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Documenting impact through the local community’s lens

ATE Chandra Foundation


A water body rejuvenation project to transform the lives of millions

ATE Chandra Foundation was working with multiple state governments on a waterbody rejuvenation project. The project stemmed from an analysis of the vast number of dried lakes and waterbodies in the country due to silt accumulation on the water beds, resulting in wasted natural resources. The project involved working with multiple stakeholders (government officials, farmers, local NGOs, and community members) to de-silt the water bodies. By doing this, the lakes were able to store and hold rainwater for much longer, resulting in higher quality and quantity of crops in the farms, access to water for the community, and higher livelihoods.

ATE along with other partners and state governments have rejuvenated over 5000 waterbodies, reaching 7000 villages and impacting 10 million people.

Need for Documentation

Collecting and showcasing stories from the ground

ATE needed to document the process, progress and finally the impact of their work for a few reasons:

  1. To showcase the impact of their work and encourage other partners to invest in it

  2. To share the ongoing progress of this work with invested stakeholders like the government and keep them updated on progress


ATE approached Studio Subu to help them capture and showcase their work in Rajasthan, UP and MP.

Our work with ATECF

While de-silting waterbodies sounds like a fairly simple solution, there are layered complexities in the actual implementation of the solution with multiple stakeholders involved. Our primary goal was to go on the ground to understand and capture the nuances of what it takes to implement the project.

Breadth of documentation

Through a series of videos, photos, stories, and reports, we were able to document the actual project implementation across districts. A key focus was also to capture the voices of multiple stakeholders involved with different aspects of the work. This included farmers, tractor owners, community members, government officials, NGO partners who shared their motivation, role, challenges, and benefits from the project. We prioritised diversity in perspectives, impact areas, voices and on quantity of photos and voices that could be used in different ways with high frequency for updates.

While the agenda when we go on-field is to collect these visuals and stories, a key priority for us is to ensure that the entire interaction does not feel like a transaction for the people being interviewed/photographed. We are constantly asking ourselves if what we are capturing is an honest reflection of the scene on the field and how can we present it in the most respectful manner possible. Portraying people and situations with dignity and hope.

Longevity of documentation

Our team went to the field 3 times over 6 months to capture the visible change in the landscape and the testimonials attesting to the improvement in living conditions and livelihood of the community. The longevity of the impact documentation allowed us to capture the before, in progress, and after-effects of the project.

Packaging and Showcasing

We understand that both investors and governments need to absorb information in certain ways to truly understand the power and impact of this work. We designed a short, mobile-friendly report that described the water rejuvenation work and brought it to life with visuals. We leveraged the power of video to capture the emotion and impact on the lives of those impacted.

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