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Development of Humane Action (DHAN) Foundation, a professional development organisation, was initiated on October 2, 1997. It has been incorporated as a Trust under the Indian Trusts Act (1882). The Trust has been promoted with the objective of bringing highly motivated and educated young women and men to the development sector. They would work on bringing out new innovations in rural development and for upscaling development interventions to eradicate poverty in vast areas of the country.

Vision and Mission

The Foundation works towards bringing significant changes in the livelihoods of the poor through innovations in themes and institutions. The broad purposes for which it stands are:

  • Mothering of Development Innovations: The institution aims to promote and nurture new ideas on different development themes, which have larger potential to address the livelihoods and development of the poor in a region viz., microfinance, small scale irrigation, dry land agriculture, working with panchayats.
  • Promoting Institutions to reach scale: Exclusive thematic organisations will be promoted to undertake development work with a sub-sectoral focus. The primary role of these institutions is promotional and to ensure that benefits reach a large number of poor with quality.
  • Human Resource Development: The institution would bring young professionals into the development sector and provide them an opportunity to practice and develop relevant knowledge, attitudes and skills to work long term in the development sector.

Our guiding principles

  1. Engaging high quality human resources to work at the grassroots. The focus of the work would be on enabling rather than delivery of services.
  2. Valuing collaboration with mainstream institutions and government to demonstrate new and effective ways of development interventions, thereby building viable linkages between them and people.
  3. Promoting people’s organisations at various levels to ensure entitlements and to build an effective demand system.
  4. Focusing on promotion of livelihoods to address poverty directly.
  5. Enriching the themes and retaining sub-sectoral focus would be the strategy for growth.

Policy contribution at national and global level

DHAN Foundation through the Tankfed Agriculture Development Programme has facilitated wider consultations among farmers, bureaucrats, scientists and academicians. This has been done through organising policy seminars and workshops, undertaking research and publishing documents and participating in various policy making bodies of State and Central Governments on development of water, small scale irrigation and rural development.

In Tamil Nadu and Karnataka 'Conservation Council for Small Scale Water Resources' has been constituted with eminent personalities to influence the policies on water and small scale irrigation in favour of farmers.

While through the Kalanjiam Community Banking Programme, DHAN Foundation as a member of many policy-making bodies on microfinance and through participating in national and international conferences, strongly advocates refocusing of 'microfinance' to address poverty and empowerment of poor especially women. As a resource centre, it organises many capacity building events and training programmes for bankers, government officials and representatives of NGOs within and outside the country.

DHAN Foundation is a founder member of INAFI (International Network of Alternative Financial Institutions) focuses on micro finance. It is currently coordinating the INAFI India Chapter.

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