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Cohort: 9
Designation: Coordinator
Organisation: Kalpavriksh, Pune
Region: Andhra Pradesh
Biosketch: Pankaj SEKHSARIA works with the Kalpavriksh Environmental Action Group in Pune where his main responsibility is editing, publishing and distributing the Protected Area (PA) Update, a bimonthly newsletter that carries news from wildlife sanctuaries and national parks from India and South Asia . He has worked extensively in the Andaman & Nicobar Islands and co-ordinates an active e-discussion group dedicated to the issues there. He is also author of the “ Troubled Islands ” on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands . Pankaj Sekhsaria, works, additionally as a freelance journalist and photographer and has published nearly 150 articles and photo features in the mainstream Indian press on issues related to wildlife conservation, and people's livelihoods rights. He was awarded the National Foundation for India Media Fellowship 2006-07 to write on issues of the A&N Islands and the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) Media fellowship - 2008 to report on issues of human-wildlife conflict. A graduate from the Mass Communication Research Centre, Jamia, and New Delhi, he co-produced the investigative documentary, The Yellow Haze, which helped in getting a Supreme Court ban on the illegal use of the drug Quinacrine ( a malarial drug) used insitu for female sterilisation. He has also assisted in wildlife film projects in Assam and in the Andaman islands. Some of his work and pictures can be seen at www.pankaj-atcrossroads.blogspot.com


Cohort: 11
Designation: Director
Organisation: Montfort Social Institute (MtSI), Hyderabad
Region: Andhra Pradesh
Biosketch: Varghese Theckanath S.G., is the Director of Montfort Social Institute (Centre for Human Rights and Sustainable Development Education), Hyderabad, India. It is a resource cum training centre for the promotion of Human Rights Education (HRE) and Sustainable Development Education (SDE). The Institute is an affiliate of the Earth Charter Initiative. Prior to the present responsibility, he was the Chairman of the Central Indian Province of the Montfort Brothers of St. Gabriel Educational Society, involved in the promotion of general, technical and special education and development in India for over a hundred years. He has been a grass roots activist promoting the rights of the urban poor, and has lived in the slums in the Old City of Hyderabad, for over 11 years. He is the founder-director of People's Initiative Network (PIN), Hyderabad (1990-2001), and Campaign for Housing and Tenurial Rights (CHATRI), Hyderabad 1997- ), both organizations working for the promotion and protection of the rights of the urban poor. Varghese holds a Master's Degree in Philosophy (Osmania Univeristy, Hyderabad), Master's Degree in International Law and Human Rights (United Nations University for Peace, San Jose, Costa Rica) and an M.Phil Degree in Development Studies (CESS, Hyderabad). He has presented papers in international conferences, was a delegate from India to the 99th International Labor Conference of the ILO, Geneva, in 2010. He is a Member of the Task Force of the Ministry of Labor, Government of India on Domestic Workers. He is also the Co-Convener of the National Forum for Housing Rights (NFHR), an umbrella organization of the housing rights movements in different cities in India.


Cohort: 14
Designation: Coordinator
Organisation: LAYA, Vizhagpatnam
Region: Andhra Pradesh
Biosketch: Siddharth D'Souza is currently working as a coordinator of the Alternative Energy Options and Climate Change desk, LAYA (www.laya.org.in). He is also a member of a National Network working on issues related to Climate Change, Indian Network on Ethics and Climate Change (INECC) [www.inecc.net]. He is also involved as fellow director of a Company, Desi Technology Solutions, Bhubaneswar (www.desitechno.com). He is currently involved in planning, implementation and monitoring Alternative Energy Projects for Adivasi Communities based in North Coastal Andhra Pradesh. These projects provide electricity (Micro Hydro), clean kitchens (Energy Efficient woodstoves), potable drinking water (Bio Sand Filters) and (Hydro Rams) Farm Irrigation to remote Adivasi Communities. Siddharth has also been involved in the campaign initiatives of INECC, contributing to case studies, reports from the field and policy change at the various levels. More recently he is directly implementing Carbon Credit Development Projects (VERs) and played a support role in the formulation of an Innovative project on Low Carbon Farming. His commitment is to bring environmentally friendly technology and climate friendly energy development policies to marginalized people. He enjoys communicating his experiences through training process with youth, Civil Society Actors new to the Climate Change field on project implementation and Climate Change Policy. Siddharth has done his M.A in development Studies with a Minor in Politics of Alternative Development (PAD) at the Institute of Social Studies, The Hague, The Netherlands.