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Axis Bank Foundation wins Earth Care Award 2024 for its Community-Based Climate Action Work

Earth Care Award

Axis Bank Foundation (ABF), in partnership with Bharat Rural Livelihoods Foundation (BRLF), has been honoured at the 11th edition of ‘Earth Care Award 2024’ organized by JSW and The Times of India Group. ABF and BRLF have been recognized for their exceptional work in ‘High Impact Watershed Project in Chhattisgarh’ under the category of Community Based Climate Action ProgrammeThe prestigious award recognized the outstanding efforts of ABF & BRLF’s Sustainable Livelihood Programme, which had significantly enhanced the income of over 1 lakh farmer households through innovative land and water treatment measures, improving cropping intensity, and building capacity of local community members or community resource persons (CRPs) on watershed development and management.

Earth Care Award

Multiple key initiatives have been implemented under this project that have led to its scalable impact in the region:

  • Improving Soil and Water Conservation through Building Watersheds: Implementation of strategic measures to enhance sustainable agricultural practices.
  • Strengthening Natural Resource Management: Focused efforts on efficient management contributing to the overall ecological balance.
  • Shaping Allied & Alternate Livelihood Means: Innovative approaches to diversify and enhance rural livelihood opportunities.
  • Leveraging Government Support: Collaborating with various government bodies to ensure seamless integration and support.
  • Nurturing Capacities of Rural Communities: Building community capabilities through awareness programs and skill development.

In collaboration with 12 partners, including Pradan (the lead partner), Chaupal, SANGATA, Sarguja Grameen Vikas Sanstha, Srijan, Lokshakti Samiti, Samarth, Sahbhaagi, ASORD, Karmdaksh, Bastar Sevak Mandal and Samayita Math, the initiative addressed the challenges faced by small and marginal farmers in the region. The initiative’s primary goals encompassed providing land and water treatment to approximately 7 lakh hectares, by improving cropping intensity, building capacities of front-line functionaries, forming agriculture production clusters, and achieving a minimum 60% increase in income for supported households.

Dhruvi Shah, CEO and Executive Trustee, Axis Bank Foundation, expressed her enthusiasm for the recognition, said, “This award is a testimony to the combined work of all our key stakeholders involved in implementing planned interventions for natural resources management and building resilience – MGNREGA Cell, Department of Panchayat and Rural Development, Government of Chhattisgarh; District and Block Administration; Bharat Rural Livelihood Foundation; Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and the community itself. Our emphasis has been on facilitating community involvement in fostering awareness and knowledge about climate-related challenges, promoting a more environmentally conscious mindset during implementation. This project demonstrates the uniqueness of ABF’s model in the way we design scalable solutions for complex rural ecosystems.”

Kuldip Singh, Chief Executive Officer, Bharat Rural Livelihoods Foundation says, “The Earth Award for the High Impact Watershed Project in Chhattisgarh is a proud moment for all, as it recognizes the impactful collaboration between the MGNREGA Cell, Axis Bank Foundation, and 12 CSO partners. This initiative has elevated the incomes of over 1 lakh farmer households and contributed significantly to the holistic development of the 26 blocks in the 12 districts in the region by integrating watershed principles with the MGNREGA. The key outcomes achieved, including improved soil and water conservation, strengthened natural resource management, diversified livelihood opportunities, and enhanced government support, reflect our commitment to addressing community challenges and nurturing the capacities of rural communities. This award is a testament to the positive impact we can create when we work together towards sustainable and inclusive development.”

Saroj Mahapatra, Executive Director, PRADAN says, “Over the past five years, the High Impact Mega Watershed Initiative has impacted over 1 lakh farmer households and mobilised a targeted investment of more than thousands of crores, predominantly through the utilization of MGNREGA funds into land-water restoration and livelihood projects resulting in transformation in the lives and livelihoods of smallholders. This remarkable journey owes much to the collaborative efforts of multiple stakeholders, including the Government of Chhattisgarh, Axis Bank Foundation, Bharat Rural Livelihood Foundation, Civil Society Organisations and Community Based Organisations. To replicate this triumph, it is imperative to extend such initiatives to the maximum economically deprived blocks across the regions. This strategic expansion will undoubtedly foster sustainable growth, promoting women farmers and climate resilient practices.”

ABF’s strategic approach and funding model acknowledge the deep-rooted challenges within rural communities. Through its consistent efforts, ABF aims to overcome these challenges with a thoughtful, long-term engagement, setting a precedent for sustained impact and transformative change. This underscores ABF’s dedication to shaping resilient and sustainable communities.