Chintan wins U.S. Secretary of State’s Innovation Award for the Empowerment of Women and Girls

Updated March 9, 2012 -- Chintan Environmental Research and Action Group, an Indian nonprofit organization working on issues of urban poverty, consumption, and sustainable livelihoods for people working in the informal sector in India, is one of three winners of a $500,000 2012 Secretary’s Innovation Award for the Empowerment of Women and Girls from U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The other winners are Samasource and KickStart Tanzania.

Chintan is led by Bharati Chaturvedi, a Synergos Senior Fellow. Ms. Chaturvedi founded Chintan in 1999 to respond to an urgent for create cross-cutting environmental, health, and policy initiatives conducted in partnership with the urban poor.

In speaking about Chaturvedi and the other honorees, Secretary Clinton said “These are people who looked at a problem and said, ”I refuse to accept this. I’m going to do something about it.’”

Chintan will use funding from the Secretary’s Innovation Award to strengthen public-private partnerships to create sustainable livelihoods for women wastepickers, and education opportunities for wastepicker girls. The Innovation Award jury -- composed of Judith Rodin of the Rockefeller Foundation, Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook, Muhammad Yunus of Grameen Bank, and Melanne Verveer, the U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues -- described this program as an initiative that “truly holds the promise of transforming the lives of women and girls.”

Speaking about the award, Ms. Chaturvedi said, “We all celebrate on behalf of the wastepickers we partner with who have finally got this opportunity to take a leap forward and transform both their lives and the next generation."

For more information about the award, see the State Department announcement. For information about Chintan, visit