Saturday, November 30, 2013

4. Speakers & Resource Persons

The following speakers/panelists have confirmed their participation as on January 7th, 2014. We are awaiting confirmations from a few - 4-5 more - others.

Abhishek Sinha
Co-Founder & CEO
Eko India Financial Services

Abhishek Sinha is the co-founder and CEO of Eko India Financial Services Pvt. Ltd, which provides mobile banking service to unbanked population at the bottom of the pyramid. Eko provides this service by being a its innovative technology which allows mobile phones as a platform to enable instant, secure and convenient financial transactions, through its network of 700 “branches” (neighborhood grocery and pharmacy, which act as banking agents) in Delhi NCR and six districts of Bihar and one district of Jharkhand state. The customers (nearly 80% of whom are migrants or the unbanked section of the population) can walk-in anytime and open no-frill bank accounts within minutes, deposit, withdraw and remit money using mobile phone. Today it has 180,000 users doing more than 6,000 money transfer transactions a day, processing Rs. 3.5crore every day.Abhishek holds a B.E. in Electronic and Communication from Birla Institute of Technology, Mesra. Prior to co-founding Eko with Abhinav Sinha in 2007, he had worked with Satyam Computers and had co-founded Six Dee Telecom Solutions in 2002, a telecom value added service company.

Dr Anand Bang
Research & Medical Officer

Dr. Anand Bang is the Research and medical officer of SEARCH (Society for Education, Action and Research in community health) a non government organization founded by Doctor Couple Abhay bang and Rani Bang in Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra in the year 1985. The organization provides health care facilities to the local population. SEARCH has a vision of 'Aarogya-Swaraj', i.e. people's health in people's hands, by empowering individuals and communities to take charge of their own health, and thereby, help them achieve freedom from disease as well as dependence. As its name suggest the organization focuses on engaging in research to understand the health problems of the local people and then design new ways for health care delivery and provide community based health care by developing human potentials at the villages. It also influences national and global health policies based on the new knowledge and solutions developed in the villages of Gadchiroli district. SEARCH also provides trainings for personnel’s for the implementation of HBNC. Dr. Anand Bang is a Masters of Public Health from Johns Hopkins University School of medicine. He also serves as Sr. Consultant Ministry of health and family welfare, Government of India.

Dr Anirudh Krishna
Professor – Public Policy
Sanford School of Public Policy, Duke University

Anirudh Krishna is a professor of public policy and political science at Duke University. His research investigates how poor communities and individuals in developing countries cope with the structural and personal constraints that result in poverty and powerlessness. His most recent book, One Illness Away: Why People Become Poor and How they Escape Poverty (Oxford University Press, 2010), examines poverty dynamics at the household level, tracking movements into and out of poverty of over 35,000 households in 400 communities of India, Kenya, Uganda, Peru and North Carolina, USA.Krishna has published more than 40 journal articles and book chapters. Other books include Poverty, Participation and Democracy: A Global Perspective (Cambridge University Press, 2008); Active Social Capital: Tracing the Roots of Development and Democracy (Columbia University Press, 2002); Changing Policy and Practice From Below: Community Experiences in Poverty Reduction (United Nations Press, 2000); Reasons for Success: Learning From Instructive Experiences in Rural Development (Kumarian Press, 1998), and Reasons for Hope: Instructive Experiences in Rural Development (Kumarian Press, 1997).Before turning to academia, Krishna worked for 14 years in the Indian Administrative Service, where he managed diverse initiatives related to rural and urban development. He earned a Ph.D. in government from Cornell University (2000) and a master's in economics from the Delhi School of Economics (1980).

Anshu Gupta

Anshu Gupta founded Goonj in 1998, an organisation which recycles anything that is discarded as an urban “waste” into a resource for others in the rural and calamity-hit areas. An Ashoka Fellow and Ashoka Global Ambassador, Anshu has created a mass movement for recycling and reusing tonnes of “waste” material by channelizing it from cities to villages, as a resource for rural development. The clothes and other material are collected, processed and sorted in centres run by Goonj across the country. The processed clothes are then channelized through grass root NGOs and provided either free or under the ‘clothes for work’ scheme.Anshu Gupta is an alumnus of the Indian Institute of Mass Communication, and Masters in Economics. Anshu Gupta is an Ashoka Fellow and Ashoka Global Ambassador. For his work, he has been the recipient of Changemakers Innovation Award 2004 & 2006, World Bank’s Development Marketplace Award 2007, NGO of the Year Award 2007, and Schwab Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2012.

CK ‘Bablu’ Ganguly & Mary Vattamattam
Timbaktu Collective

C.K. ‘Bablu’ Ganguly, along with his wife Mary Vattamattam, set up the Timbaktu Collective in the Ananthapur district in Andhra Pradesh, the second most drought afflicted area in India. Timbaktu is envisaged as an agro-forest habitat to create an alternative eco-sensitive community. Starting with their own 32 acre land, their model of development through regeneration of natural resources, has now spread to more than 140 villages, transforming 7000 acre of wasteland into lush fertile land. The Collective focuses on the landless, small and marginal farmers with special emphasis on women, children, youth and Dalits. With local self governance being the underlying theme of Timbaktu collective work, they formed numerous Community Based Organizations (CBOs) of the rural poor. The collective have reached up to more than 33,000 marginalized people in the area.With the aim to stop degradation of land, Bablu and Mary promote environment sustainability, child rights and education, women rights and empowerment, rights of people with disabilities, livelihood generation activities and organic farming, thus working towards holistic improvement of the community.

Dr Joe Madiath
Executive Director
Gram Vikas

Joe Madiath is an alumnus of Madras University, and as a student, in 1969, he journeyed across India, Nepal, Bhutan and Sri Lanka on a bicycle for a year. In 1971, Joe led 400 YSMD volunteers to manage a number of relief camps for refugees from Bangladesh. Later that year, 40 volunteers along with Joe, moved to cyclone-hit Orissa, and Joe and a few colleagues decided to stay on in the area after relief work to work as development activists. They moved to Ganjam District in southern Orissa in 1976 on invitation from Government, to initiate development activities among the indigenous communities. This resulted in the establishment of Gram Vikas in 1979. Since its inception, Joe has been the Executive Director of Gram Vikas. Gram Vikas, today, is one of the largest NGOs in Orissa, reaching out to about 36,000 indigenous and poor families living in 560 rural habitations. Joe Madiath is a founder of the Voluntary Association Network of India and the Orissa Development Action Forum. He currently serves on the Governing Board of several institutions including Council for Advancement of People’s Action and Rural Technologies (CAPART), Society for Participatory Research in Asia PRIA) and BASIX.

Kalyan Akkipedi

ProtoVillage is an initiative of Kalyan Akkipedi to develop a remote village cluster in Andhra Pradesh (India) into the prototype of an "Adequate" (i.e., socially, economically and environmentally viable) village cluster, which can be a replicable model for integrated rural development. ProtoVillage has adapted 12 inter-linked, and interdependent dimensions of "Adequacy"(Food, Water, Shelter, Clothing, Energy, Income Generation, Education, Health Care, Public Domain, Connectivity, Social Equity and Eco-Conservation & Disaster Management) of sustainable rural development) to develop and ideal and self-sustainable village. It has tie-ups with IISc, Bangalore and with DRDA.Kalyan is an automobile engineer from Sri Venkateswara University, and an MBA from Indian Management Institute. He and has earlier worked with Hyundai Motor India Ltd, and as senior business analyst with Evalueserve and as Principal consultant, Strategic business Research, Genpact. He is also the founder of InteGreater a social networking website which serves the purpose of connecting people working on similar concerns in order to make them more efficient.

KC Mishra
Founder & Director
eKutir Social Business

ekutir is a for-profit social business founded in 2009 by K.C. Mishra, that develops innovative products and services to improve the livelihood of people at the bottom of economic pyramid. ekutir implements PIE( Participatory IT- enable entrepreneurial driven) business model which incorporate knowledge sharing through ICT solutions, building partnership, and mentoring last mile micro entrepreneur. It addresses social needs by reducing poverty and empowering rural people. ekutir establishes kiosks and supplies tech platforms that allow capturing of data and offer advice on agro practices to maximize output. K.C. Mishra is a social innovator and Ashoka fellow, and has 30 years of leadership exposure to Rural Banking, Microfinance, Agriculture Development, and Education, Technology Services at national, regional and local levels. He is an alumnus of Delhi University (DU), and is certified in “Innovative Organizational Model of Farmers” from Graduate Institute of Co-operative Leadership (GICL), University of Missouri. K.C. Mishra is an honorary trustee to Global Knowledge Partnership Foundation (GKPF), and an Advisor to BoP Hub.

Lakshmi Venkatesan
Founding Trustee & Exec Vice President
Bharatiya Yuva Shakti Trust

Lakshmi Venkatesan founded “Bharatiya Yuva Shakti Trust” (BYST) in 1992 with Doyen of the industry JRD Tata and with the support from HRH Prince Charles. BYST works with the disadvantaged Indian Youths to develop business ideas into enterprises with the guidance and supports from the mentors. Over the span of two decade BYST has helped more than 2,000 (about 500 of them being women) entrepreneurs in India and helped in creating 25,000 jobs. Through their training initiative they have helped 70,000 young entrepreneurs. Apart from India she has also set up similar programs in Asia, Africa and Latin America in partnership with Prince Charles and his Trust Youth Business international.Lakshmi is an alumnus of Delhi University, India and New York University, USA. Lakshmi holds two Masters Degrees in Physics and Engineering Science. Prior to returning to India and founding BYST, she worked for two decade with the AT&T – Bell laboratories, USA. Lakshmi serves on numerous task forces and boards: Ministry of Commerce & Industry and Ministry of Panchayati Raj, Government of India; Council on Affirmative Action, Confederation of Indian Industry, Charter member, The Indus Entrepreneurs - Delhi; Appropriate Technology India. She is also a recipient of several honors: Shiromani Award, Government of India; Award for Social Entrepreneurship, Confederation of Indian Industry; "The Sake of Honor Award" Rotary Club, Chennai; Award for Technical Excellence, Bell-Labs, USA.

Lisa Heydlauff
Founder & CEO
Be! Fund

Lisa Heydlauff is the Executive advisor of Be! Fund a non profit risk capital fund which funds young poor entrepreneur to start enterprises that solve problem of there area. Be! Fund is built in the premise that heroes needs to be identified from the poorest people of India. As a venture fund venture it has invested (INR 500,000) in over 30 young entrepreneurs from low income group to start up sustainable ventures/ enterprises that solve social, economic and environmental problem faced by them in their area. Be! Fund is the winner of incubator award 2013.Lisa is also the Founder director of Going to School a creative not for profit trust in Delhi that makes media (Movies, books and Radio) for Children to promote relevance of education in children’s lives. Lisa is an Ashoka fellow, TED Fellow and was chosen a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2010.

Dr Marcella D’Souza
Executive Director
Watershed Organization Trust (WOTR)

Dr. Marcella D’ Souza is the executive director of Watershed Organization Trust (WOTR) one of the premier NGOs working for water scarcity, food insecurity, and rural poverty in the dry lands of India. WOTR works for the regeneration of natural ecosystem with a strong participatory people centric approach. WOTR organize and capacitate villagers to regenerate their watershed to trap whatever little rain fall the area receives and use it for farming and personal use. The organization not only focuses on water scarcity but work with a holistic approach for overall development. The organization focuses on these themes ecosystems based watershed development, Climate change adaptations, sustainable agriculture, Agro meteorology, Water Budgeting, Biodiversity and ecosystem service, Disaster risk reduction, sustainable livelihood, alternate energy, Drinking water and sanitation, Health and nutrition and Women empowerment. WOTR works in seven states of India Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. Dr. Marcella D’ Souza is a physician by profession with a focus on community health, and is a Takemi research fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health. Dr. D’Souza has worked for almost 3 decades in rural areas, including for 6 years in mountains of Peru, South America. Her focus of work has been on environmental regeneration in India. She has also launched Micro-finance Initiatives and women’s development programs in the watershed development program in Maharashtra. She has also served as Program Coordinator, Women's Promotion and Gender Mainstreaming in the Indo-German Watershed Development Program, Maharashtra, India.

Michelle Chawla
Co-founder & Trustee
Tamarind Tree

Michelle Chawla, along with her husband Hemant Babu, founded Tamarind Tree, located in Dahanu, Maharashtra. Tamarind Tree work on developmental and environmental issues in Dahanu, and is based on a threefold approach for an integrated development – Education, Environment Protection and Community Media. Starting with a a school, they have helped the local villagers create organic farms, establish community radio and have created an unparalleled ‘oral-history’ of the Warli tribes. Through these mediums, Tamarind Tree addresses the problems of social exclusion and lack of voice, which lie at the root of poverty. Michelle Chawla, holds a Master’s degree in Social Work from the College of Social Work, Nirmala Niketan, Mumbai, and is a Infochange Media Fellow. She has spent over ten years working on environmental and developmental issues both within and outside Dahanu with organisations such as Greenpeace International, Concerned for Working Children (Karnataka), Citizens for Peace (Mumbai), Campaign Against Child Labour, Redstone Farm School (Maharashtra).

Neichute Duolo
Entrepreneurs Associates

Neichute founded Entrepreneurs Associates 16 years back, with the vision of transforming the Naga society with a focused approach of unleashing the powers of economic empowerment. Entrepreneurs Associates is based on the belief that Nagas will have to change the way they perceive entrepreneurship or be overwhelmed by destructive socio-political forces. Over the years, EA has promoted entrepreneurship and self-employment by making Micro-finance available for micro enterprises and entrepreneurships to over 4000 youths and livelihood opportunities to about 3200 farmers in Nagaland. This work has now spread to the neighboring state of Manipur as well.Neichute taught economics for two years at the undergraduate level between 1998 and 2000, at the Baptist College, Kohima, and has been a guest faculty on Entrepreneurship to many prestigious institutions. In 2001 he was also the first Naga recipient of the International Ashoka Fellow. Locally, he is a recognized figure of social reformation being the 5th recipient of the Naga Mothers Association Award in 2003 for developing Entrepreneurship in the state. He was recognised by The Chakhesang Youth Front through a Lifetime Achievement Award 2006 for being a Social Entrepreneur and for his contribution to social change in the state.

Osama Manzar
Founder & Director
Digital Empowerment Foundation

Osama Manzar is the founder and Director of Digital Empowerment Foundation, a not for profit organization, promoting the cause of sustainable deployment and use of ICT tools and applications to bridge development and governance divides. DEF since its inception has transformed itself into a South Asia entity pioneering in key grassroots and outreach programs using ICTs. DEF has taken the lead in campaigning towards ‘Digital Content for Development’ and ‘Digital Inclusion for Development. Osama is a physics graduate and post graduate Diploma in Journalism. He has been a British Chevening Fellow in 2002 and was invited by US state Department for “International Visitors Leadership Program” in 2011. Prior to founding DEF in 2003, he had worked as Asst Editor with Computer World and as head of Interactive media division of Hindustan Times. Osama serves as member on many forums and working groups such as Internet and Proliferation & Governance for the Ministry of Communication & IT, Task Force on Growth of IT, ITES & Electronics HW Manufacturing Industry, Ministry of Communication and IT, National Optic Fiber Network (NOFN) of the Universal Service obligation Fund (USOF) under department of Telecom, Ministry of Telecom and IT, and the Screening Committee for Community Radio licensing at the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. He is also authors of 4 books on ICT.

Drs. PK Tripathy & Nirmala Nair

Ekjut is a non government organization founded by Drs. couple P.K Tripathy and Nirmala Nair. Ekjut works with the indigenous people and as well as socially disadvantaged non tribal people living in some of the underserved districts of Jharkhand and Odisha. The organization works towards addressing health inequities and building healthier communities. Ekjut employs a three track strategy involving monitoring, empowering and advocacy to improve maternal, newborn and child health and nutrition indicators. Ekjut’s Participatory Learning & Action (PLA) approach entails the active involvement of community members in identifying and prioritizing problems, understanding causes and effects, finding solutions and acting together .Impact of Ekjut’s interventions has been rigorously evaluated, findings published in high impact medical journals and now being scaled up in Jharkhand, Odisha and Bihar through the Government System as well as through several development organizations.

Drs. P K. Tripathy and Nirmala Nair are medical doctors who live in a village near Chakradharpur town of West Singhbhum district of Jharkhand. Prior ro setting up Ekjut, Dr Prasanta Tripathy was the Director Programme in ActionAid,India and Dr Nirmala was a consultant with the Confederation of India Industries(CII) promoting Total Quality Management in four Government Hospitals in Delhi. Earlier they had worked in progressively senior positions in Tata Steel. Dr. P.K. Tripathy is a LEAD (Leadership and Development) and Ashoka Fellow.. He is a member of Mission Steering Group of National Health Mission. Dr Nirmala was a member of committee on Progress of National Rural Health Mission, set up by the Planning Commission of indie for advising on the 12th five year plan.

Pradeep Ghosh
Founder & Director

Pradeep Ghosh, an Ashoka Fellow, has tested a social security system in two states, which incorporates the financial and community realities of the Indian poor. The approach, which is replicable across India, offers economically vulnerable communities the chance to take charge of their social security using their existing resources, and gives complete social security to them without any taxes, expenditure cuts, insurance premiums or savings.Prior to founding OASiS, Pradeep had worked as an IT professional in the corporate world for 15 years, with stints in Government, Private sector and Multinationals. In 1998 Pradeep crossed over to the social sector with a two-year assignment with PLAN International to set up the IT network for PLAN’s Asia operation. Since founding OASiS in 2003, Pradeep has also made many social innovations such as The Museum School (a high quality education model for economically and academically deprived children in urban slums, without any extra infrastructure or investment), Nirmaya (the first ever insurance system for the disabled, which is being implemented by The National Trust, a Government of India body, for over 1 lakh economically weaker mentally challenged in the country), SWAN (a social credit system for mobilising youth, institutions and corporate towards doing social good), etc.

Prema Gopalan
Executive Director
Swayam Shikshan Prayog

Swayam Shikshan Prayog (SSP) is a learning and development organization that brings women and communities from the margin to mainstream by building competencies, collaborative platforms and partnerships. SSP has built networks of rural “social businesses” that are co-created by women entrepreneurs’ collectives from marginal families and institutions. Its promoted social enterprises SSK, SSEN, SURE & SAST offer a wide range of programs - skill-building and entrepreneurship, financial services, sustainable agriculture, nutrition health services, water and energy solutions through Sakhi women's networks, impacting over a million in low income communities. Prema holds a Master’s Degree in Social work from Tata Institute of Social Science and a Pre- doctoral in women in Informal sector from SNDT women’s university. Prema has received recognition as an Ashoka Fellow and a Finalist Khemka Foundation Social Entrepreneurship Award of the Year in 2008. Prior to founding SSP in 1997, she along with few others started SPARC (Society for promotion of Area Resource centre) to work with urban poor on issues of housing. She also serves on the Steering Committee of GROOTS International and the Huairou Commission.

Ramakrishna NK
Co-Founder & CEO

Ramakrishna NK is the Co-Founder and CEO of, a peer-to-peer lending platform, which leverages technology to to lower the cost of microcredit and reach out to under-served communities. provides an online platform where the borrowers pay interest rates that are fair and the social investors can make a meaningful difference to other people's lives. Through a network of committed field partners and social investors, enables access to micro-credit to the underserved communities, thus creating a positive impact on business, education, health and environment of the borrowers’ communities.Ramkrishna is a BTech from Nagarjuna University, and started his career with Satyam Computer Services. Subsequently, he served as Principal Consultant with Vignette Europe Ltd, and with IFMR Trust as Vice President (Technology).

Shubhranshu Choudhary
CGNet Swara

CGNet Swara (Central Gondwana Network Voice) is an innovative audio-based news service. It is a unique experiment in participatory democracy that provides a platform for communities to share news and other audio content that is relevant to them using low cost cellphones or fixed line phones. CGNet Swara gives voice to the tribal population of Central India, by providing them with a voice-based portal where they can report local issues using a landline or mobile phone. The reported content is reviewed by moderators and appropriate submissions are published for playback on the CGnet audio channel.Shubhranshu Choudhary is a Knight International Journalism Fellow and the founder of CGNet Swara. Shubhranshu was a BBC South Asia producer for more than 10 years. He serves as a media trainer for the BBC World Service Trust, the United Nations and Indian universities. He produced the first television coverage of foreign militants operating in Indian Kashmir and conducted the first television interview with the chief commander of Kashmiri militant organization. He was also a reporter for The Guardian's South Asia bureau for two years.

Stalin K.
Managing Trustee
Video Volunteers

Video Volunteers is an international community media organization which equips women and men in underdeveloped areas with video journalism skills, enabling entire communities to expose underreported stories from their communities and take action to right the wrongs of poverty, injustice and inequality. In India, it has created the largest, most diverse network of salaried Community Producers in the world. Content produced by these fully-trained individuals has been broadcast in mainstream media and is regularly screened online and for hundreds of thousands of people during local events in disadvantaged communities throughout India. Stalin K. is a documentary filmmaker, media trainer and human rights activist, and has directed 15 documentaries (including his 1996 film Lesser Humans on manual scavenging, and the award-winning feature-length 2007 film IndiaUntouched), produced six community radio programs, designed more than 20 rights-based campaigns and conducted over 300 trainings in film making and participatory video, street theatre, radio production, and development communications. Stalin was the Convener of the Community Radio Forum-India until 2009, and prior to founding Video Volunteers in 2008, he ran Drishti Media in Ahmedabad, an organization he co-founded at the age of 23.

Stan Thekaekara
Just Change India

Stan Thekaekara first became involved in social activism through a national student movement in India. He went on to live in a tribal village in Bihar for a number of years. Subsequently he founded a number of grassroots NGOs in various parts of India. In 1986 he and his wife Mari co-founded ACCORD, and have spent the past 20 years mobilising the adivasis of the Nilgiri Hills of Tamil Nadu in South India to fight for their social, political and human rights. Adivasis are an indigenous people outside the Hindu caste system and represent about six per cent of the Indian population. He currently works as the Director of JUST CHANGE, which seeks to create a new model of fair trade. He has also worked as a consultant and trainer on community organisation, group dynamics, leadership and other development issues, is the first trustee of Oxfam GB from a developing country and a Visiting Fellow at the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship at the Said Business School, Oxford University.

Umadevi Swaminathan
Managing Director
Rudi Multi Trading Company

Umadevi Swaminathan is the managing Director of RUDI Multi Trading Company Limited, an organization which provides direct market linkages to farmers through rural development networks. RUDI Multi Trading Company, promoted by SEWA is a marketing company of rural farm produces mainly spices and staples procured directly from farmers, and is processed, packed and marketed by rural women. The company operates with unique supply chain model of procurement, processing, packaging and distribution of Rudi products through rural self help group of women creating employment opportunities for rural women. Umadevi is also the managing director for SEWA Gramin Mahila Haat, promoting the producer group and building their capacities. She also serves as the project coordinator for Empowering War affected women of Afghanistan and Sri Lanka, where she has organized and set up Trade Facilitation center since 2006. She is also a consultant at UNCCD in Bonn, Germany and IFAd, India. She joined SEWA as an accountant in 1981 and worked through it. She hold a business management degree from EDI, Ahmedabad; a cooperative management degree from Histardut University, Israel. She also did a course on Management development program and Business development program from IIM, Ahmedabad.

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