Arghyam is an Indian public charitable foundation setup with an endowment from Rohini Nilekani, working in the water and sanitation sector since 2005. ‘Arghyam’ is a Sanskrit word meaning ‘Offering’. Our vision is “Safe, sustainable water for all”.
As a funding agency, Arghyam works primarily through partnerships – with Government, NGOs and various types of institutions – for impact and scale. The emphasis, of all that we do in Arghyam, is on equity and sustainability. Addressing the issues of the poor and the vulnerable in accessing water for their basic daily needs is a priority for us. Addressing these issues in a manner that is environmentally sustainable is important if the outcome is to be effective over time. We believe that the key to achieving this is in better water management which requires effective governance.
Specifically, Arghyam projects strive to understand and address issues of quantity, quality and access to domestic water in communities across the country. Some of the key principles which guide our efforts include the recognition of lifeline water as a basic need and right, decentralization, community participation and ownership, an integrated approach to managing water from source to sink, an emphasis on subsidiarity (which means managing water locally) and the effective use of technology as enabler.
We work through a combination of project grants to grass roots organizations, knowledge building and sharing through the India Water Portal, promoting new models of water science, technology and system design, participatory action research and advocacy.
Arghyam now collaborates with a diverse range of actors across 18 States in India through 80 projects. Rigorous engagement with people and institutions has helped in deepening the internal debate and keeping Arghyam closely connected to the ground.
Arghyam operates through the five groups below. Arghyam’s key initiatives include the Project Grants, the India Water Portal and the Urban Water Initiative. The Research and Development team and the Technology team provide specialized support to the core efforts.