Promoting Rural Livelihoods through Transformative Financial Inclusion


This three-year project will establish and build the capacity of a new NGO alliance to deliver economic and financial inclusion expertise in India. Through savings groups, over 100,000 rural participants living in extreme poverty will improve their financial literacy, understanding and access to group savings accounts, credit, remittance services, and life and health insurance products. 25,000 of the participant households are categorized as ultrapoor and will receive additional livelihood training and coaching support through the Graduation Approach.


This partner alliance will provide a platform to standardize and deliver high-quality Graduation and financial inclusion expertise, while promoting and sharing learning to add maximum value to national and global efforts to empower the poorest. The project takes place in three states of India – Odisha, Jharkhand and West Bengal. Some of the project activities will be done in partnership with two state branches of the National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM), India’s national flagship program for alleviating poverty in rural areas through the Odisha Livelihood Mission (OLM) and the Jharkhand State Livelihood Promotion Society (JSLPS). This project will also be implemented in West Bengal where Trickle Up is partnering with our local partner Prasari, under a broader effort spearheaded by Bharat Rural Livelihood Foundation, a quasi-governmental organization dedicated to promoting livelihoods among the poorest communities.


Project Objectives

  • Build a structured partner alliance and resource community for the economic and financial inclusion of the poorest.
  • Build the capacity of alliance members to effectively apply technical expertise in NRLM and other programs.
  • Build the capacity of the partner alliance to monitor, evaluate and learn to ensure continuous contribution to the economic and financial inclusion knowledge base.

Project Data

  • 8 organizations, including Trickle Up, became members of the established alliance, titled “Ultra-Poor National Alliance” on February 6, 2016
  • 100% of alliance members committed to basic organizational standards through signed agreements
  • A financial inclusion training manual is currently under development
  • To date, 1,335 participants have been enrolled in savings groups

End of project data:

  • The partner alliance - Ultra Poor National Alliance (UPNA) - was established in 2017 with 9 member NGOs. UPNA members approved and revised the charter in March 2019, committing to continue for another 2 years. UPNA members jointly launched their website at as they look to increase their reach and widen their network through partnerships and alliances.
  • 12 high-level trainings and meetings took place during which UPNA members built their capacity through cross-learning and through sessions led by external sources, which improved their understanding of ultra poverty and of the Graduation Approach.
  • 100,000 participants living in extreme poverty received economic and financial inclusion support through their integration into 8,000 self-help groups (SHGs). All SHGs have functional bank accounts to access entitlements and loans for its members. Trickle Up and its partners actively trained the non-active SHGs to be proactive and supported linking them to banks.
  • Two module-based financial trainings were provided to 8,000 SHGs over the course of the project. In addition, two module-based trainings on SHG management and life-skills development of SHG members were conducted in 154 SHGs in Jharkhand and 275 SHGs in Odisha. In West Bengal, Trickle Up did not work with SHGs so the life-skills development and financial management training were provided to 2,300 individual ultrapoor participants.
  • 97% of ultrapoor participants integrated into SHGs actively participated in savings and credit activities. Ultrapoor participants saved an average of INR 3,250 and accessed credit of an average of INR 4,350 at the end of the third year of the project.
  • 768 rural motivators have been trained and have provided financial literacy trainings.
  • 6 M&E trainings were conducted over the course of the project. Multiple follow-up trainings were also conducted with UPNA member staff during individual partner visits and partner program reviews. All partners were trained on M&E tools, data collection methodology, and reporting mechanisms. The partners use the M&E knowledge they learned and monitoring tools such as the Income & Expenditure MIS<Monthly, baseline, and endline formats to record data and monitor project progress.
  • 8 knowledge products on financial inclusion were developed and shared with partners over the course of the project for use in the field, including: posters, insurance claim process documents, presentations, and a financial literacy film.
  • 90% of ultrapoor participants have opened individual bank accounts (savings account) as a result of individual and group-level awareness generation on savings, credit, and financial services.
  • 70% of ultrapoor participants have accessed and enrolled in an insurance scheme and 67% of ultrapoor participants have been linked to a pension scheme.
  • At baseline, 35% of households had access to MGNREGA job cards, which guarantees the "right to work" by providing at least 100 days of wage employment in a financial year to every household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work. 85% of ultrapoor participants had access to MGNREGA job cards by the end of the project, also contributing to their income.
  • 100% of ultrapoor participants are engaged in at least two additional livelihood activities (meaning their livelihoods are diversified).
  • 72% of ultrapoor participants generated an income of INR 32,000 per year, up from an average of INR 12,000 per year at baseline.

Jalpaiguri and Purulia, West Bengal, India
Dumka, Lohardaga, Pakur, Deoghar, and West Singbhum, Jharkhand, India
Sundergarh, Bolangir, Gajpati, Kandhamal, and Puri, Odisha, India

Start Date: 10/1/2015 
End Date: 5/31/2019


Number of Participants: 100,000


Vulnerable Populations


Women, Rural, Indigenous Groups, Extreme Poor, Ultrapoor


Project Components

Stipend for Consumption Support, Asset Transfer, Coaching, Savings/Self-Help Groups (savings and credit services), Technical Livelihood Skills Training, Financial Literacy and Capability Training, Access to Formal Financial Services (savings and credit), Access to Insurance Services, Links to Government Services, Wage Employment 

Our Partners

Self Employed Workers’ Association Kendra (SEWAK) is a grassroots organization in Sundargarh, Odisha, India whose mission is to educate rural and tribal communities on rights, generate among them awareness on health and environment, train them in entrepreneurial skills, and encourage them to find sustainable livelihoods. SEWAK has been a Trickle Up partner since 2006.

PRASARI is a voluntary organization in West Bengal was established in 2007 to work with and for rural families towards access to services and secured and sustainable livelihoods and wellbeing, with a special focus on women. Trickle Up and PRASARI have been partners since 2013. 

Lokadrusti is a non-profit voluntary organization working for the development of the tribes in the Nuapada District of Odisha, India, since 1988. Lokadrusti aims to transform this region into a self-sufficient and sustainable area by promoting grassroots-level organizations. Trickle Up has partnered with Lokadrusti since 2007. 

Network for Enterprise Enhancement & Development Support (NEEDS) was established in 1998 with the mission to ensure sustained food and nutritional security of marginalized populations, especially women and children, through environmentally sound interventions, while considering equity and human rights. Trickle Up and NEEDS have worked in partnership since 2002.  

Lohardaga Gram Swarajya Sansthan (LGSS) was formed in 1985 to empower rural poor and disadvantaged communities in Lohardaga district, Jharkhand, India, to identify and utilize their potential and resources for their overall development in a sustainable manner. Trickle Up has partnered with LGSS since 1999.


Jamgoria Sevabrata (JS) works for the promotion of livelihoods for poor and marginalized people through the optimum utilization of their own resources, land and water management, promotion of agriculture, and increasing the accessibility to government services to ensure food security and development. JS has been a Trickle Up partner since 1999. 

People’s Rural Education Movement (PREM) is a secular, humanitarian, non-political and non-governmental organization working for the development of Adivasi (indigenous), Dalit, Fisher folk and other marginalized communities of Odisha and neighboring states of India to spread education, improve healthcare, implement livelihood initiatives, build capacity for good governance, and promote and protect the rights of children among marginalized communities. Trickle Up and PREM have worked as partners since 2016. 

PRAVAH, founded in 1992, is a non-profit voluntary organization working with the disadvantaged communities to improve livelihood opportunities and create an enabling environment for them to live with dignity. Trickle Up has worked in partnership with PRAVAH since 2011. 

Other Partners