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Meet sustainability innovators combating climate change in India

At Google, since our founding in 1998, we have built sustainability into everything we do, and we have always believed that the best ideas can come from anywhere. That is why we supported the APAC Sustainability Seed Fund, founded by the Asian Venture Philanthropy Network (AVPN), with a $3 million grant by, Google’s philanthropic arm, in partnership with Asian Development Bank. This fund enables local organizations working hard to develop solutions for sustainable practices and combating the effects of climate change across APAC, be it heat waves, rising sea levels or loss of biodiversity.

India’s population, especially, could be susceptible to severe water-related challenges, including both high water scarcity and excessive flooding, across its vast geographic landscape and many climatic zones, if global temperatures cross the threshold temperature rise of 1.5 degree Celsius, which the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change expects could occur within this decade.

Two organizations based in India, Gujarat Mahila Housing Sewa Trust and Villgro Innovation Foundation, are working on solutions to address such threats, and have recently been selected to receive support from the APAC Sustainability Seed Fund to explore new use-cases for AI, ML and IoT models that can help manage water supply and inundation risks across the country. Read more about these two social innovators below:

  • Gujarat Mahila Housing Sewa Trust is focused on empowering and equipping women across India to build sustainable and gender-inclusive cities, providing training and technical expertise in construction, technology, and urban governance. With the grant, the organization aims to develop an AI-enabled model for building climate resilience in Amalner, Maharashtra to serve as an archetype for a small urban town in India. The project will pioneer the mapping of land use and catchment areas to predict their susceptibility to floods and inundation, which will contribute to protecting natural drainage systems.
  • Villgro Innovation Foundation is an India-based nonprofit incubator focused on supporting social innovation through technology. The grant is supporting the organization’s partnership with CultYvate to develop a mobile and browser-based application, IoT sensors, satellite data, and AI/ML models that will provide farmers in India with real-time insights and advice for irrigation management, thereby enabling them to save water with precise Alternate Wetting & Drying (AWD) and irrigation techniques.

These organizations are amongst 13 local sustainability organizations that have been selected by the APAC Sustainability Seed Fund for helping vulnerable and underserved communities in the region.

Read more about the Sustainability Seed Fund.