention from tribal communities to improve the prevailing scenario.  It was realised that a concerted effort is needed to understand and address this further which lead to the establishment of a dedicated unit named Water for Tribals (WatTri).

WatTri is a collaborative initiative between Axis Bank Foundation and its NGO partners. It was started in 2019 with the aim to influence policies for enhanced water control for tribal communities. The initiative is anchored at AKRSP(I) and works on research and policy for tribal communities in the central Indian tribal belt.

WatTri works on issues of water management related to irrigation and drinking water in the tribal areas of central India with the mission to bring about systemic changes in practice, policy and programs leading to enhanced control over water resources for tribal communities. WatTri envisions a self-reliant tribal society with access to timely availability of sufficient quantity and good quality of water leading to assured livelihood, reduced poverty and better quality of life.

WatTri’s objectives are to conduct policy-related research on water control for tribal communities; to advocate for and influence policies for enhanced water control for tribal communities; to disseminate information on water control for tribal communities; to build a collaboration of governmental and non-governmental institutions and organizations for enhanced water control for tribal communities.

At WatTri we conduct research in collaboration with various civil society organisations, think-tanks; we partner with relevant governmental and non-governmental institutions and stakeholders for evidence gathering, anchoring support, and policy influence; we collate information to create a repository of policy, practice and research on water control for tribal communities; we conduct & organise workshops, webinars and seminars and other such activities to disseminate information towards bringing change on the ground.


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