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Aga Khan Rural Support Programme (India): Empowering Rural Communities for Sustainable Growth

Introduction:

The Aga Khan Rural Support Programme (India) is an NGO dedicated to uplifting rural communities and fostering sustainable development. With a strong focus on participatory approaches and community engagement, AKRSP(I) has been instrumental in addressing challenges faced by vulnerable communities in rural India.


Background:

The Aga Khan Rural Support Programme (India) was established in 1983 as part of the Aga Khan Development Network, a global network of institutions aimed at improving living conditions and opportunities in marginalized communities.


With a vision to enable rural communities to become self-reliant and resilient, the organization has achieved several notable milestones throughout its history. These include the successful implementation of projects focused on livelihood enhancement, natural resource management, and social empowerment.


Geographic Scope:

The Aga Khan Rural Support Programme (India) operates in various regions and states across the country. Its interventions are primarily concentrated in states such as Gujarat, Bihar, Maharashtra, and Jharkhand, where rural communities face significant socio-economic challenges. By focusing on these areas, the organization aims to bring about transformative change and create models of sustainable development that can be replicated elsewhere.


Areas of Intervention and Initiatives:

The Aga Khan Rural Support Programme (India) addresses a range of rural development challenges through its diverse initiatives. These include -

AKRSP(I) has implemented numerous projects and programs to tackle these challenges. For instance, it has introduced sustainable farming practices, water conservation techniques, and market linkages for agricultural produce.

A woman entrepreneur distributing feed to chickens on her farm.

It has also facilitated access to finance for small-scale entrepreneurs, promoted quality education and vocational training, established healthcare facilities, and actively worked towards women's empowerment through capacity-building and leadership programs. Their recent initiatives focus on the rural youth, tribals and women as core demographic groups.


Challenges:

Implementing rural development projects comes with its own set of challenges. The Aga Khan Rural Support Programme (India) faces hurdles such as limited access to resources, inadequate infrastructure, and cultural barriers.


Additionally, the organization navigates complex socioeconomic contexts and varying needs across different regions. However, it has been successful in overcoming these challenges through its adaptive approach, community engagement, and innovative solutions. By fostering strong relationships with local stakeholders and building trust, the organization is able to navigate challenges and create sustainable change.

The Rang De X AKRSP(I) partnership


A rural entrepreneur proudly presents her locally developed products during a meeting with the Rang De team, highlighting rural innovation and entrepreneurship.

AKRSP(I) provides initial seed support to entrepreneurs in the form of grants, this support alone will not be sufficient in the long run. Additionally, many entrepreneurs do not have access to bank credit due to the lack of collateral. Entrepreneurs require soft loans ranging from ₹30-50k to expand their ventures. To address this need, Rang De has partnered with AKRSP(I) to provide these soft loans to entrepreneurs who have a track record of two to three years.


This collaboration aims to foster an enterprising discipline among entrepreneurs and reduce their reliance on AKRSP(I) for growth. While the primary focus is on existing entrepreneurs, there is also a possibility of extending support to new entrepreneurs in need of initial capital in the future.


Rang De's involvement fills the gap in the current model where AKRSP(I) has had to turn away individuals due to the limited availability of grant subsidies.

The Aga Khan Rural Support Programme (India) stands as a beacon of hope for rural communities. With Rang De Social Investments the impact would scale to newer heights.


Invest in AKRSP(I) entrepreneurs from rural Gujarat through the AKRSP(I) Rural Entrepreneurship Fund at https://rangde.in/akrspi


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