Our Mission

A Drought-Free and
Prosperous Maharashtra

For decades, drought has ravaged thousands of villages in Maharashtra, leading to thirst, hunger, debt, forced migration and withered crops. After travelling through hundreds of villages, and speaking with veterans in the field, we discovered that this crisis is largely man-made. It is a result of mismanagement of water and natural resources, exacerbated by the uncertainties caused by climate change.

The scientific solutions to eradicating this crisis can be found in methods of water conservation, water management and environment restoration. These are well-known solutions, propagated by experts for years.

However, the primary barrier to implementing these on scale lies in deep-rooted social fractures. Divides of caste, religion, political affiliations and gender have prevented communities from owning this issue and finding purpose in solving it together.

At Paani Foundation, we believe in the transformative power of collection action. We are convinced that only a broad-based people’s movement that brings the village community together, can face this crisis. Our mission is to create a drought-free and prosperous Maharashtra, by fostering social unity and providing scale to proven solutions and technologies.

For decades, drought has ravaged thousands of villages in Maharashtra, leading to thirst, hunger, debt, forced migration and withered crops. After travelling through hundreds of villages, and speaking with veterans in the field, we discovered that this crisis is largely man-made. It is a result of mismanagement of water and natural resources, exacerbated by the uncertainties caused by climate change.

The scientific solutions to eradicating this crisis can be found in methods of water conservation, water management and environment restoration. These are well-known solutions, propagated by experts for years. However, the primary barrier to implementing these on scale lies in deep-rooted social fractures. Divides of caste, religion, political affiliations and gender have prevented communities from owning this issue and finding purpose in solving it together.

At Paani Foundation, we believe in the transformative power of collection action. We are convinced that only a broad-based people’s movement that brings the village community together, can face this crisis. Our mission is to create a drought-free and prosperous Maharashtra, by fostering social unity and providing scale to proven solutions and technologies.

How We Do It

From 2016 to 2019, we hosted the Satyamev Jayate Water Cup, a competition for excellence in soil and water conservation. The competition created a platform for village communities to work together in a positive and joyful way to solve the problem of drought.

The competition has two major pillars: (i) Shramadaan or voluntary labour and (ii) Training. The rules of the competition require villages to do substantial amounts of shramadaan as this compels all the factions and groups in the village to work together. This process of shedding sweat for water also dissolves boundaries and walls within the village. Across these years, the work done by villages participating in the Satyamev Jayate Water Cup has led to the creation of over 550 billion litres of water storage capacity!

How We Do It

From 2016 to 2019, we hosted the Satyamev Jayate Water Cup, a competition for excellence in soil and water conservation. The competition created a platform for village communities to work together in a positive and joyful way to solve the problem of drought.

The competition has two major pillars: (i) Shramadaan or voluntary labour and (ii) Training. The rules of the competition require villages to do substantial amounts of shramadaan as this compels all the factions and groups in the village to work together. This process of shedding sweat for water also dissolves boundaries and walls within the village. Across these years, the work done by villages participating in the Satyamev Jayate Water Cup has led to the creation of over 550 billion litres of water storage capacity!

Bolstered by the learnings and success of the Water Cup, in 2020 we launched the Satyamev Jayate Samruddha Gaon Spardha, aimed at transforming the rural ecology and the rural economy of the state. In 2020-2021, almost 1,000 villages across 40 talukas of Maharashtra are participating.

Every participating village must send at least five villagers to be a part of our residential training programme. In this 4-day immersive programme, we equip villagers with technical know-how as well as leadership skills to tackle the issue of drought. Since 2016, over 51,000 citizens have been directly trained, and in turn, have motivated lakhs more across the state. 

Every participating village must send at least five villagers to be a part of our residential training programme. In this 4-day immersive programme, we equip villagers with technical know-how as well as leadership skills to tackle the issue of drought. Since 2016, over 51,000 citizens have been directly trained, and in turn, have motivated lakhs more across the state. 

What started as an experiment in 2016, has become a movement of which we are merely a small part. The efforts of the villagers themselves have ensured that a water revolution is not far away.

What started as an experiment in 2016, has become a movement of which we are merely a small part. The efforts of the villagers themselves have ensured that a water revolution is not far away.