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Our Work

GRASP is working for community empowerment through a variety of programmes and projects. Currently, we are implementing two projects as a part of Community Action Programme (CAP) and two projects under Development Initiatives Support Programme (DISP). Stree Shakti Lok Shakti Vikas and Micro Interventions in CBNRM are two projects being implemented under CAP, whereas Collaborative Participatory Eco-restoration Project, Capacity Building Support for Aquifer Water Management Pilot (AWMP) and Better Water Management Practices in Cultivation and Milling of Sugarcane (BWMP- Sugar) are our recent efforts under DISP. Our prominent work on large scale includes Holistic Watershed Development Project in Karanja, Agriculture-focussed watershed in Chhindwada, Madhya Pradesh, Household Water supply in North Sikkim.
GRASP has a treasure of experiential knowledge of pragmatic approaches to addressing the most pressing problems of those at the bottom of the pyramid. And, it is earned with decades of positive engagement at the grassroots. From this year onwards, GRASP has re-engineered its Development Support Programme by reaching the orgnaisations and projects working for the rural poor in the entire country. Development Support Initiative – DESI – aims at providing to techno-managerial support, with handholding, on a variety of rural development interventions.

DESI for whom?
Initially this support is meant for rural livelihoods projects through donors and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) organisations. We wish to focus on land based livelihoods, natural resources management and climate change adaptation, to begin with.

Why DESI support?
Our observation is that many donors and CSR initiatives in India, in spite of their achievements so far, desire far bigger socio-economic change by overcoming the three main challenges: (1) Effective project design - mainly matching the needs of the rural poor with the interventions; (2) Limitations in monitoring - to guide the implementing teams/ partners for timely and appropriate ground level actions; and (3) Evaluation - knowing the impacts of your efforts and learning there from to plan more effective results in future.

Nature of DESI support?
With experience of GRASP in strengthening livelihoods of rural poor, we are well positioned to guide, support and facilitate the change your initiatives are aiming to bring about. We provide three levels of support : (1) Project cycle mentoring, helping your teams to design, deliver and build sustainable interventions, (2) Project design and capacitating your teams to manage results chain, (3) Evaluations to help determine future course of action. We specialise in formative evaluation to develop strategies for future interventions. This could also be taken up as a mid-course correction measure in project not functioning well.

We have a small team of highly experienced practitioners to provide these services to implementing organisations, donors and CSRs initiatives in rural development focussing on livelihoods.

[Under DFID's Poorest Areas Civil Societies (PACS) Programme]

PACS programme is inspired by UN's Millennium Development Goal to reduce the poverty by half till 2015. It is supported by DFID , UK and being administered in India by Management Consultants (Development Alternatives and Price Watershouse Coopers, New Delhi). GRASP launched Stree-Shakti Lok- Shakti Vikas aiming at empowerment of rural community, women in particular and strengthening local resource based livelihood systems. The project commenced in September 2002, in select clusters of villages in Districts Aurangabad and Jalna, for a period of next 3 years. The project with an outlay of INR 6.4 Million, is implemented as a network project with 4 partner organisations, Pathika, Surabhi, Speed Multi-aid Assocaition and Krishi Saarathi.

Empower and enable the community, especially the women, to address the pertinent issues of socio-economic and institutional development in the project villages.

  • To improve the existing education practices in rural areas for overall development of the child
  • To improve the economic status of women and reduce their economic dependency
  • To empower women socially and politically
  • To enable the communities to work towards sustainable livelihood systems

  • Coverage:
    Implementing in 54 selected villages falling in 4 blocks, namely Kannad, Paithan, Phulambri (District Aurangabad) and Badnapur (District Jalna).

    Focus group:
    Socio-economically poor and marginalised sections of rural society. Women, adolescent girls, youths, children and farmers are chosen as the focus groups.

    Achievements (Physical):
  • Promoted 155 Self Help Groups of women reaching out to 2294 women and 52 Kishori Vikas Mandals(groups of adolescent girls) covering 1095 adolescent girls.
  • Skill training on art and craft (knitting, ragoli, flower pot making, wall pieces, flower drying, sewing, etc) and life skills (use of facilities and services of post office, telecommunication, development administration, police and judiciary) to the adolescent girls.
  • Promoted 40 farmers' groups and 43 youth groups, reaching out to 962 farmers and 942 youth, respectively.
  • Trained 846 women on SHG management. As a result, 1208 women are handling money, managing records and transacting with banks on their own.
  • Trained 245 women Panchayat members and SHG leaders on functioning of Panchayati Raj Institutions, leading to meaningful participation of women (over 600 in number) in gramsabhas and Gram Panchayat meetings.
  • Three exposure visits were conducted for 169 women SHG members on best management practices in SHGs in other parts of Maharashtra.
  • Training programmes on income generation (goat rearing and livestock management) conducted for 116 members of SHG. So far 30 women SHGs have been linked to banks for enterprise development.
  • In all, 556 Adolescent girls were taken on exposure visit to places like post office, police station and other government offices.
  • Introduced environmental sanitation practices like gram swacchata, soakage pits, and kitchen gardens in all the project villages. These practices are gradually being adopted by an increasing number of families.
  • Facilitated construction of 4 temporary dams and 5 sub-surface dams for water harvesting and groundwater recharge on initiative of local communities.
  • Village level information centres for farmers started in 15 villages.

  • Impact:
  • For the first time, women started participating in gramsabhas and influencing decisions.
  • The elected women members involved in Gram Panchayat functioning, which had been a male domain for long.
  • Women developed courage to approach banks, police, Block Development Officer, Tahasildar and other officials which they never did in past.
  • The SHGs helped in coming out of vicious cycle of money lenders in 75% of the villages
  • Women developed ownership over their earnings and started income generation activities like dairy, goatry, bird rearing, sewing through the loans from SHGs and banks.
  • Due to women's initiatives the villages got organised to address their problems collectively. They successfully handled the issues like drinking water, village approach roads, work under EGS, monitoring quality of mid-meals in Aanganwadi, sanctioning of Aanganwadi, ration shops, etc.
  • The adolescent girls classes helped the girls acquire different skills, increased confidence and awareness, which was a help to them in their married life.
  • These girls have bee successful in convincing parents on right age of marriage, bathroom facility, right to education, etc. The senior girls also are teaching next batches of girls in Kishori Vikas Mandals.
  • The erstwhile defunct Village Education Committees (VEC) started meeting regularly and helping in improving educational environment in their respective villages. The members visit the school, conduct enrolment drives, get from Zilla Parishad teachers appointed and class rooms or sanitation facilities sanctioned. They are monitoring the school functioning routinely.
  • The villagers developed habit of shramdaan for works like gram swacchata, social events, construction of kaccha roads, etc.
  • (Supported by UNDP's GEF/SGP)

    The project is aimed at protecting and conserving ecological bio-diversity in Gautala-Autramghat Sanctuary with the participation of local community. The project to be implemented in collaboration with wildlife department and other Govt agencies was proposed to Centre for Environment Education (CEE), Central Zone, Pune for the support under UNDP's small grant project. The concept was approved in July 2004 and the agency approved a planning grant.

    Goal of the project "To establish a symbiotic relationship between communities and nature"

    Purpose of the project
  • To prepare a community development plan for the villages inside and at the outskirts of reserved forest.
  • To educate people on the significance of wild flora and fauna
  • To restore and strengthen the food chain in the sanctuary
  • To involve local community into the process of joint efforts for preservation and conservation of forest and wild life.
  • To make strategies for optimal utilization of forest resources to benefit all partners
  • (Under state government's "Jalswarajya" initiative supported by the World Bank)

    Given the significant role of groundwater in meeting the survival and livelihood needs of rural communities, Jalaswarajya incorporated an experimental component of Aquifer Water Management Pilot (AWMP) to be tested in six diverse hydro-geological formations of Maharashtra . The areas having been chosen to broadly represent the typologies in the state, the experience in these pilots is expected to provide guidelines – technical, social and legal – for participatory development and management of groundwater in the state. The pilot aims at capacity building of the stakeholders in sustainable management of groundwater resources, and to evolve community centred models for sustainable aquifer management. GRASP has been selected as a Support Organisation (SO) for providing services for capacity building of the stakeholders in the pilot area falling in watershed GPP-1 in Taluka Sindkhed Raja, District Buldhana.

    GRASP mobilised a core team comprising of professionals in hydro-geology, hydrology, engineering, social work and agronomy. The team is working to build the capacities of various stakeholders, which include the community and their committees at village and aquifer level, district teams and committees. The team has begun to carry out planning phase activities, by providing technical, financial and institutional intermediary services to the village and aquifer level stakeholders.

    Various events were organised to build awareness on the concept of aquifer and its local manifestation, alongwith measures for building resource literacy among the village population. A series of PrabodhanShibirswere organised to motivate the community for addressing their water and sanitation issues. Noted development workers like Mr Vijay Anna Borade and experts like Dr S B Varade, Dr PS Kulkarni, Dr Ashok Tejakar addressed the communities and also shared the best practices from other areas in these Shibirs. Village Water and Sanitation Committees were formed alongwith the Women's Empowerment Committees and Social Audit Committees in the pilot villages. These were carried out through the process comprising of a series of meetings – beginning with habitation sabhas, followed by Women's Gram Sabha. The Committees were selected in the Gram Sabha.
    (Under Worldwide Fund for Nature – WWF's Sustainable Sugar Initiatives)

    This is a collaborative project to promote better water management practices in farming and milling of sugarcane in a pilot area in Kannad Block of District Aurangabad. The larger objectives of the project are Establish a BMP demonstration project, and Initiate a dialogue at macro level for policy related reforms.

    The pilot is designed on the premise that BMP adoption is a process of making a choice after weighing the beneficial and taxing implications of the decisions, and this calls for the communities to be able to know the implications and make a choice. This implies capacity building of the stakeholders. GRASP has undertaken the capacity building measures of the sugarcane farmers in the pilot. This would be carried out in collaboration with the local cooperative sugar mill and other institutions. The pilot is a collaborative effort of WWF-India, GRASP, Water and Land Management Institute (WALMI, Aurangabad ), Vasantdada Sugar Institute (VSI, Pune) and Society for Promoting Participative Ecosystem Management (SOPPECOM, a voluntary organisation based in Pune, working on participatory irrigation management).