OUR TEAM & STAKEHOLDERS
The development divide between urban, better developed areas and rural, pristine areas is frequent as the latter do not receive the leading edge technologies and focussed result-orientation that the former receive. Pragya is a pioneer in closing this gap. The Pragya team is multidisciplinary, a mix of specialists from the varied fields of agriculture, botany, engineering, management, design, museology, geography and anthropology. We integrate in our team training in social research, experience in development projects, and outstanding analytical and change management skills. A team with a business mind-set in its development work, Pragya members ensure a focus on things like performance, viability and effectiveness while addressing development issues. The common thread that binds this diverse and talented team is a strong sense of commitment towards equitable and appropriate development of indigenous peoples and pristine regions of the world.
Chief Operating Officer, with experience in stakeholder management, academics and management consulting. Mary has considerable experience in respect to issues facing the indigenous communities in India and East Africa and has been supervising Pragya’s interventions for climate adaption in agriculture, community-anchored services for addressing food and nutrition security, and participative management of education. She plays a crucial role in research studies and advocacy initiatives carried out by Pragya, and is also involved in project guidance and stakeholder interactions for the ongoing programs. A Doctorate in Economics from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, India, Mary has earlier worked with Tata Consultancy Services, ICFAI Business School, Goa Institute of Management and others.
Manager - Research & Advocacy Team, with proficiency on watershed development and heritage management. Sejuti has considerable experience in respect to natural resource management issues in the India and Nepal Himalayas and has facilitated Pragya’s interventions for effective community based Common Property Resource management and conservation initiatives. She has been a key contributor in designing and conducting research and documentation initiatives carried out by Pragya, and is also involved in our advocacy actions and the design and quality management of our programs. A post-graduate in Environment Management from Forest Research Institute, India, Sejuti has specialization in Environmental Geography.
Martin Mugambi Irungu
Regional Team Member, East Africa with wide experience in health and water sectors. In Pragya Kenya, he is involved in stakeholder consultations for project design, research surveys, project implementation. He also undertakes partnership management, supervision of health initiatives and water and sanitation interventions in arid lands. A Post-graduate in Project Planning and Management from University of Nairobi and a Graduate in Economics and sociology from Egerton, Martin has a strong association with empowerment of Sub-Saharan African communities. Before joining Pragya, he has also worked for AIDS, Population and Health Integrated Assistance programme in Rift Valley province for Family Health International.
Gibson Cherwon Tott
Regional Team Member, East Africa with in-depth experience in agro-forestry and knowledge extension. In Pragya Kenya, he is involved in stakeholder interactions and documentation. He supervises research and training initiatives in the domain of natural resource management. A graduate in Horticulture from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT), Gibson has been working with the Kenyan farmers for over 5 years. Before joining Pragya, he has been associated with various projects of Swedish Cooperative Centre for Agro Forestry, Horticulture Crops Development Authority, National Environment Management Authority.
Faith Njeri Kithuka
Regional Team Member, East Africa with wide experience in field research and monitoring and evaluation. In Pragya Kenya, she is involved in stakeholder interactions and field research for project implementation andmonitoring. She also interacts with partners, and supervises Pragya’s initiatives on biodiversity conservation, livelihoods development and water and sanitation. Faith has a degree in Community Development from Daystar University and a minor in peace and conflict transformation, and a strong motivation towards development interventions for women empowerment and related advocacy. She has earlier worked for Innovations for Poverty Action, Lukenya Pillars of Transformation, Education Center for Women in Democracy and Research International.
Regional Team Member, Nepal with keen interest in social anthropology and women welfare. In Pragya Nepal, he is involved in project management and stakeholder interactions. He maintains partner relations and supervises the capacity building initiatives underway in the northern mountain districts. A Post-Graduate in Anthropology and graduate in Microbiology from Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu, he is trained in Health Systems research and child participation in developmental projects. Prabin has earlier worked with Micro-biological Research Organisation, Nepal as a Field Research Specialist.
Development Manager, Greg has lead operational responsibility at Pragya UK, with particular focus on resource mobilisation, programme management and external stakeholder management. He also works closely with staff in partner organisations, particularly Pragya India, Pragya Nepal and Pragya Kenya, on programme design, research and in-country fundraising. Greg also manages the UK team, undertaking quality assurance on all fundraising and project management outputs.
Development Officer, Following an internship at the United Nations Association in London in 2005, Alex studied for a masters degree in International Relations at King’s College London. Out of university, Alex worked for the NHS managing blood products in a specialist unit at St Thomas’ Hospital. Alex spent four years in the private sector working in International and UK logistics for Time Inc, before moving to the voluntary sector, taking up a role in fundraising for the environmental charity Friends of the Earth. Alex has travelled extensively through China and India and maintains an ongoing interest in Asian cultures.
GOVERNANCE AND GUIDANCE
The members of the Pragya Board(s) bring to the organization their superior understanding of the development sector, as well as other sectors including academia, industry and media, and a special sentiment for and keen understanding of the less developed and unreached areas. Pragya is also guided by an International Advisory Board comprising experts with particular domain-specific knowledge, and a strong desire to contribute to the development of areas and peoples that Pragya works for.
Arasan Aruliah is a specialist Sales Director/Consultant in London. He works for companies with new and complex products and services, to uncover new markets. Recent clients operate in the software, consultancy, biotechnology, media and training sectors. Previously he has worked as a News and Current Affairs producer for BBC World Service, which included a 4-year posting in India in the 1990s. Arasan advises on best practice employment procedures, designed specifically for the international development sector. With his continued involvement in the corporate sector, he is constantly evaluating possible new funding partners for Pragya.
Gargi Banerji is a founding member of Pragya. Gargi’s career spans 25 years of experience in research, development and consulting and straddles both the corporate and development sectors. She is a post-graduate in Business Administration, and has worked as a management consultant with Tata Consultancy Services and thereafter with Prometheus. In this role, she has consulted for several large industrial houses, including many large multinational corporations, and also carried out projects for the state and development sector and provided advice on issues as diverse as child labour, deforestation, technology divide and gender inequity. Having spent her early life in the Himalayan region, Gargi felt a strong commitment to addressing the continuing neglect of remote areas. In 1995, she co-founded Pragya, and has since then directed its programs as an Executive Member of the Board (Honorary), shaping it into a development organisation of repute, with a diversified portfolio and numerous innovations. For her work on conservation of medicinal plants Gargi received the Whitley Award for Conservation in the year 2000. In India, her work has been recognized with the MSDS Award for Social Entrepreneurs and by the National HRD Network for her contribution to development. Under her leadership, Pragya has also won the top award for sustainable technologies, the Energy Globe Award in the year 2005, and the STARS Impact Award for the organisation’s work on education in the year 2010.
Jayshree Raveendran is Founder, Managing Trustee and Honorary Executive Director of Ability Foundation, an organisation committed to providing equitable opportunities and a level playing field for people with disabilities through advocacy, empowerment and information dissemination. Following an initial career in academics and creative writing, she has dedicated herself to creating an equitable society for every citizen with disability, and has spearheaded several initiatives in the domain over the past two decades. Jayshree Raveendran has a Research Degree in English Literature from the University of Madras as well as a Degree in Education from the M.S. University of Baroda. She has held positions of Lecturer in IIT, Chennai and Indira Gandhi National Open University, New Delhi and positions of Creative Writer and Senior Executive in advertising and corporate agencies. She is involved in National policy on issues pertaining to disability and has been member of advisory committees, standing committees, task forces for Government of India on Social Justice & Empowerment.
Krishna Kumar has more than twenty years of experience in the information systems sector and publishing industry in the US. He has particular competence in e-commerce solutions and has developed such for several business sectors. He is keenly interested in the application of such technologies and solutions for improving the livelihoods of the poor and developing market linkages for them. Krishna is also a consultant on the design and development of business processes and creation and management of quality systems. He is especially concerned about the digital and technical divide in developing nations and guides Pragya in meeting the challenge of bridging this divide.
K. Subramanian has 25 years of experience in consulting and program management with Tata Consultancy Services. During this time, he has played key roles in IT Systems Development, Business Consulting, Project Management, Program Management, and Operations Management. He had been responsible for TCS’s business operations in Australia and New Zealand for five years. A graduate in Mathematics, K. Subramanian has specialisation in application of Systems Engineering and Complexity Science to business problems and has extended consulting and program management support to a number of Fortune 500 companies, including IBM, American Express, GE Capital, Ford Motor Company, Eli Lilly, Novartis, Kellogg, ING, and Johnson & Johnson. He conducts training courses in Program Management, Risk and Contingency Management, and Systems Thinking. He is an Associate of the Institute of Chartered Accountants and currently leads the "Process Design - Global Delivery" in TCS.
Dr. Mary Ipe has fifteen years of experience in academics with reputed business schools in India (ICFAI Business School and Goa Institute of Management), and has been the Associate Dean of Faculty of Management Studies, ICFAI University, Dehradun. Her areas of interest and teaching include Communication, Business Ethics and Governance. She also has ten years of experience in the Management Consulting division of Tata Consultancy Services and has undertaken assignments in the areas of Human Resource Management, General Management and Organisational Restructuring. Dr. Ipe is a Ph.D in Econmics from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, and has various publications to her credit in the management and development disciplines. She is currently supervising programme implementation and advocacy as the COO at Pragya India and has also been guiding Pragya in its work in Africa. She has a deep understanding of the continent having lived 17 years in Tanzania, and continues to be engaged with its development.
Pratap Rughani is an award-winning writer and documentary film-maker for British television (BBC TV & Channel 4, UK) and newspapers (The Independent & The Times, London). His work is wide-ranging, from investigative and social stories to human interest and environmental films. He has extensive experience in developing countries (South Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa). He has a particular interest in environmental and development issues and is a former co-editor of New Internationalist magazine and contributing editor for The India Magazine. Currently, apart from various documentation and filming projects, Pratap is Course Director of MA Documentary Film at University of the Arts, London. He has been instrumental in Pragya UK collaborations with key partners such as The Karuna Trust, which has led to the implementation of several large-scale, multi-year projects in the Indian Himalayas.
Shanti Prasad has had a long career in academics and research in India and the US. With a post-graduate degree in Psychology, Shanti was drawn to the science of Parapsychology and investigations into extra-sensory perception. She has been Professor of Psychology in the Department of Psychology and Parapsychology at Andhra University in India, and taught, published and lectured widely on the subject. She has also worked on the intersection of parapsychology with traditional Oriental philosophies and practices, and has been associated with The Institute for Yoga & Consciousness (Vizag, India), and studies on psychological, physiological and parapsychological aspects of yoga, meditation and related variables. Shanti was closely connected with the setting up of Pragya in 1995, advising and guiding the founding members in the initial years. Working out of US today, she facilitates the organisation’s activities in the country, promoting these and building a wider support base.
Sunil Pillai is a founding member of Pragya. Sunil’s multifaceted career includes 25 years of experience in the corporate world and the development sector. A post-graduate in Business Administration, he has worked in the Marketing and Promotion wing of a large industrial house, and has been a Management Consultant with Tata Consultancy Services and thereafter with Prometheus. As a Consultant he has advised several large industrial houses as well as multinational corporations on Strategic Planning, Organisation Development and Business Process Management. He has also conducted a range of studies for the development sector that have included Environment Assessment, Project Evaluation and Planning, especially in the livelihoods, forestry, and education domains. He co-founded Pragya in 1995 and has since been an Executive Member of the Board (Honorary), directing the Finance and Communication functions and developing and managing stakeholder relations. He has guided the expansion of the organization into newer areas and sectors, and has been instrumental in its spread and growth. His contribution to the many international awards and recognition that Pragya has received (Whitley Award, Energy Globe Award, STARS Impact Award) has been significant, and his work has been commended by the National HRD Network, India. He also plays a key role in managing Pragya Solutions, and the advisory services to other state and non-state actors under this banner.