In the past 15 years, India has experienced tremendous economic growth and transformation; however, this growth has been highly unequal. Despite becoming a middle-income country and significantly decreasing the percentage of its population who live in extreme poverty, India is still home to 1/3 of the global population of people living in extreme poverty (defined as living on less than $1.90 a day). In many areas, the vulnerability of people living in extreme poverty has increased over the past 10 years due to climate change and financial and social exclusion.

In India, Trickle Up works with vulnerable populations, including women and members of Scheduled Castes and Tribes. A quarter of the population of India belongs to a Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe, which are official designations given to groups of historically disadvantaged indigenous people in India. Members of the many indigenous peoples of India self-identify as Adivasi, which is commonly translated as “original inhabitants” and encompasses over 200 distinct peoples speaking more than 100 languages.

The Adivasi are disproportionately represented among the poorest and overwhelmingly live in rural areas. They are concentrated primarily in the states and villages of eastern India where Trickle Up works. They face chronic hunger and starvation on a regular basis and children in these communities face higher rates of malnutrition.

Women in India also are more likely to be among the poorest. They’re largely excluded from economic opportunities to bring themselves and their families out of extreme poverty, like financial services, earning an income, and land ownership. Women in India also are at a high risk for gender-based violence and often lack access to government services, health services, and social protection programs.

Where we work

States: Jharkhand, Odisha, and West Bengal

India Statistics:

  • 259.5 million people live in extreme poverty in India
  • The percentage of people living in extreme poverty in India decreased by 10.1% in just two years (2009-2011)
  • In 2005, 44.7% of the population of rural Scheduled Tribes lived in poverty and 37.1% of rural Scheduled Castes, compared to just 28.1% of the total rural population of India
  • A 2005 survey of Scheduled Tribes in two Indian states found that 99% of households faced chronic hunger and 25% faced semi-starvation within the last week
  • Nearly 53% of children in Scheduled Tribes were reported to be stunted and 29% were severely stunted
  • Only 27% of women participate in the labor force in India
  • 1/3 of women between the ages of 15 and 49 report experiencing physical violence in their lifetimes
  • 8.5% of women in India report experiencing sexual violence within their lifetimes

Trickle Up’s Impact


the increase in participants’ annual incomes after three years of the program in India.


of participants save on a regular basis in India, compared to only 10% before Trickle Up.


of participant households in India reported sometimes or often not having enough to eat over the past year. Before the program, 45% of participant households didn’t have enough to eat.


of participant households in India engaged in some form of community advocacy, up from only 1% before participation.

Trickle Up’s History in the Region

Trickle Up has worked in India since 1982. We established our current regional field office in Kolkata, West Bengal, in 2006. Working with the World Bank’s Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP) and the Ford Foundation, we piloted our first Graduation project in India in 2007. To date, Trickle Up has served over 60,000 participants, benefiting more than 300,000 people in India.

Over the last ten years, Trickle Up has built strong partnerships and formed a network of community-based NGOs in some of the poorest districts of Odisha, West Bengal, and Jharkhand. Together with our partners, Trickle Up India has developed an expertise in reaching those at the last mile of poverty and become a leader in the design and implementation of Graduation programs that economically, financially, and socially empower excluded and marginalized groups.