Nagpur: Axis Bank Foundation (ABF), the CSR arm of Axis Bank today said it has made significant progress in its efforts towards poverty alleviation, enhancing the quality of lives of some of the most marginalized communities through its unique interventions in Watershed development.
It aims to support ONE million livelihoods by 2017, fostering sustainable eco-friendly living in the region. Due to the availability of water ~14,000 acres of land have been brought under irrigation and more than 8,700 Hectares of soil erosion has been prevented. Due to this more than 80% farmers now have an option for a second crop and some even have an option for a third crop. Over 90 thousand women have been supported in Maharashtra, through SHGs, improving agriculture productivity, livestock development and vocational training over the last five years.
Executive Director of Corporate Centre, Axis Bank Rajesh Dahiya while addressing the media personnel said that most of the rural livelihood interventions initiated by ABF are aimed at uplifting women by investing in their leadership and management capacity at all levels. We are happy that women constitute 81 percent of the beneficiaries in Maharashtra, which is one of the highest women-centric initiatives among the 26 states where ABF interventions are operational.
To oversee the success achieved by the Axis Bank Foundation, its Trustee Members including Trustee of Axis Bank Foundation Som Mittal, Executive Director of Axis Bank and Trustee of Axis Bank Foundation Rajesh Dahiya and Executive Trustee and CEO of Axis Bank Foundation K Anil Kumar are visiting Yavatmal district in the state on September 29, 2016.
ABF has been working with six NGO partners, viz. Kherwadi Social Welfare Association (KSWA), Plan International (India Chapter), Don Bosco Tech Society (DB Tech), SGBS Unnati Foundation and Youth 4Jobs for providing Vocational Training and skills development to the youths and enabling them create job opportunities. The ABF has been working with Dilasa Sanstha, for developing watershed structures like dohas and phads, thereby helping farmers in the drought prone belts in the state.
ABF is focusing on poverty alleviation through its livelihood programs that aims to provide ONE million sustainable livelihoods by 2017. Currently, it operates in 26 states and 69 percent of the beneficiaries are women. The approach has enabled financial inclusion and economic empowerment thereby improving their social standing in the household as well as the community level.
Interventions in Maharashtra:
Through the livelihood program, ABF has been able to work with 1,26,034 Households in the state of Maharashtra. 92,454 women are directly engaged with the program.
Districts covered in Maharashtra: Akola, Chandrapur, Gadchiroli, Jalna, Osmanabad, Pune, Satara, Amravati, Aurangabad, Beed, Bhandara, Nanded, Wardha, Gondia, Hingoli, Nagpur, Raigad, Parbhani, Yavatmal, Latur, Nashik, Mumbai, Palghar, Thane and Solapur.
Water security is key to sustaining livelihoods in rural India. Several interventions are being carried out under watershed development and management that secures water availability in the region. Tree plantation is another activity that is undertaken in several villages to support geo-hydrology of the geographies covered along with supporting livelihoods. Selection of trees is carried out to facilitate income through horticulture and agro-forestry. A significant part of the watershed development is carried out by leveraging state programs – MNREGA and IWMP.
ABF in partnership with its NGO partners are constructing and renovating check dams, farm ponds and other water bodies. Under this partnership, Dilasa has been able to construct/ rejuvenate ~ 2000 water harvesting structures and wells, of which there are 919 water structures like phads and dohas, 912 wells and 191 bore wells.
To enhance income from agriculture, improved and responsible farming practices are being introduced to the farmers. These include, SRI, improved seed variety, promotion of organic manure, and aggregation of input supply and aggregation of produce for better market realization. These efforts have helped in reducing cost of production, increasing productivity and better market prices. Further efforts are being made to form farmer collectives.
Livestock Enhancement Programme:
In Rural areas, livestock are an important means of income. Livestock rearing is activity prompted as an alternate source of income. Poultry farming and rearing of goats and cattle are facilitated at the HH level through the SHGs.
We promote strong women based community institutions and collectives across our geographic locations. They are trained in leadership, bookkeeping and management of money at individual and household level. Women are encouraged to undertake savings and inter lending through SHGs. SHGs are then linked to formal financial institutions for credit. Women are therefore able to access credit for production and consumption and also able to save for future needs.
Vocational skill development programs:
Employability thorough vocational training is promoted amongst the youth. ABF has partnered with Kherwadi Social Welfare Association (KSWA) to provide vocational training courses to unemployed youth and school drop-outs across the Marathwada and Vidharbha regions of Maharashtra. The program will be imparting vocational training courses to ~ 45,380 beneficiaries over a period of six years.
ABF, through its Livelihood program supports 7,69,000 livelihoods in 240 districts of the country. ABF has received the Forbes Philanthropy Award 2014 for being the “Outstanding Corporate Foundation”.