Reimagining and Redefining Development

It was a hot day in early June many years ago when we – Anirban and Anish – were walking through through Gumla in Jharkhand, with the then Managing Trustee of TATA Trusts. Our conversation cemented an inkling we’d had for a while.

After noting the progress in the last quarter, we stopped to chat with a young farmer. She had experienced a significant increase in her annual income, a tenfold rise reaching Rs 2 lakh per annum through her work in a self-help group (SHG). We were all pleased her income had improved and food security was possible. But there was more to her story. For many aspects of her hard life remained unchanged.

“What would you like your children to be when they grow up?” the Tata Trustee asked her.

“Like you,” she responded.

The question was simple. The answer was even simpler. But that one moment put us in touch with both the aspirations and the gap at arriving there.

Schools in her village were non-operational and healthcare services were non-existent. So her enhanced income did not translate into improved opportunities for her family. We realised livelihood was just one dimension of life. It did not necessarily improve quality of life. And it definitely did not naturally extend to intergenerational prosperity.

Thus, TRI was born, with one single radiant vision – to transform opportunities for rural Indians by implementing multidimensional and systemic change for widespread impact. In our own way, our goal was to reimagine and redefine the idea of “development.”

– Anish and Anirban

Journey Snapshot

2015Ideation & Partnership Building

2015Ideation & Partnership Building

  • Hours spent blue-sky thinking before charting the framework and design of TRI with Tata Trusts and leading civil society organisations
  • Creating blueprint of engagement – theory of change – based on baseline
  • Establishing sector councils: education, health & nutrition
  • Placing premium on community self-determination: prototyping “external-facilitated community taking charge,” women cluster federations, community “Change Vectors”
2016TRI Incorporated and Programs Piloted

2016TRI Incorporated and Programs Piloted

  • Piloting community-led, multi-dimensional programs for change
  • PRIDE Project with PRADAN and Ikea Foundation in Jharkhand
  • AKRSP, FES, ASA supported by Tata Trusts in Madhya Pradesh
  • Systems change prototypes: Community-centric sector strategy for Health & Nutrition, Primary Education, Rural Prosperity and Partnership Compact building Methodology
2017Integrate Local Governance and Public Systems

2017Integrate Local Governance and Public Systems

  • The realisation that for development to be sustainable – local governance needs to be integrated
  • Work to make panchayats co-levers of multi-dimensional quality of life change together with women federations
  • Prototype a pilot programme supported by APF in Rajpur, Badwani, Madhya Pradesh
  • Recognise that public systems must be utilised from within and create public systems engagement prototypes
  • Design, develop and implement Community Managed Irrigation for ALL and large-scale Livelihoods Assetisation supported by MGNREGS with Jharkhand government
2018Pivoting and Public Systems Strengthening

2018Pivoting and Public Systems Strengthening

  • Pivot to strengthening public systems ties and scale up successful pilots
  • Shift to quasi-government community organisations – model for “Deep Community Engagement,” leverage development synergy with government
  • CBO-PRI Prototype in Madhya Pradesh is scaled up
  • Nudge Unit: Transformation of Aspirational District Programme implementation support in 35 left wing extremism (LWE) districts
  • Integrate learning with national programmes – Mission Antyodaya and Aspirational Districts
2019Scale up, strengthen and create solutions

2019Scale up, strengthen and create solutions

  • Scaling up, strengthening public systems in UP SRLM, scaling up DAY-National Rural Livelihoods Mission Partnership
  • Create technology-enabled efficiency interventions and improve human resource development, particularly with frontline government staff
  • Create economic development solutions
  • Engagement for national impact: NRLM and SRLMs, systemic introduction of community-led strategies for livelihoods development, health & nutrition interventions within NRLM programme led by women self-help groups (SHG)
  • Introduce technology solutions for interventions at scale: MOOC for cluster federations and business plan development
  • New initiatives on prosperity: incubate special purpose vehicle in partnership with Ministry of Rural Development on value chains
  • Prototype Millionaire Farmer Development Programme and Farmer Technology Centre
  • Focus on the youth as a vital demographic, create employability and Mini & Nano Rural Business (MNRB) programmes
2020The COVID shockwave

2020The COVID shockwave

  • Leveraged our deep networks to lead comprehensive humanitarian relief and economic resilience engagement in the first wave
  • Implemented exemplar interventions, including entitlement delivery, health infrastructure and service delivery
  • Strengthened confidence in locality compacts: community based organisation – Panchayati Raj Institutions and local administrations (CBO-PRI-LA)
2021Time for Reflection… and Expansion

2021Time for Reflection… and Expansion

  • Year Five of TRI
  • Time for reflection – launch of Quinquennial Review and TRI Strategy 2025: Stakeholder validation of Theory of Change and Early Results Validation
  • Time for expansion – enter PPiA and IRC and Village Square 2.0
  • Expanded our Nudge Units and created Public Policy in Action (PPiA) working even closer with government at all levels
  • Host first annual India Rural Colloquy (IRC) August 1-8, bringing samaj, sarkar and bazaar together in over a dozen panel discussions
  • Relaunch digital outlet VillageSquare.In – bringing stories and insights from rural India to a wider youth and urban audience
  • Demonstrations: models for scale change
2022Consolidation & Growth

2022Consolidation & Growth

  • Moving ahead – consolidating in some areas and growing in others with around 200 employees working across 4 main states
  • Mission 25 million: DAY-NRLM launches first phase of Mahila Lakhpati Mission in 100
  • Districts strategy development and support at regional administrative level: partnership with Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC)
  • 2nd annual IRC – hybrid event with leading thinkers, officials and CEOs participating
  • Strengthen our commitment to development design – as solution designers a holistic, multifaceted approach to development is at the core of what we do
2023Seven-year itch – redefining TRI

2023Seven-year itch – redefining TRI

  • New visual identity inspired by our grassroots connect, yet brings us closer to the inceptional commitment of development design
  • A year to focus on institutional strengthening of systems and processes
  • Consolidating initiatives with a refreshed identity and renewed commitment
  • Defining the “development gap” narrative
  • Hosting the 3rd annual August 1-8 IRC with the theme Rural Renaissance 2023