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Saurabh Chanda
Field Coordinator , Developmental NGO
New Delhi, Delhi
Field Engagement Manager with 3 years of experience in Governance, PRI, participatory research, working on multi-stakeholder, multi-dimensional projects. Key areas of interest are Governance, Citizenship, Integrating traditional wisdom with new technological inventions and innovations. Proponent of Legal Literacy, Media Literacy, Decentralisation, and Holistic Development.
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Area of Expertise:
  • Agriculture, Livelihoods, Microfinance, Rural, Urban
  • Communications, IT, Media, Knowledge Management, Editor
  • Government/Governance, Reforms, Corruption
  • Human Rights, Law, Migration, Conflicts, Justice
  • Monitoring, Evaluation, Policy, Research
Professional Experience:
In the Summer of 2016, an action research was conducted in Chakai Block of Jamui District in Bihar, to understand understand health with respect to Hunger, and an agricultural intervention was planned in the Khareef by my host NGO PRADAN1 based on this research, to improve the food habits and nutrition of the Santhali tribal women and children. However, it was found that despite a change in the food habits, there were multiple aspect of health such as access to modern healthcare, awareness on best sanitary practices, PDS, and I realised that a framework was needed which accommodates all such aspects, a lot of which predominantly fell under the purview of the state. That was impossible in Chakai because it fell under the naxal corridor of central India at that time.
In 2017, after submitting the dissertation in Ambedkar University Delhi, I joined as Block Coordinator in Shahpur, Betul district as part of a joint initiative called Gram Panchayat Organisation Development (GPOD) of PRADAN and Bangalore based Anode2 Governance Lab, who were the primary knowledge partner for applying the management tools of Organisation Development to the Panchayat space. In Jharkhand, this was in collaboration with the state under the beacon Panchayat program. However, the MP initiative did not receive such rigorous state support.
The 73rd amendment3 of the Constitution contains provision for devolution of powers and responsibilities to the panchayats, both for the preparation of economic development plans and social justice, as well as for implementation in relation to 29 subjects listed in the eleventh schedule of the constitution, and the ability to levy and collect appropriate taxes, duties, tolls and fees, to be further devolved by the state governments. MP had a streamlined PRI system because it was one of the first states to adopt Panchayati Raj, with a state act4 released in 1995. Other than that, the spirit of the law is decentralised and gives maximum power to the Gram Sabha.
I worked with the community of three Gram Panchayats5, along with their Gram Panchayat executive committee (GPEC) from October of 2017, to March of 2019, and researched the reach of the law and status of devolution in that block.
This work GPOD gave the understanding that the Panchayati Raj System, in collaboration with the community based organisations (women led SHG) built by PRADAN, had that framework which I was looking for back in 2016 in Bihar, and not just for health but almost every aspect of development that affects the rural and urban poor in modern day India. It is also one of the most democratic and inclusive local governance setups with representation of all possible minorities, with a space of equity maintained. Together, we had some movement along the following sectors:
1. Water Conservation for Irrigation 2. Drinking Water
3. Rural Employment
4. Education
5. Social Welfare Schemes
I recently finished my mphil in Development Practice at Ambedkar University, where I spent about a year doing field research with PRADAN, while finishing my Mphil in Development Practice to understand the development sector and potentially to work in an organisation that can help bring about a sustainable change in the rural-urban paradigm, that works for the betterment of society.
Affiliations and Achievements:
Graduate Certificate in Public Policy, Takshashila Institution, Bangalore,

recieved a full scholarship NESA UGRAD study in the USA for two semesters, majoring in Writing

Agroecology training in Basudha under Debal Deb

Helped start an agricultural production cluster in 2016 in Chakai Block for three different Panchayats

Available for:
  • Consulting assignments
  • Job opportunities
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    Years of Experience:
    2-5 years
    Highest Qualification:
    English, Hindi, Bengali
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