He had been working to empower tribal communities displaced by Dimbhe dam in Maharashtra, along with his wife, Kusum Karnik, for the past 34 years. In 1996, they registered a voluntary organisation called Shashwat, which has helped tribal communities develop sustainable fishing in the Dimbhe reservoir. Through lobbying and partnership with the local government, dam displaced farmers now access light- weight pumps and pipelines for crop irrigation; on steep slopes high above the dam and tribal farmers have been supported to cultivate small paddy terraces. The organisation runs schools and also supports local farmers with land tenure securitisation (official ownership documents). Grain harvests have improved substantially, ensuring food security. Seasonal migration to nearby cities, from 14 villages, has stopped. In recognition of Shashwat’s accomplishments, it was awarded the 2012 UNDP Equator Prize for Freshwater Resource Management chosen from among 812 nominations in 113 countries.
Anand had coordinated R&R works of about 20 organisations following the 1997 Jabalpur Earthquake in and participated in long-term recovery following the 2001 Kutch earthquake. Kapoor had an engineering degree from Indian Institute of Technology (Kharagpur) and had been visiting faculty to the Centre for Technological Alternatives for Rural areas (CTARA) of Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay.
Anand Kapoor’s passing away is certainly an irreparable loss, but Aid For Change endeavours to take his vision forward through its programmes and make it a reality.