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Successful NGOs

  1. DHAN
  2. NERD
  4. National Agro Foundation
  5. REPCO Foundation for Micro Credit
  6. SEVA


Development of Human Action (DHAN) Foundation, a professional development organisation, was initiated on October 2, 1997. It has been incorporated as a Trust under the Indian Trusts Act (1882). The Trust has been promoted with the objective of bringing highly motivated and educated young women and men to the development sector. They would work on bringing out new innovations in rural development and for upscaling development interventions to eradicate poverty in vast areas of the country.The Foundation works towards bringing significant changes in the livelihoods of the poor through innovations in themes and institutions.

Vision and Mission

The Foundation works towards bringing significant changes in the livelihoods of the poor through innovations in themes and institutions. The broad purposes for which it stands are:

  • Mothering of Development Innovations: The institution aims to promote and nurture new ideas on different development themes, which have larger potential to address the livelihoods and development of the poor in a region viz., microfinance, small scale irrigation, dry land agriculture, working with panchayats.
  • Promoting Institutions to reach scale: Exclusive thematic organisations will be promoted to undertake development work with a sub-sectoral focus. The primary role of these institutions is promotional and to ensure that benefits reach a large number of poor with quality.
  • Human Resource Development: The institution would bring young professionals into the development sector and provide them an opportunity to practice and develop relevant knowledge, attitudes and skills to work long term in the development sector.

Guiding principles

  1. Engaging high quality human resources to work at the grassroots. The focus of the work would be on enabling rather than delivery of services.
  2. Valuing collaboration with mainstream institutions and government to demonstrate new and effective ways of development interventions, thereby building viable linkages between them and people.
  3. Promoting people’s organisations at various levels to ensure entitlements and to build an effective demand system.
  4. Focusing on promotion of livelihoods to address poverty directly.
  5. Enriching the themes and retaining sub-sectoral focus would be the strategy for growth.

Policy contribution at national and global level

DHAN Foundation through the Tankfed Agriculture Development Programme has facilitated wider consultations among farmers, bureaucrats, scientists and academicians. This has been done through organising policy seminars and workshops, undertaking research and publishing documents and participating in various policy making bodies of State and Central Governments on development of water, small scale irrigation and rural development.

In Tamil Nadu and Karnataka 'Conservation Council for Small Scale Water Resources' has been constituted with eminent personalities to influence the policies on water and small scale irrigation in favour of farmers.

While through the Kalanjiam Community Banking Programme, DHAN Foundation as a member of many policy-making bodies on microfinance and through participating in national and international conferences, strongly advocates refocusing of 'microfinance' to address poverty and empowerment of poor especially women

As a resource centre, it organises many capacity building events and training programmes for bankers, government officials and representatives of NGOs within and outside the country.

DHAN Foundation is a founder member of INAFI (International Network of Alternative Financial Institutions) focuses on micro finance. It is currently coordinating the INAFI India Chapter. DHAN Foundation works in a highly decentralized manner in keeping with the diversity of themes, contexts, technology etc. with which it is working.

Silhouette of woman in water

DHAN Foundation's two thematic programmes, Kalanjiam and Vayalagam are scaling up in a significant manner. DHAN Foundation is continuously on the lookout for new innovations in development, which can impact the lives of the poor in a sustainable manner. These initiatives provide new opportunities and challenges to DHAN Foundation.

Tata-Dhan Academy , Information Technology for the poor, Rainfed Agriculture and Working with Panchayats - are the other programmes promoted by DHAN Foundation as a development initiative to address poverty. The Central Office does the integration across functions and programmes.

Kalanjiam Community Banking Programme

The Kalanjiam Community Banking Programme focuses on women and believes that localised financial institutions owned and controlled by women are an effective strategy to impact on poverty and gender issues.

The primary unit of community financial institutions is the Self-Help Group of 15 to 20 poor women and is called the Kalanjiam. They act as a single window at their doorsteps for the savings and credit transactions.

The cluster and federation at panchayat and block levels are the nested institutions at next higher levels. They help the Kalanjiams address other social and development needs of the members such as drinking water, health, education, sanitation, access to basic infrastructure, alcoholism gender issues etc. there by enhancing the sustainability of these institutions.

They help create linkages with banks and apex financial institutions to meet the multiple credit needs of members, collaborate with other development agencies such as government to demand and access their entitlements, implement civic programmes such as in health and education for their members, provide insurance services etc.

The programme has taken the shape of a movement called the ‘Kalanjia Iyyakam’ working towards bringing more women into the fold of the Kalanjiams. The Kalanjiam Movement is implementing a number of innovative programmes for reaching out to more women. The Kalanjiam Foundation has been promoted for upscaling the Kalanjiam nested institutions model.

Vayalagam Tankfed Agriculture Development Programme

The tanks which are the village common properties had survived and supported millions of people over the centuries because of the institutional mechanisms. Historically, development of tank irrigation which is the major source of livelihood in the peninsular India had been built up by the kings, local chiefs and philanthropies of the region. The ancient village assemblies commonly called 'Gramasabhas' existed all over the south in different forms and names helped these resources to be optimized to the full extent.

The age old inscriptions say that management of irrigation through the village tanks was one of the major agenda of the village assemblies. The revenue generated by the villages apart from the corpus funds they had for management of tanks were also used as the main source by the assemblies to safeguard the tanks from damages and destruction. The village assemblies kept the resources sustainable and livelihood was ensured to the people.


Ooranis are small pond structures which would meet out the water needs of the people and conserve ground water level. The cost of water supply through Oorani rehabilitation is affordable. The effects are sustainable with out any adverse effect on environment.


Later the changes in the administration setup led to the centralization of management of these common properties and the tanks are left with no resources on their own to safeguard them as it was done in the past. In this process the livelihood of farmers was affected and the village economy became weak. The Vayalagam Tankfed Agriculture Development Programme works for the conservation, development and management of tank systems. The programme believes that the regeneration of local management of the tank system can be a major solution to this problem in the long run. This is being done by organising the farmers around the tanks and later on at the level of cascade, block, district etc.

Tata - Dhan Academy

Tata-Dhan Academy aims at becoming a Centre of Excellence in Development Management Education, Training and Research. It nurtures and grooms young graduates, both boys and girls, as Development Professionals possessing multidisciplinary knowledge including applied technologies relevant to the ‘context’ of the development work. Equally high is the emphasis on ‘learning’ and building knowledge’ through action-reflection-action mode. Side by side the focus is on building high quality techno-managerial competencies supported by appropriate motivations, values and attitudes to work with people, particularly the disadvantaged.

Tata-Dhan Academy is the result of an unique partnership between DHAN Foundation and Sir Ratan Tata Trust (SRTT). The Academy was initiated in December 2000. Tata-Dhan Academy offers a Two year Post Graduate Programme in Development Management. It also offers short duration Development Management Programmes for NGOs, academicians, researchers, government agencies, etc.

Rainfed Farming

The Rainfed agriculture plays an important role in Indian economy covering 68 per cent of the total net sown area spread over 177 districts. Uncertainty in production due to fluctuations in total rainfall and changes in its distribution, decrease in relative productivity in rainfed lands etc. affect the livelihoods of many poor and marginalised farmers. Considering the importance and issues of rainfed farming, DHAN Foundation initiated an experimental project on Rainfed Agriculture with following objectives.

  i) Understanding the status and issues of rainfed farming in the locations selected and identification of specific interventions.

  ii) Improving the total factor productivity of rainfed farming.

The new theme was launched on October 2, 2002 on the occasion of the DHAN Foundation Day celebrations. The pilot project is in the initial phase of implementation.

Information & Communication Technology for Poor

Technology as a tool has broken many barriers in availing and using information across the world and increased the efficiency of organisations and individuals. However there exists a great divide in the access and usage between urban and rural, rich and poor, for profits and charities. DHAN Foundation has taken up Information Technology for poor as a new theme with the following objectives :

  • Making information technology accessible to poor by developing relevant schemes through research and pilot activities.
  • Collaborating with research and academic institutions on e-governance and computer education at schools in rural areas.

As part of the programme, internet kiosks in the rural areas as well as urban slums are set up through which services such as computer education, e-mail, ePost, agricultural market intelligence, etc. are rendered. Computer aided adult literacy centres for the Kalanjiam and Vayalagam members and computer training centres for the children of members of Kalanjiam and Vayalagam are also set up through the programme.

Working With Panchayats

The history of the village level Panchayat institutions in India goes back to hundreds of years. In the post-independence period, the Panchayat systems were largely neglected. DHAN Foundation has realised that these Panchayat institutions at the village need to be vibrant and responsive to the needs of the people to bring about lasting progress in the villages benefiting people of all classes. This will lead to the empowerment of the poor and weaker sections.

The new theme on ‘Democratising Panchayats’ has been taken up on a pilot basis with the following objectives :

  i) Promoting and strengthening of village level institutions as functional groups in the Panchayat to ensure people’s participation.

  ii) Sustaining the Panchayat institutions to access resources and reduce its dependence on the State.

  iii) Integrating the existing traditional systems with the Panchayats to enhance the participation of the people and achieve synergy.

Centre for Integration

DHAN Foundation works in a highly decentralized manner in keeping with the diversity of themes, contexts, technology etc. with which it is working. DHAN Foundation’s two thematic programmes are scaling up in a significant manner. DHAN Foundation is continuously on the lookout for new innovations in development, which can impact the lives of the poor in a sustainable manner. These initiatives provide new opportunities and challenges to DHAN Foundation. The two themes - Tata-Dhan Academy and Information Technology for the poor have moved from the pilot stage to the next stage and two more themes - Rainfed Agriculture and Working with Panchayats are being piloted. The Central Office does the integration across functions and programmes. The major functions are human resource development, resource mobilisation, strategic planning, review and guidance to the programmes, support in the policy advocacy efforts, promotion and nurturing of new themes etc.


Non-conventional Energy and Rural Development (i.e. NERD) society was established in the year 1984 and it is registered under societies registration Act and the foreign contribution Regulation Act. A small Women group of development workers initiated an integrated development programme, in consensus with national development policies.

The Non-conventional Energy and Rural Development (i.e. NERD) Society is implementing many programmes including empowerment of women through promotion of Self Help Groups, Promotion of Renewable Energy programmes including Biogas programme, Solar energy programmes and Improved Smokeless Chulha programme, Waste management and treatment, Water conservation, Vermi-composting and Organic farming program.

Solar lantern program

The society has promoted about 260 solar lanterns and opened 4 sales cum service centers as follow up mechanism.

Night soil linked Biogas plant program

The maintenance of Community toilets was the major concern so far. Now the Self Help Groups are maintaining the toilets in a clean and better environment. But the groups were facing the problem of paying the monthly electricity bill for the lighting and water pumping. Further they have to empty the septic tank since it is getting filled with night soil often. To overcome these problems, NERD Society has designed and promoted the night soil based biogas plant for treating the night soil through anaerobic digestion in an environmental friendly way. In this context, the NERD Society has installed 12 night soil linked demonstration biogas plants in 12 districts of Tamilnadu state to meet the lighting and pumping energy need of Women and sanitary Complexes run by the SHG’s.

Solar cooker program

Solar cooker is an environmental friendly cooking device making use of natural solar energy. So far about 150 cookers have been promoted.

Biogas program

Biogas is an efficient cooking fuel. In comparison to the impending depletion of the nature sources such as fuel wood and the ever – escalating prices of commercial fuels like LPG, Biogas is efficient user friendly and safe fuel. Biogas is free of smoke and soot. A cow and a calf can assuredly meet the cooking fuel needs of a small household. Biogas is definitely a boon to housewives in the rural areas of India. The society has installed 10,500 biogas plants during the last 23 years.

Improved smokeless Chulha program

This is an improved cook stove, which consumes less fuel but without smoke due to proper combustion. The program has installed about 4550 smokeless chulhas benefiting landless poor laborers.

Waste management program

Disposal and treatment of solid waste is a major problem not only for big cities but also for small towns. The burning of plastic waste creates environmental hazards to human beings. The present collection system is also not efficient one. Peoples have to be motivated for the segregation of waste at the source level itself, otherwise it is not economical to segregate waste in the dumping yard. Many towns have failed in the segregation of waste in the dumping yard. In order to demonstrate the scientific way of waste collection, segregation, treatment and disposal, the nearby Vadavalli town has been selected by the NERD Society. Sixty poor women were selected in the Vadavalli town and they were formed as four Self Help Groups. They are being involved for the waste collection. The town panchayat authorities are paying the wages for the selected SHG members with the supply of pushcart for the collection of waste. The peoples are motivated for the segregation of waste at the source itself. It is planned to install vermi-composting units for the conversion of waste in to value added organic manure. By the selling of manure by the unemployed youth, the system will become a sustainable one without any more financial requirement. The Toyota foundation is supporting this innovative scientific solid waste management programme.


In order to convert the domestic and agricultural waste materials in to value added organic materials, a simple vermi-composting unit is designed and installed in houses, farms and educational institutions. The organic manure obtained through vermi-composting replaces the chemical fertilizer and also helpful for the sustainable organic farming.

Tribal Electrification with Biogas

It is proposed to electrify the Thalingi Tribal Settlement and to meet the cooking demand through Biogas Generation. The Thalingi Settlement is located in Amaravathy Forest Division, Udumalpet Taluk, Coimbatore (District), Tamilnadu State. The Tribal hamlet is not yet electrified and there is no transport facility to that hamlet, which is in the interior forest at a distance of 6 KM from the main connecting road. There is no proposal to electrify the hamlet in the near future because it is located in the interior forest area. The cooking demand is met through firewood by cutting the trees and collecting it. The lighting demand is met by the Kerosene.

Watershed Development Programme 

In recent years, there has been a growth of awareness among the community regarding the need to manage the natural resources hamelt land, water and vegetation on a rational basis. Simultaneously understanding of related issues like equity, sustainability and people's initiatives in natural resource management have also grown considerably.. NERD Society has identified Vadavalli Watershed Program in Annur Block of Coimbatore District and 1750 Hectare of land is under development with financial assistance of CAPART, Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India, NewDelhi.

We are conducting the training programmes for artisans and women self help group members involved in Renewable energy and the following other related programmes :

For more information contact :

NERD Society
Non- Conventianal Energy and Rual Development
249, Chitthi Vinayakar Colony,
Coimbatore, 641041
Tamilnadu (State), India
E-mail :

Source: -


MYRADA through its various programs reaches out to people in various districts of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh and is providing on-going support including deputations of staff to programmes in 6 other States. It also promotes the Self Help Affinity strategy in Cambodia, Myanmar and Bangladesh.While the objective is to help the poor help themselves, MYRADA achieves this by forming Self Help Affinity Groups (SHGs) and through partnerships with NGOs and other organisations


  • To foster a process of ongoing change in favour the rural poor in a way in which this process can be sustained by them through building and managing appropriate and innovative local institutions rooted in values of justice, equity and mutual support.

  • To promote strategies and skills through which the livelihoods of poor families and the rights of women and children are secured.

  • To promote systems that foster primary health care and reduce the impact of HIV/AIDS/STIs on the poor and vulnerable in a sustainable manner. To influence public policies in favour of the poor. 

  • To strengthen networks and linkages between and among formal and informal institutions that can foster and sustain the impact of development initiatives.

MYRADA is committed to doing its part in contributing to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. Its major activities in relation to the MDGs have been as follows :

Goal 1 : Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger

Goal 2 : Achieve Universal Primary Education

Goal 3 : Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women

Goals 4 and 5 : Reduce Child Mortality and Improve Maternal Health

Goal 6 : Combat HIV-AIDS, Tuberculosis, Malaria and other Killer Diseases

Goal 7 : Ensure Environmental Sustainability

Goal 8 : Global Partnership for Development

The major areas of work include

  • Hill Area Development Programme through Participatory Technology Interventions
  • The Building Family Ties Programme
  • Watershed Development
  • Agricultural Extension
  • Health and Sanitation
  • Local Level Institutions
  • Arivalayam Training Centre

In Tamil Nadu the works of MYRADA are located at Talavadi and Germalam in Erode, Katterry in Nilgiris and Hosur in Dharmapuri districts.

Follow the link to view more on works of MYRADA

For more information contact

No.2, Service Road, Domlur Layout
Bangalore 560 071. Karnataka, India
Phone No : 91-(0) 80-:25352028
               : 25353166, 25354457
E-mail :

National Agro Foundation -

The NAF was set up as a Public Charitable Trust in March 2000. It started by adopting 60 villages in two clusters in northern Tamil Nadu with approximately 18,500 predominantly poor families. It aims to improve the quality of life of farmers through agriculture, cattle and social development

NAF projects in rural development are

    • Technology transfer to upgrade agriculture
    • Technology support through soil testing and tendering associated advice on nutrient and crop choice
    • Water and farm management
    • Setting up demonstration farms
    • Running a full fledged Farmers' Training Centre
    • Upgrade cattle stock and providing veterinary support services
    • Social development through training in functional literacy, self help income generating activities and rural health campaigns
Village clusters
  • Chunampet cluster - Chunampet, Pudupattu, Pudukudi, Chinna Kalakkadi, Pudupettai, Illedu, Puduthottam, Kappivakkam, Thangal, Karumbakkam, Thenpakkam, Kavanur,Thottacherry, Kalpattu, T K Kulam, Kolathur, V K Agaram, Kottaikadu, Velur, Manappakkam, Vembanur, Othivilakam, Venangupet, Pallambakkam, Villippakkam, Kumuli, Pilankuppam, Chittoor, Mambakkam, Agaram, Andarkuppam, Arasur, Mampattu, Putthirankottai and Panayadivakkam

  • Gummidipoondi cluster - Agraharam, Manallur, Amarambedu, M N Kandigai, Bommajikulam, Panchalai, Bhoodur, Periapuliyur, Pathirivedu, Poovalambedu, Chinna Bommajikulam, Siruvada, Kannan Kottai, Thanipoondi, Keemalur, Thathayankandigai, Kollanoor, Thervoy, Madharpakkam, Vaniamalli, Pondhavakkam, Nemalur and Kondamanallur

Activities related to agriculture

  • Transfer of Agro-technologies to improve crop productivity
  • Soil testing and crop-specific nutrient recommendations
  • Water management
  • Pest and Disease management
  • Training programs - Technology-based Agriculture/ Scientific Farming
  • Marketing support for sale of some crops like cotton at a premium price

For furthur details contact

National Agro Foundation
Research & Development Centre,
Anna University Taramani Campus, Taramani,
Chennai - 600 113
Tamil Nadu , India
Phone : +9144-2254 2803
Fax: +9144- 2254 2598

SEVA - Sustainable Agriculture and Environmental Voluntary Action

SEVA is an NGO and it is a registered society under Society Registration Act of Tamil Nadu (Reg No.136/92). SEVA has been involved in the activities viz : Documentation and Disemination of Indigenous Knowledge and Grassroots Innovations and Conservation of local livestock breeds in Tamil Nadu State.

SEVA promotes Self Help Groups with women, farmers, livestock keepers and grassroots innovators. SEVA has been publishing a local news letter in Tamil called "Num Vali Velanmai" for communicating indigenous knowledge, organic practices, innovations in agriculture, animal husbandry and natural resource management.

SEVA has been a member of Honey Bee network and it collobrates with organisations and volunteers in other language regions of the country for the purpose of knowledge network.

SEVA has been also active member of LIFE Network and attempt capacity building of livestockkeepers , and pastrolist towards conservation of local livestock breeds in India.

Major Activities

  • Livestock Breed Conservation
  • Innovations
  • Self Help Groups
  • Tsunami Rehabilisation Works


No.45, T.P.M. Nagar
Madurai - 625 010.
Tamilnadu, India.
Tel.: +91-452-2380082

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