NABARD Launches Climate-Ready WASH Campaign for Rural Women

Initiative Targets JLG Borrowers, Promotes Sustainable Solutions

In a bid to empower rural women and address water scarcity concerns, the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) launched the first phase of its nationwide Climate Ready WASH funding awareness campaign on World Water Day .

The initiative, spearheaded by NABARD’s subsidiary NABSAMRUDDHI, targets women borrowers of Micro Finance Institutions (MFIs) belonging to Joint Liability Groups (JLGs).

NABARD Chairman Shaji K.V., in his keynote address, highlighted the critical role of water accessibility for marginalized communities. He emphasized the need to prioritize impact over profit when supporting these groups. “Water is a public good, but climate change is disrupting its balance,” Chairman K.V. stated. “The brunt of climate risk falls on the most marginalized, impacting their livelihoods. As a public finance institution, NABARD is committed to finding innovative solutions to support those most in need. We achieve this by collaborating with Panchayati Raj Institutions, civil society organizations, and government agencies to maximize impact. Awareness generation is a key element of such solutions.”

WASH Funding and Technical Support

NABSAMRUDDHI has been providing concessional wholesale WASH loans to MFIs, who then offer the loans to JLG borrowers. The initiative receives refinancing from NABARD and technical support from partners like and FINISH Mondial, all geared towards promoting sustainable livelihoods. So far, NABSAMRUDDHI has facilitated $45 million in WASH funding through 32 partner institutions, reaching 75,000 borrowers – 90% of whom are women.

The first phase of the campaign will encompass 40 block-level camps across seven climate-vulnerable states. It will be implemented by FINISH Mondial and supported by exposure visits for stakeholders, which have already begun. NABSAMRUDDHI has also sanctioned eight term loans since the program’s inception in November 2023.

The event featured video messages from Dr. Rajendra Singh, the “Waterman of India,” and Smt. Vedika Bhandarkar, International President and COO of Additionally, dignitaries like Manoj Gulati (Regional Director, South Asia, and Shri Ravi Krishan Takkar (Chairman, NABSAMRUDDHI) addressed the gathering.

Climate-Resilient Solutions

Smt. Bonani Roychoudhury, Managing Director of NABSAMRUDDHI, underscored the importance of collaborative action in financing climate-resilient WASH solutions for the “last mile” segment. She emphasized the alignment with COP27 and COP28 declarations and the potential for such solutions to empower rural women while promoting climate adaptation and mitigation.

Addressing Water Crisis Through Innovation

The program acknowledges the critical link between climate change and water scarcity. Climate-induced events like droughts, floods, and rising sea levels pose significant threats to safe water and sanitation. To address these challenges, the campaign will promote financing for four key solutions:

  • Climate-smart toilets
  • Rainwater harvesting for borewell recharge and storage
  • Solarization of pumps

Promoting Awareness and Collaboration

An IEC video on NABSAMRUDDHI’s WASH funding initiatives, developed by, was released at the event. Additionally, NABARD launched two brochures on water budgeting. Highlighting the importance of collaboration in tackling climate change, NABSAMRUDDHI also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Climate Policy Initiative (CPI) to explore joint financing of climate-smart solutions.

This initiative by NABARD and NABSAMRUDDHI demonstrates a commitment to empowering rural women, ensuring access to clean water and sanitation, and fostering climate resilience in India.