Amitabha Sadangi

Amitabha Sadangi

Amitabha Sadangi holds the position of the Executive Director of IDE India (a section 25 not for-profit company). Mr. Sadangi holds a Post Graduate Degree in Labor and Social Welfare with an additional Degree in Law. But abandoned a promising Government employment in 1982 and decided to focus on issues of poverty and development.


Mr. Sadangi spent his early years in a small place called Gallery in Orissa state of India, which gave him an opportunity to meet rural folk who would often end up working in construction sites. During interactions with them, Mr. Sadangi realized how unhappy they were at the prospect of leaving behind their home and families and staying in poor living conditions. He realized that if they were able to earn a living in their village, they would never consider an opportunity to work as laborers in semi-urban and urban areas. This was an initial learning in life - one could create happiness in the lives of people by providing them an opportunity to create livelihoods in their own villages.


Mr. Sadangi has spent 34 years in various aspects of rural development work. Starting his career in development sector with Churches’ Auxiliary for Social Action (CASA) & implementing grass roots rural development programs in the state of Orissa, India, after five years he moved on to OXFAM GB, where he helped several organizations initiate micro enterprises development programs. Despite achieving success in career until then, he always wondered how long a donor agency could support program where technologies and services were given away free of cost and were not necessarily valued by villagers. A specific example was where smallholder farmers were given a water source, agriculture inputs free of cost. After a couple of months, it was seen that the farmers had sold all the agriculture inputs to richer farmers to get cash. The water source was never used. All the money spent by the NGO implementing this program went down the drain. This was learning in life – one could feel happy by offering technologies and services free of cost, but neither was it sustainable, nor was it necessary that recipients would use them. Mr. Sadangi then joined IDE International, in India and worked on all elements of its operations, including program design, field program management, staffing, finances, marketing, strategic planning, fundraising, donor relations and new product development. To achieve the mandate forward, Mr. Sadangi founded IDE-India and to build IDE India into a fully-fledged organization with strategic reach and impact throughout India, under Mr. Sadangi’s leadership, IDEI created an exemplary treadle pump supply chain that has provided over 940, 000 treadle pumps in India as of March 2016.


While taking a rare break from work, while vacationing in Mysore, in Karnataka, Mr. Sadangi met farmers who had sold their land and were using manually driven rickshaws to transport passengers for a livelihood. On striking a conversation with them Mr. Sadangi realized that there was a huge scope to develop technologies to generate livelihood for them. This was a learning in life –continuous interaction with the rural poor in diverse areas leads one to learn of new opportunities. Thereafter, Mr. Sadangi led the introduction of a low-cost drip irrigation technology with the potential to dramatically improve incomes for smallholder farm families living under 1$ a day poverty. As of March 2016, over 418,000 smallholder farm families have adopted this technology and marching out of poverty. In 2001, Mr. Sadangi, led IDE India’s transition to an autonomous Indian organization. Mr. Sadangi is the founding member of IDE (India) and serve on its board. At the time of the transition, Mr. Sadangi was selected to serve as the first Executive Director of IDE (India).


Mr. Sadangi is passionate about the issue of poverty and committed to a market-based approach to addressing the critical needs of those living under 1$ a day poverty. Mr. Sadangi’s vision of social change sees small-scale farmers as consumers with a basic right to products and services that address their needs. Mr. Sadangi also sees the need for social change organizations to achieve sustainability, and has sought to generate innovative models for revenue generation for IDE (India). In the same way that the poor suffer through short-term subsidized programs, Mr. Sadangi believes IDEI will suffer if it remains dependent on donations.


Mr. Sadangi’s entrepreneurial approach to addressing the needs of poor farmers has led him to develop some of the most effective marketing and distribution strategies currently deployed in India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. As a team, Mr. Sadangi and his staff seek direct feedback from farmers, with each employee responsible for speaking with 100 individual farmers each year.


Mr. Sadangi’s efforts in the development sector have won recognition from many organizations, including Tech Laureate 2010 (under economic development category) & 2004, the Finalist Zayed Future Energy Prize (2010), Ashden Award for Sustainable Energy 2006, Ashden Outstanding Achievement Award For Sustainable Energy 2009, Schwab Fellow Of The World Economic Forum 2008,  Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship 2005, and others.