Ambedkar Grants for Advancing Poverty Eradication (AGAPE)

AGAPE provides competitive funding and mentoring for innovative pilot projects in severe poverty eradication that offer strong prospects of cost-effective scale-up.

In its first year of operation, AGAPE has made four awards in India:

To the Snekithi Charitable Trust in Tamil Nadu, Rs. 199000 for an initiative that will raise the productivity and thereby the incomes of Dalit woman farmers in the rain-fed areas of Karur District. AGAPE’s mentors for this project are Srilakshmi Vajrakarur and Johnson Prasant Palakkappillil.

To the Kuriakose Elias Service Society (KESS) in Elanjikulam, Nadathara, Thrissur, Rs. 200000 for an initiative that will help women who have lost their jobs build a tailoring cooperative after suitable fashion design training. AGAPE’s mentor for this project is Jose Nandhikkara.

To Dr. Arambam Noni Meetai at Dhanamanjuri University, Imphal, Manipur, Rs. 220000 for an initiative that will enable villagers in Kwatha to market their fermented bamboo shoot product directly in Imphal, thereby capturing a larger share of the final sales price. AGAPE’s mentor for this project is Tanvir Aeijaz.

To the National Service Scheme Unit at Sacred Heart University and Chellanam Panchayat, Rs. 175000 for an initiative that will improve the livelihood of women by enabling them to create an enterprise for the manufacture and distribution of ecofriendly paper bags. AGAPE’s mentor for this project is Johnson Prasant Palakkappillil.

AGAPE will closely monitor and learn from these initiatives and intends to disburse another, larger sum in awards in 2023.

AGAPE is a program of Academics Stand Against Poverty (ASAP), an international community of scholars and researchers working to confront the rules and practices that perpetuate global poverty and to initiate targeted, evidence-based reforms. This program commemorates and honors Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, India’s great leader in poverty eradication. Initial seed funding for AGAPE was generously provided by Krishen and Geeta Mehta.

Contributions to AGAPE are tax-deductible in India and the United States. Help those who know poverty first-hand try out their best ideas toward eradicating severe poverty for good!

Srilakshmi Vajrakarur delivered a progress report on the inaugural projects in India at the ASAP/Yale GJP annual conference in November 2023.

Forwardgoing, AGAPE aims to continue funding promising projects that will pilot innovative approaches to poverty eradication. Here poverty is defined broadly as including the whole range of basic social and economic needs; and eradication is conceived as enabling households to escape poverty permanently. At this time, only individuals and organizations planning pilot projects in India are eligible to apply.

Applications should consist of one page each on the proposal and the proposers.

The proposal page should specify a detailed plan for the pilot project, preceded by a one-sentence summary statement of purpose, and followed by a brief timeline and budget.

The proposer page should give relevant details about the person(s) intending to do the work and (if applicable) their organization.

Additional supporting materials are accepted but not encouraged.

An expert panel will assess pilot projects based on their cost-effectiveness and promise of success as well as their potentials for innovation and scale-up. Projects funded in prior years may be resubmitted for additional funding.

Proposals should be sent