Monsoon Project Addresses Water Scarcity with Impressive Results

Cummins employees in Maharashtra, India, help build bunds to capture water.
Cummins employees in Maharashtra, India, help build bunds to capture water.

In some areas of India, monsoon season often provides residents with their primary source of water. But employees for Cummins India have launched a project in hopes of changing that. 

Cummins’ headquarters in India is in Maharashtra, a state that’s no stranger to water scarcity. Inadequate and unreliable monsoons have resulted in successive droughts, with devastating consequences for poorer communities, and especially, farmers. 

The unequal distribution of rain has led has contributed to tens of thousands farmer suicides, three million villagers seeking work, and, crop yields reduced by 50%. About 82% of the land is covered by volcanic rock, so only 4% of water is captured, resulting in runoff and soil erosion. 

To address this grave concern, Cummins India employees launched the Monsoon resilient Maharashtra (MRM) project to help local communities be less dependent on monsoons. The results have been impressive.

“India is largely an agrarian economy, where lives and livelihoods of farmers depend on monsoons,” said Rajiv Batra, Chief Financial Officer for Cummins’ operations in India and a sponsor of the project.

“Inadequate, inequitable rains, undulating terrain and rocky geological structure of Maharashtra have resulted in challenges, particularly for the farmers in this state. Cummins through the MRM project is contributing to mitigate the problem and make a difference in the lives of this community.”


Cummins employees conducted research and field studies and met with expert stakeholders to learn about possible solutions. They also spent time with local residents to capture valuable information about water usage and crop patterns. 

This led to the formation of a unique scientific and technical model, in partnership with a strong team of experienced nonprofit partners. The project officially launched in four villages in 2017, focusing on areas that would give the highest impact in the region. 

Cummins employees continued their engagement by planting saplings between continuous contour trenches and sowing grass seed onto bunds to collect surface run-off.

To ensure sustainability, the team encouraged community members to participate through various training sessions. 


The project reached 5,700 people and created 490,000 litres of additional water in its first year. Thirty acres of fallow land were converted into cultivable land and average crop productivity increased by 30 percent.

Due to this success, the project team is working this year to scale the project to 19 new villages. They are creating water budgets and conducting geological mapping studies to help make communities’ water secure. A concerted effort is also underway to educate residents on the approach and provide training to ensure water access for years to come. Already this year, they have reached almost 40,000 people.

Cummins believes that a company is only as healthy as the communities where it operates. When the ability to meet a basic need – access to water – is not met, the health of the community is clearly threatened. 

blair claflin director of sustainability communications

Blair Claflin

Blair Claflin is the Director of Sustainability Communications for Cummins Inc. Blair joined the Company in 2008 as the Diversity Communications Director. Blair comes from a newspaper background. He worked previously for the Indianapolis Star (2002-2008) and for the Des Moines Register (1997-2002) prior to that. [email protected]


Cummins Supports STEM Initiative in Indianapolis

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math) is a critically important part of our society, and as such Cummins continues to grow and support STEM-based activities globally. In the greater Indianapolis area, Cummins sponsors the Minority Engineering Program of Indianapolis (MEPI). MEPI is a volunteer organization with the mission of increasing the exposure of 6th through 12th-grade minority students to STEM majors and professional careers. Cummins employees and employees from other Indianapolis organizations volunteer their time at each session to mentor and coach students on a variety of subjects ranging from core technical and science projects to project management, and even soft skills required to excel in professional careers as they matriculate from high school to collegiate life. These sessions are held one Saturday a month throughout the academic school year in downtown Indianapolis. 

Teejah Momoh talks to students about developing their personal brand.


An important piece of the MEPI curriculum are the mock interviews conducted by volunteers, which occur during the spring session each year. Cummins volunteers from the Talent Acquisition team review student resumes and conduct mock interviews with the program's high school seniors. This year, Brian Cook (Talent Acquisition Team Lead) and Teejay Momoh (Global System Engineering Tool Architect) assisted with the

Brian Cook, Talent Acquisition Lead at Cummins, conducts a mock interview with a student.

interviews and resume reviews. This process helps shed more light on areas of improvement, presentation skills, confidence building, and personal branding for the involved students. Additionally, it allows Cummins team members to identify future potential interns.

Cummins also sponsored students from the program to attend the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) national conference in Detroit, Michigan in March where they received the opportunity to participate in Pre-College Initiative activities and network with industry experts & professionals. 

The Minority Engineering Program of Indianapolis is paving the way for Indianapolis students to see STEM as a career choice and Cummins employees are an integral part of this journey. 

Lauren Cole

Lauren is the Global Employer Brand Digital Communications Specialist for Cummins Inc, where she focuses on social media, employer branding, and digital media. Lauren joined the company in early 2017 and has a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from Indiana University. She currently resides in Columbus, IN.

Cummins Empowers Girls Inc. to Share Their Story at the Indiana State House 

Girls Inc young women and Cummins leadership at the Indiana Statehouse

The local aspect of the company’s Cummins Powers Women program was recently displayed at the first-ever advocacy day with Girls Inc.

The nonprofit partner, which inspires girls to be “strong, smart and bold,” brought more than 40 Girls Inc. participants and executives to Cummins’ Distribution Young Women in LeadershipBusiness headquarters in Indianapolis, Indiana (USA), to learn from Cummins leaders about the company’s advocacy skills. 

The day began with a panel discussion featuring several Cummins leaders, moderated by Elyssa Campodonico-Barr, President & CEO of Girls Inc. of Greater Indianapolis. To introduce themselves to the girls, the leaders described their roles and work at Cummins, and what they thought they would be doing at this stage of their lives when they were theCummins leader speaking to young women girls’ age, between about 11-13 years old. The answers ranged from: mayor of Chicago, to president of the United States and professional sports player, with the key takeaway of not limiting or excluding your options. Several of the girls in the room nodded their heads at the answers, a clear sign they are focused on serving in roles of significant influence when they enter the workforce. 

The questions of the panelists focused on how to: be an effective mentor and mentee (find someone who really cares about you and will tell you not only what you are doing well, but what you can do better); confront self-doubt Cummins leader speaking to young womenand overcome it (reaffirm that you are meant to be where you are and to ask for help when you need it); lead with authenticity and bring your whole self to work (people will want to join you in what you are doing if they know who you truly are and what you stand for); and, find your own voice so as to advocate for yourself and others (know your subject matter and be sure to listen). The answers from the Cummins leaders set the stage for the Girls Inc. girls to think about how to amplify their own voices, and to share with the legislators why the program has played such an important role in their lives. 

That led the group to the Indiana State House, where the girls met with legislators from their respective counties. ManyGirls Inc young women with Indiana state leadership and Cummins leadership state representatives and senators met with the girls, answered tough questions from them, and heard first-hand just how impactful Girls Inc. is in shaping them to be strong, smart and bold. The group also met with Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson and heard about her career and public service journey. The day concluded with the group meeting, and having their picture taken on the floor of the Indiana House of Representatives with the POWER Caucus, a bipartisan organization of female legislators who are focused on elevating issues pertaining to women. 

It was an educational, engaging and inspirational day for all involved, and both Cummins and various Girls Inc. local groups are in talks to do this event in other areas around the country.


Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins is a global power leader that designs, manufactures, sells and services diesel and alternative fuel engines from 2.8 to 95 liters, diesel and alternative-fueled electrical generator sets from 2.5 to 3,500 kW, as well as related components and technology. Cummins serves its customers through its network of 600 company-owned and independent distributor facilities and more than 7,200 dealer locations in over 190 countries and territories.

Cummins Celebrates International Women’s Day and Marks the First Anniversary of the Cummins Powers Women Program

Cummins Powers Women - One Year Anniversary - International Womens Day

More than 34,000 women and girls worldwide have been positively impacted by the Cummins Powers Women program since it began on International Women’s Day, a year ago today.

The company’s most ambitious community initiative ever is partnering with a network of expert nonprofit organizations around the world, including Girls Inc., Rosa Fund, Save the Children, China Women Development Foundation, Rise Up, Camfed (the Campaign for Female Education), CARE Australia and Girls Academy.

Cummins Powers Women program
Cummins leaders work with a local group of girls in Australia.

Cummins Powers Women supports a wide range of programs from on-the-ground mentoring and teaching of women and girls, to financial empowerment through entrepreneurship, to leadership development and advocacy at the regional level. In addition, the program furthered 37 advocacy moments by nonprofit partners in Nigeria, England and Mexico. Nearly 20 Cummins leaders currently serve as women’s champions, and more than 70 regional leaders engage directly with nonprofit partners in 13 countries.

“We asked every leader at Cummins to approach this program just as they would any other business initiative at Cummins,” said Tom Linebarger, Cummins Inc. Chairman and CEO. “It is clear that they have, and that our nonprofit partners are fully utilizing our financial commitment to make a real impact in their communities.”

Cummins Powers Women program - India
Tom Linebarger and Mary Chandler (middle / center) participated in a Rise Up convening event in India in February 2019.

The challenges facing women and girls globally are incredibly complex and diverse – there is no single cause and no single solution, but Cummins is uniquely positioned to address this issue. 

Cummins Powers Women is an extension of the positive transformation that the company has experienced firsthand with its focus on ensuring diversity and inclusion at every level of the organization.

“As we celebrate Cummins’ 100th anniversary, we know the time is now to invest in the rights of women and girls,” said Mary Titsworth Chandler, Vice President of Corporate Responsibility and Chief Executive Officer of the Cummins Foundation. “Our partnerships with excellent nonprofits and other corporations will undoubtedly extend beyond Cummins, to the women and girls who live among us but apart from us. Empowering women and girls is one of the single most important issues of our time, and I am so proud of how Cummins has stepped up to the challenge of addressing it, just as we have with both business and social issues throughout our history.” 

Cummins Powers Women addresses the complex array of challenges facing women and girls globally. For example:

  • The gender pay gap stands at 23% globally, and without decisive action, it will take another 68 years to achieve equal pay. 
  • Women and girls routinely experience inequality of economic opportunity, voice and decision-making abilities. Research shows that if women were to participate in the economy identically to men, they could add as much as $28 trillion, or 26 percent, to annual global GDP in 2025. 
  • The role of maternal employment is significant. In one study of 24 countries, daughters of working mothers were more likely to be employed, have higher earnings and hold supervisory roles. At home, sons raised by employed mothers spend more time caring for family members, and daughters raised by employed mothers spend less time on housework. 
Cummins Powers Women program - India
Dr. Denise Dunning (pictured in red, standing to the left) led the Rise Up convening session in India last month. 

“We know that investing in women and girls is the key to creating exponential change,” said Dr. Denise Dunning, founder of Rise Up. “Rise Up activates girls and women to transform their lives, their families and their countries to create a more just and more equitable world. When we invest in girls and women, everyone wins.”  

Cummins has a history of engineering solutions that build prosperous communities, and Cummins Powers Women is a prime example of that continued work. 

Cummins Office Building

Cummins Inc.

Cummins is a global power leader that designs, manufactures, sells and services diesel and alternative fuel engines from 2.8 to 95 liters, diesel and alternative-fueled electrical generator sets from 2.5 to 3,500 kW, as well as related components and technology. Cummins serves its customers through its network of 600 company-owned and independent distributor facilities and more than 7,200 dealer locations in over 190 countries and territories.

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