Skoll Foundation


International Development Enterprises (India)

Skoll Awardee(s): Amitabha Sadangi
Award Year: 2005
Issue Area(s) Addressed: Economic Opportunity, Environmental Sustainability, Sustainable Markets

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“Once they can irrigate, farmers have the opportunity to work their way up from subsistence farming to become genuine agricultural engineers. We give people the opportunity to take one dollar, buy the irrigation equipment they need to farm a small plot of land, and then sell the vegetables they don’t eat themselves, and with the money they make, farm a bigger piece of land. They can stop migrating, stay where their kids are able to get a good education, buy clothes and other things, and be much better off. That is the power of one dollar.”

Livelihoods, Responsible Supply Chains, Smallholder Productivity, Water Management

Although India receives abundant rain during the four-month monsoon season, most of the country is dry during the rest of the year. Farm families become migrants in search of labor, keeping their children out of school for months at a time, and perpetuating a cycle of poverty.

The social entrepreneur: Amitabha Sadangi overcame a background of extreme poverty through education, and determined to create a business that would focus on more than the bottom line. International Development Enterprises-India, which he founded in 2001, makes and sells irrigation products that even the poorest farmers can afford, enabling them to grow food for their families and to sell during the dry season. Poor farmers had been ignored as a market segment on the assumption that they had no money to spend. IDE-I has shown that with the right products—appropriately sized, priced and marketed—the marketplace is an efficient mechanism to distribute income-generating technologies IDE-I invests in both market and outcomes research, seeking to understand the environment in which its clients operate. Thus, it engages in research, networks, skills development and policy work to address the challenges of small producers, including access to markets and finance, information, regulatory issues, market organization, competitiveness, marketplace infrastructure and business skills. At the time of the Award, 2 million people had earned $600 million through use of IDE-I products.

Impact since joining the portfolio in 2005:

  • IDE-I treadle pumps and drip systems are used by more than 1.25 million households, benefiting 6 million people. Each household earns an average of $500 additional income in a year , for a cumulative total of $1.3 billion over 15 years.
  • These households also have experienced improvements in education and nutrition.
  • Use of manually operated treadle pumps is reducing carbon emissions by more than 2.5 million tons.
  • IDE-I enterprises have generated 1.6 million days of employment in the supply chain (manufacturers, dealers, village-based installers and mechanics.).




© 2015 Skoll Foundation.