PRADAN

PRADAN was created in 1983 by two young professionals, Deep Joshi and Vijay Mahajan, who were convinced that even the stubborn, endemic poverty of rural India can be solved. Since the very beginning, Deep has believed that the ‘best and the brightest’ were needed to work with the weakest sections of society to help them discover their strength and voice. A graduate of MIT’s School of Engineering and Sloan School of Management, Deep has lived this philosophy. An alumnus of IIT Delhi and IIM Ahmedabad, Vijay’s first job at an MNC left him wanting to do more for the community. In 1983, Vijay met Deep Joshi and the idea of PRADAN evolved in less than hour.

Deep and Vijay also believed that grassroots work in the spirit of pradan, or giving back to society, can be a fulfilling and viable vocation for educated men and women. They created Professional Assistance for Development Action (Pradan), to systematically groom and enable professionals with empathy towards the poor to work at the grassroots level.

In 1987 PRADAN began working with the government and over the years we have played a major role in developing such programs as IRDP, SGSY, and the National Rural Livelihood Mission. We continue to work for change that is sustainable and self-perpetuating, bringing skills and systems that help women, families and communities gain confidence and take charge of their own lives.

More than 370 young professionals are working in 7,400 remote villages of India, immersing themselves directly with target communities across seven of the poorest states. They are recruited from universities and hold degrees in subjects like management, engineering, agriculture, and the social sciences. A majority of the 589,000 families we work with belongs to marginalized communities. PRADAN today works in 7 states, 37 districts in 116 blocks through 58 field based teams.

PRADAN works in the poorest regions of India to help vulnerable communities organize collectives that help people, especially women, earn a decent living and support their families. PRADAN also helps them access government programs and other entitlements as citizens.

The primary focus of engagement is on women because PRADAN believes that even people considered to be the most disadvantaged in society are capable of driving the change they need. To achieve this, PRADAN recruits well-educated young professionals to work alongside people in the poorest villages through field based teams. They come from many fields – such as management, engineering, agriculture, and the social sciences - and they are chosen as much for their empathy as for their technical expertise.

PRADAN works with the poorest communities in India. Increasingly, poverty in India is overwhelmingly a rural and regional phenomenon, with sharp social and occupational etchings. Over three-fourths of the poor live in villages5, over two-thirds of them in the central Indian plateau across the States of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Orissa and parts of Maharashtra6. Three-fourths of India’s tribal people live here. About half the tribal people nationally are below the poverty line – a proportion virtually unchanged for a decade. A large majority of the poor are from the traditionally isolated and/or excluded social and economic groups such as tribal people and dalits; they either have no productive assets or are endowed with natural resources embedded in complex ecologies – the undulating, hilly and mountainous regions8; and they inhabit regions with weakest institutions, including poorly developed markets and weak governance. It is well known that exclusion and isolation perpetuate poverty; so it is that rapid economic growth in India during the past decade has had little impact on mass poverty even as it has created great national wealth. PRADAN works with this section of the excluded population in Central and Eastern India to bring about transformational changes.

PRADAN’s experience over the years has shown that economic progress and social justice can be achieved only by empowering the most vulnerable in the society. In rural societies, women are the most vulnerable in both economic and social context. PRADAN works through women’s Self Help Group (SHG) to empower them and they, in turn, become the change agent to drive their families and societies forward.

A Self Help Group is a collective of 10-15 women which is the first step of intervention of PRADAN in communities. It is a saving and credits group, which works on the principle of mutual trust and ground rules laid down at the formation stage. As the group matures, PRADAN engages with its members on increasing food security, income enhancement, gender justice, grassroots governance and Integrated Natural Resource Management (INRM).

WE BELIEVE that all people, no matter how poor, are capable of driving the change they need. OUR MISSION is to enable the most marginalized people, especially rural women, to earn a decent living and take charge of their own lives.

PRADAN accounts are audited half yearly by independent statutory auditors. Annual audited reports are published on the website.


iSTART the change initiative

iSTART the change is PRADAN’s initiative to give opportunity to individual philanthropist or donors across India and beyond to contribute in grassroot development of economically and socially disempowered tribal (indigenous communities) and other marginalised communities in remote villages of Central and Eastern India where PRADAN works. Under this initiative, individuals can engage in transformational change in communities by supporting any of the multi-dimensional initiatives of the organisation ranging from year round food security in a poor household to grassroots governance in a village.

You can be a part of this journey by supporting any one theme (or many) on which PRADAN field teams are working. You can also support PRADAN by donating to PRADAN’s endowment fund or supporting 1 day (or more) stipend for our change leaders.

Your money would go to the field teams which work with communities to drive change. A part of the money is used to support our professionals while the other is for training and inputs (can we specify what kind of—even training is an input) in the community to empower them. The specifics of training are given in the FAQ of each product.

Yes. You if you are an Indian national, you are eligible for Eligible for 80G, 50% tax exemption U/S 80G.

Yes. You have to choose the name of the country in the payment gateway and fill up the necessary details to make the contribution.

Yes. You can make the contribution through the donor gateway or if you want to mail us
Cheque, you can use the following account:
Account Name: PRADAN Endowment Fund
Account no. 912010049682594
Address of the bank: GROUND & FIRST FLOOR, RAVISSANCE HOUSE 1, RING ROAD, LAJPAT NAGAR - IV NEW DELHI 110024
State: DELHI
IFSC Code - UTIB0000824

Yes. You will have to (e) mail PRADAN one identification document (PAN card, Aadhaar Card, DL etc.) if you are an Indian National. If you are an NRI or a foreign national, you will have to (e) mail your passport details.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations, otherwise known as the Global Goals, are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity.

These 17 Goals build on the successes of the Millennium Development Goals, while including new areas such as climate change, economic inequality, innovation, sustainable consumption, peace and justice, among other priorities. The goals are interconnected – often the key to success on one will involve tackling issues more commonly associated with another. The SDGs work in the spirit of partnership and pragmatism to make the right choices now to improve life, in a sustainable way, for future generations. They provide clear guidelines and targets for all countries to adopt in accordance with their own priorities and the environmental challenges of the world at large. The SDGs are an inclusive agenda. They tackle the root causes of poverty and unite us together to make a positive change for both people and planet. “Poverty eradication is at the heart of the 2030 Agenda, and so is the commitment to leave no-one behind,” UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner said. “The Agenda offers a unique opportunity to put the whole world on a more prosperous and sustainable development path. In many ways, it reflects what UNDP was created for.”

Tribal and marginalized communities like Schedule Caste (SC) and Other Backward Class (OBC) are that section of the population who have been historically deprived and disempowered. Instances of poverty are very high in these groups with very low levels of economic, educational or political attainment.

Transformational change is enabling the isolated, deprived and excluded communities to have an alternate self view by building upon their skills, initiative, resources and entitlements, by mobilizing and motivating them, building capabilities and fostering enabling mechanisms. Women SHGs are the foundation towards this and fostering people’s organizations for aggregation and empowerment and community based service mechanisms to ensure sustainable services and input-output linkages.

Yes. However, we would request you to bear the cost of the visit. PRADAN would facilitate your interaction in the villages and communities that you are visiting.


Retail Products: Support 1 day stipend for our change leaders

PRADAN deploys professionals from premier universities/Institutes in India to work in remote villages with communities to bring about transformational change. Your contribution will help to support the stipend of one of the new comers who is in the process of becoming a change leader.

Your contribution will go to one of the field teams where PRADAN’s professional works directly with the community.


PRADAN endowment fund

PRADAN endowment fund is the corpus fund of PRADAN.
Part of the interest earned from your contribution will go to:
  • Recruiting, training and deploying educated youths in the service of poor communities
  • Professionals working in any of the 58 field teams in remotest villages in the country
  • Piloting innovative development models that work at scale

“iSTART the change for SDG 1 by Doubling farmers’ income by skilling rural women on new technologies”

This retail product will support women farmers learn scientific agricultural techniques, scale up cash crop, establish market linkage and thereby double their income.
Your contribution will go to one of the PRADAN field teams where professionals work in the community to double the income of small land holder.
Part of your contribution will be used for skilling women farmers and another part will support the deployed professionals who impart this training and skilling process.
You will get bimonthly/monthly cases of change from the field on income enhancement from the field. PRADAN annual report is also published in the website to give a sense of the organisational progress.
Yes. You can choose any number of farmers to support.

“iSTART the change for SDG 2 by Hunger free homes through training rural women in scientific agricultural practices”

This retail product will skill women farmers on new technologies and ensures a year round supply of food grains in a poor rural household.
Your contribution will go to one of the PRADAN field teams where professionals work in the community on year round food security.
Part of your contribution will be used for skilling women farmers on food security initiatives and another part will support the deployed professionals who impart this training and skilling process.
You will get bimonthly/monthly cases of change from the field on food security from the field.
Yes. You can choose any number of farmers to support.

“iSTART the change for SDG 5 by Empowering rural women’s groups addressing gender equality in household and society“

This retail product will support women from Self Help Group (SHG) to challenge gender norms inside the household and the village by working on gender equality.
This contribution will go to one of the field teams where SHGs are at a certain stage of maturity and will support the field teams on its engagement on gender justice.
Part of your contribution will be used to train SHGs on gender equality and another part will support the deployed professionals who impart this training.
UNICEF says gender equality "means that women and men, and girls and boys, enjoy the same rights, resources, opportunities and protections. It does not require that girls and boys, or women and men, be the same, or that they be treated exactly alike." Historically, there has been a systemic inequality between men and women. Women, particularly rural women have less access to decision-making, opportunities and resources. This inequality of limiting the potential of one-half of the population is detrimental to the progress of society. A prosperous, just and equal society can only evolve by empowering the most marginalized section.
You will get bimonthly/monthly cases of change from the field on progress made around gender equality by SHGs from the field.
Yes. You can choose any number of groups to support.

“iSTART the change for SDG 13 by Building resilient villages to withstand the impact of climate change on livelihoods”

This retail product will help support a village to plan climate change mitigation strategy and farmers leverage government funds to invest on resilient infrastructure through Natural Resource Management.
Your contribution will go to one of the PRADAN field teams which are already engaged in work on Natural Resource Management.
A part of your contribution will support one village on training, mobilization and planning to work on agro infrastructure like farm pond, seepage tank, horticulture etc.. The other part will support the deployed professionals who impart these training and skilling process.
The erratic pattern of monsoon due to climate change in the past decade has already aggravated the situation for farmers across India. Rural communities urgently need to invest on farming infrastructure like farm ponds and reforestation to avoid major turmoil to their livelihoods due to climate change.
Yes, you will get the progress report of the village where your contribution has been invested periodically.
Yes, you can support more than 1 village.

iSTART the change for SDG 16 by Ensuring institutional services (health, education and public distribution system) in a village

This retail product will trigger active engagement of communities in grassroot institutions like Panchayat, Health Services, Schools and their higher tiers. This will lead to improved infrastructure and functioning of public services - schools, health services, roads, PDS and sanitation.
Your contribution will go to one of the PRADAN field teams which are already engaged in work on grassroots governance. Your contribution will help extend the work to one more village.
A part of your contribution will support one village on training, mobilization of community /SHG members and planning to work on grassroots governance. The other part will support the deployed professionals who impart this training and skilling process.
Low participation of communities in grassroots governance and apathy of public institutions be it in PDS system, government schools or health centre has resulted in poor service delivery. The impact of this translates into abysmal development index: India’s HDI (Human Development Index) at .624 is the lowest amongst BRIC (The group of countries comprising of Brazil, Russia, India and China) countries. Alarmingly, the HDI of tribal communities in India is 30% lower than the national average. So, it has become critical to address the issue of grassroots governance in rural India.
Yes, you will get the progress report of the village where your contribution has been invested periodically.
Yes, you can support more than 1 village.

iSTART the change by supporting Rural women’s Self Help Groups to overcome debt trap

This retail product will support a group in taking the first steps towards financial self-reliance by forming a saving and credit group and eventually linking to mainstream formal financial institutions.
Your contribution will go to one of the PRADAN field teams where SHGs are being promoted.
A part of your contribution will support one village on training, mobilization of rural women/ potential members and promoting Self Help Group. The other part will support the deployed professionals who impart this training.
You will get bimonthly/monthly cases of change from the field on progress made by SHGs on saving and credit, collectivization and financial sustainability from the field.
Yes, you can support more than 1 group.

Training and mobilization details for each retail product under iSTART the change initiative

S. No. Particulars Unit of Intervention Coverage
1 Training of VO Sub-Committee on cash crops to play effective roles in the promotion of farm based cash crops like vegetables, mustard etc among SHG member households through dialogue, discussion and planning Livelihood CRP- village level Village
2 Training of CRPs to support SHGs in enhancing income Livelihood CRP-SHG level All SHG members
3 Training on scientific agricultural practices in cash crops during Khariff SHG All SHG members
4 Training on scientific agricultural practices in cash crops during Rabi SHG All SHG members
5 On field Support for intervention SHG All SHG members
6 Training on improved animal husbandry practices Livelihood CRP-SHG level All SHG members
7 Demonstration of new technology like drip, machan etc for increased income SHG SHG member
8 Market linkages to understand range of technological options. Federation Leaders
9 Data collection of production CDC All SHG members
S. No. Particulars Unit of Intervention Coverage
1 Training of VO Sub-Committee for livelihoods to play effective roles in the promotion of farm based livelihoods among SHG member households through dialogue, discussion and planning Livelihood CRP- village level Village
2 Training of CRPs to support SHGs in enhancing food security Livelihood CRP-SHG level SHG member
3 Training on scientific agricultural practices SHG All SHG members
4 On field Support for intervention SHG All SHG members
5 Improved Composting Technique SHG Entire SHG (60% coverage)
6 Input Support for SRI and Improved Paddy SHG Entire SHG (60% coverage)
7 Individual equipment for drudgery reduction SHG SHG member
8 Demo plot for SRI paddy Individual Family 1 SHG member
9 Trials on extension of SRI principles to other crops like kodo, kutki, pulses etc (nutrition) SHG Entire SHG (60% coverage)
10 Livelihood and gender training CRP Entire SHG
11 Data collection of production CDC Entire SHG
S.No Particulars Unit of Intervention Coverage
1 Basic training on gender SHG Entire SHG (60% members attend)
2 Advance training on gender Individual SHG gender leadership
3 Training on violence and DV Act Individual SHG gender leadership
4 Flipchart and material for leadership to use in their respective SHGs Individual Entire SHG
5 Follow-up meeting of SHG leaders on gender training at the group level Individual SHG gender leadership
S. No. Particulars Unit of Intervention Coverage
1 Training of VO Sub-Committee to play effective roles in dialogue, planning and monitoring of INRM activities among SHG member Livelihood CRP- village level Village
2 On field support to CRPs to promote implementation of INRM Livelihood CRP-SHG level Village
3 Facilitating SHG Federations to engage with the Government at various levels to share their INRM plans, place their requests for public funds, assert for their entitlements and assure their support for programme implementation. SHG All SHG members
4 Training, exposure of duty bearers of Panchayat/ Block administration on INRM Block/Panchayat Officials
5 Data collection of INRM CDC Entire SHG
S. No. Particulars Unit of Intervention Coverage
1 Training of CRPs (Adhikaar Sathis/Sakhis) on Rights and Entitlements Adhikaar CRP- village level Village
2 Training of CRPs to support SHGs in understanding the nuances of governance CRP-SHG level Village
3 Training of CRPs on livelihood and food rights (MGNREGS and RTF) Adhikaar CRP- village level Village
4 Training of CRPs on health rights (NRHM) Adhikaar CRP- village level Village
5 Training of CRPs on education rights (RTE) Adhikaar CRP- village level Village
6 Training of CRPs on child and maternal rights (ICDS) Adhikaar CRP- village level Village
7 Training of CRPs on RTI Adhikaar CRP- village level Village
8 Mass scale dissemination about rights and entitlements through booklets, wall painting etc. Block Block
9 Planning exercise of Village Organisations on engaging with government institutions Village Village
10 Agenda setting and action plan of federation Federation Leaders Federation
11 Training for enhanced capacities of Gram Panchayats to function as local governance bodies Panchayats Panchayats
12 Training of government officials to sensitize them on the needs of the community and proactive disclosure of information, simplification of procedures Block/district administration One event per year
13 Engagement of federations with other collective bodies/movements to influence policy Federation Leaders Multiple federations
14 Data collection on governance CDC Entire SHGs
S.No. Particulars Unit of Intervention Coverage
1 Awareness building and concept seeding training
1.1 Part I SHG Entire SHG
1.2 Part II SHG Entire SHG
2 Exposure Visit for Self Help Group (SHG) members Member Entire SHG (60% members attend)
3 Initial village level training for setting system of Savings and Credit groups SHGs Entire SHG
4 Training of SHG Accountant on group transaction and book keeping Individual Individual
5 Membership Training to integrate SHGs into the governing body i.e. Federation to understand the nuances of S&C and long term sustainability Member Entire SHG (60% members attend)