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National Bank For Agriculture & Rural Development (Nabard) And Safe Water Network To Pilot New Approach In Andhra Pradesh, India

Safe Water Network is pleased to announce the pilot of a site in Andhra Pradesh with financial support from National Bank for Agriculture & Rural Development (NABARD), India’s leading apex bank for rural credit and development. The pilot, supported through the “Rural Innovation fund” set up in NABARD, will test two key aspects of the Safe Water Network approach to locally owned and managed water systems: the Remote Monitoring System and the development of a financial product through Watershed Development Committees. The initiative will also include an impact study to determine the benefits of providing safe water to a village in need. 

This pilot represents our first formal project with this esteemed Indian institution. The safe water station will be built in village Galigudem, Mandal (Block) Kondurg, District Mahabubnagar, where a Watershed Development project is already underway with financial support from NABARD. 

The Safe Water Network approach involves community engagement to bring a sense of ownership at the inception of a project. Extensive training and support is provided to build the community’s operation and management capabilities. The remote monitoring aspect of the project delivers real-time data to a central location minimizing the need to make visits to the station to determine performance activity. Remote monitoring also identifies system problems quickly and reduces servicing costs. It is a key component of managing at scale because one skilled service provider can oversee many stations and provide tele-assistance to local operators. 

The loan product development is another important aspect of this partnership. Working with a community-based organization (CBO) such as Watershed Development Committee (or later, with Primary Agriculture Credit Societies), Safe Water Network will develop a financial product in conjunction with NABARD. The CBOs will eventually own and govern the Safe Water Station and repay the credit as these types of organizations are local and trusted. 

“NABARD brings a depth of experience, credibility and financial knowledge that will complement the network of established CBOs involved with this pilot,” says Ravi Sewak, India director for Safe Water Network. “The learning from this work will provide key components to a model that we can take to scale through CBOs.” 

Established in 1982 by Government of India, NABARD promotes and provides credit to institutions, companies and entrepreneurs focused on agriculture, small-scale industries, cottage and village industries, handicrafts and other rural crafts. Its mandate is to support rural economic activity that improves the livelihoods of the population and can be sustained over time. It also provides assistance to the government and other organizations on rural development issues. NABARD’s mission leverages modern technology to achieve rapid developments in agriculture and related fields to secure rural prosperity.