Ved Arya

Ashoka Fellow
New Delhi, Delhi, India
Fellow Since 2007


This profile was prepared when Ved Arya was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2007.
The New Idea
Ved is changing what is often perceived as an adversarial relationship between government institutions, donor agencies, and citizen organizations (COs). His organization, SRIJAN (meaning “creation” in Hindi and originally, Self-Reliant Initiatives through Joint Action), mixes consultancy services with support in the field. Ved’s consultants influence policy, project design and management, and recruitment for government development jobs while his field teams work with local communities to implement innovative, pro-poor projects and demonstrate their effectiveness.

Revenues from his consultancy services support his field initiatives and bring the incomes of field workers into line with industry norms, which in turn helps attract talented professionals. This creates a new human resource base for India’s development projects. Collaborating with the government, he is addressing broader issues of transparency and corruption and changing the ethos within the development bureaucracy.

SRIJAN promotes self-reliance and poverty alleviation through sustainable livelihood and water management projects in rural India’s poorest regions. Because his organization is involved at every level—from the design, to staffing and resource management, to implementation in the field—its projects have been unusually effective. They also have the potential to grow and expand more rapidly than other development work. The World Bank is replicating this multifaceted strategy, particularly the human resource strategy, in its projects in India as well as Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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