Community Empowerment

Our aim is to work with farming communities to strengthen their livelihoods and create opportunities for young people to flourish.

In 2012, the Mann region experienced a crippling drought. Kerabai Sagar, an old customer of Maan Deshi Bank approached the bank to mortgage her gold. “You might loan me the money to buy fodder for my animals but how can I buy water? Who will you work with if we all are forced to migrate to cities?” she remarked. Mann Deshi set up a cattle camp. It lasted over one-and-half years and 14,000 animals and 4,000 families lived in shacks in the scorching heat.

Our Community Programme was born. Today, our programme has expanded and we work with farming communities to create localized and sustainable livelihood solutions. We hope to scale by sharing these lessons learned and best practices through partnerships with organizations across India.

To learn more about how our programmes make a difference read our Stories of Change.


We have constructed 16 check dams and have rejuvenated 517 wells around the Mann Taluka region of the Satara District.

The dams help

  1. Rejuvenate ground water thus creating year round access to water
  2. Expand arable area and facilitate additional cash crops
  3. Expand businesses like animal husbandry and dairy farming
  4. Enable new businesses such as fisheries
  5. Provide clean water for health and sanitation purposes


30,000 people

have benefited from access to clean water.

2x increase

in farmers’ incomes because of additional cash crops planted and new businesses such as animal husbandry and fisheries developed.

1,300 hectares

of land have been irrigated.


Reduced migration away from villages.

Women of the communities spend less time finding and transporting water.

Farmers have held on to their main assets - livestock.

“My family and I used to migrate 300 kilometres from here to find work for four months every year. But the dams changed all that. We no longer move every year. We live here now. Now I have water fifteen minutes away from my house!”

Kalpana Bangar, Goat Herder

“I can grow many different crops now that the water has come. Earlier, the government used to deliver tanker water to us once a week. It was very difficult. The dams have made our community self-sufficient. We don’t depend on anyone.”

Arun Sawant, Farmer

“Earlier people were not willing to marry into our community as we had to work all day to get access to water. Even the tanker water would smell and make us ill. Now everything is different. We have access to clean water. Our pride as been restored.”

Sainappa Lubbal, farmer from Shirtav


Farm to Market

We help bring small and marginal farmers together to aggregate their produce and create direct access to markets in order to help them set better and more sustainable prices.

We aim to

  1. Create a collective of farmers in order to have more leverage to set prices
  2. Facilitate direct access to markets
  3. Set up warehouse and cold storage facilities in order to increase production capabilities
  4. Design special loans to mitigate cash flow issues and avoid distress sales


1,200 Farmers

from 40 villages have been mobilized to work together to achieve fare pricing.

First sale of 1,700 tons

of farm produce successfully facilitated.

Our first woman-led Farmer Producer Company

was set up with our help in Dec 2018 that aggregated smallholder farmers and facilitating access to inputs, markets, capital & technology.

Mann Deshi Champions

We identify prospective outstanding athletes, provide them with excellent sports facilities and nurture their overall physical, mental and social development.

We aim to

  1. Create better opportunities for young girls and boys in rural India to play sports both in and out of school
  2. Create a mobile app to bring talented athletes, coaches and funders on the same platforms
  3. Train local coaches to identify and train talented athletes
  4. Offer financial and professional coaching support for talented young rural athletes to participate in state, national and international competitions
  5. Focus on and increase girls participation in sports
  6. Promote a career in sports


7,000 athletes

inducted into the programme.

300 athletes

competed in district, state, national and international level competitions.

In 2011, one of our athletes Sarita Bhise ran the 800 meter at a local event and won. At that time, she didn’t own a pair of decent shoes. Today she is the captain of Maharashtra’s Under-17 team for field hockey. It is an enormous achievement because she belongs to the local nomadic shepherd community and becoming the captain of field hockey team means she is now the primary breadwinner of her family. She is now a role model for all the children here.”

Prabhat Sinha, Founder Mann Deshi Champions Programme

Youth Development Center

Mann Deshi champions youth development center is golden opportunity for girls. Mann Deshi has started career development program for girls of rural Maharashtra. Program provides training for self - defense, personality development, story telling, learning English, driving, interview skills.

Along with physical training and exam training Mann Deshi provideds free library, shoes, sports kits , every day Nutritional and healthy food is given. The objective is to help rural girls to get themselves at the next level of personal and professional development. The program is supported by Rythm Foundation.

Mann Deshi Elite Athletes Programme

This programme, supported by IndusInd Bank, nurtures young high potential athletes - particularly young women athletes - who are economically disadvantaged. They are given training, nutritional support, life-skills workshops and scholarships.

We have excellent facilities at our headquarters in Mhaswad and also use the facilities at the Sanas ground, the Nasik Government Sports School and the Balewadi Sports School. Our athletes participate in a number of sports such as track and field, wrestling, badminton, field hockey and swimming and we work on building their personal fitness regimes as well as their confidence.

We also regularly invite guest coaches and highly accomplished national and international athletes to meet and interact with our athletes, as well take our athletes on field trips and encourage them to share their stories on the Mann Deshi Community Radio, which has over 50,000 regular listeners. Most of our athletes end up playing at the national level.

Meet Prajakta Shinde

Prajakta Shinde is from Dahiwadi village. She is a daughter of single mother. Prajakta comes from an underprivilaged community, for her there would be no other option than getting employed. At Mann Deshi's Youth Development Center Prajakta developed skill set for stage daring, improved her English and understood methods of giving an Interview. Today Prajakta proudly says that she has secured a job at Tata Consultancy in Pune. While speaking at the Mann Deshi Tarang Radio she said, she had never imagined that she would land a job at the place like Tata Consultancy.

Bicycles for Girls

We give girls bicycles so that they save time on their daily commute and can continue going to school even when it’s in a different village. We have seen that this ensures that girls complete high school.

We aim to

  1. Remove distance as an obstacle to education
  2. Save time on the daily commute to school for other activities
  3. Encourage girls to be confident and take an active role in their own education


9,000 bicycles

have been donated since 2002.

150 bicycles

on average are donated to school girls each year.

"I remember the case of a student whose father was too poor to buy her a bicycle and because her home was so far from our school, he wanted her to drop out. But because of the Mann Deshi bicycle she was able to continue. She's now pursuing a medical degree."

Chanda Mane, Principal, Gyan Vardhini High School