Integrated watershed development interventions and promoting village level community institutions started emerging as focus for AF since 1996.
By about 1995, AF realized that “Area Development Approach” was splitting and scattering environmental development activities and efforts across a large area in the district. This realization led to ‘village watershed’ concept through which entire land in the village as micro-watersheds was taken up for integrated watershed development in a participatory approach. This micro-level and integrated ridge to valley participatory watershed development approach (adopted with flexibility in Anantapur region where there are multiple slopes and rolling topography) in selected villages has created better impact in terms of enhancing natural resource endowment and increasing carrying capacity of natural resources in watershed villages and also organizing village level community institutions at village level for sustainable management. RDT was implementing Integrated Watershed Development in about 200 villages and it was the largest watershed development programme in India undertaken by an NGO.
During this phase, AF further strengthened it’s participatory approach and technical competencies in order to meet various challenges posed by the different socio-economic and topographical settings. Thereby AF emerged as an organization known for it’s participatory approach, and excellence in technical quality.