Development of Human Action Foundation


Madurai, Tamil Nadu




Mr. M.P. Vasimalai hails from a farming community and had his post-graduation in Agriculture (Agronomy) from Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU). After a brief period of Government service in agricultural extension, he joined TNAU as a water management researcher for two years. Further he had his post-graduation on management at Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad. Three decades of experience in development work: Builder of PRADAN from the beginning (1983); former Executive Director of PRADAN (1992-1997); founded DHAN Foundation; initiated many development themes and projects including Kalanjiam and Vayalagam; Executive Director of DHAN Foundation at present; one of the founders of INAFI (International Network for Alternate Financial Institution), member of NGO Boards, policy bodies of state and central government and its institutions. DHAN is a new breed of Development NGO that nurtures professionalism in development work. Poverty is a dynamic and complex problem, which needs professional intervention with passion. Driven by the philosophy of “Giving Back to the society”, DHAN continues to attract, groom and engage highly qualified and socially concerned young professionals to work at the grassroots for making meaningful changes in the lives of the poor families.

Scalability and Impact:

DHAN’s works are spread over 16,000 villages in 66 Districts of 12 Indian States. The widely recognized water conservation and development programme of DHAN has helped small and marginal farmers to rehabilitate over 2000 traditional irrigation reservoirs and 61 watersheds. To take up these works, they have mobilized Rs. 275 million from government, private organisations and individual philanthropies, and shared their own contribution of Rs. 70 million as cash and labour. It has resulted in securing water and improvements in soil moisture regimes of 159,000 hectares of lands. Its community banking programme has been able to impact the livelihoods of over 900,000 poor women. The SHGs have provided space for the women to save Rs. 3,658 million and mobilize credit worth of Rs. 20,773 million for enhancing their livelihoods and poverty reduction. All the poor families have been provided life and health insurance under micro insurance programmes to the tune of Rs.37 Billion worth of risk cover. DHAN is consulted by the state and central governments for reflecting on their policies in the fields of water conservation, microfinance and livelihoods.

Financial Requirements:


Awards and Recognition:

India NGO Award 2009 by Rockefeller Foundation to DHAN Jindal Prize 2011 AGFUND International Prize 2012
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