OUR BOARD!

Gitali Thakur, has over 10 years of experience in livelihood promotion and microfinance. She has a vast working experience in some of the very premier livelihood and microfinance institutions in India including BASIX, FWWB and MicroSave. Her core competencies are in the area of institution building, training and capacity building, value chain intervention. She also co-authored a Resource book on Livelihood with Vijay Mahajan and Sankar Datta. This book is considered to be a valuable contribution to the field of livelihood promotion among the practitioners. She had worked on Strategic Business Planning, Process Mapping, Loan Portfolio Audit, Internal Audit and Control system, Basic Accounting System and Human Resource Management amongst others. Gitali is an Economics Graduate from Cotton College, Guwahati, Assam and has completed a one year certificate course on “Special Management Programme” from Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta. After spending about 10 years outside, she has come back to Assam to promote Maitri.

Dr. Sankar Datta, Dr. Sankar Datta is the Dean of The Livelihood School, a new generation educational institution which delivers professional training in livelihood promotion, in multiple locations, combining research and training, in collaboration with various institutions. He was a member of the faculty of Business Schools such as IRMA between 1990 to 96, IIM-A between 1989-90, and a visiting faculty for several institutions like XIMB, MANAGE, KIIT-SRM, TISS among others. He also has significant work experience as a practitioner. He was in-charge of operations while setting up the BASIX group of companies between 1996 and 2000. He also led the action research team, Indian Grameen Services, till March 2008. Apart from leading the livelihood promotion programmes of PRADAN, a leading NGO, he was the Team-Leader of the Spearhead Team responsible for promotion of soybean in Madya Pradesh and organizing the network of producer co-operatives. He presently serves on the Board of several national level institutions including Indian Grameen Services, Sarvodaya Nano Finance Ltd, Village Financial Services Ltd, IndusTree Crafts Ltd etc. He is a Management graduate from 1st batch of IRMA, with basic training in Agriculture from Pantnagar University and Doctoral dissertation in Economics from Sardar Patel University. He is serving as the President on the board of Maitri. .

D Narendranath, Narendranath has been working in PRADAN, a prestigious livelihood promotion institution in India since 1989. For the first 12 years of his career, he worked on the Jharkhand-based projects of PRADAN and then moved to Rajasthan to initiate PRADAN’s intervention there. His work in the field mostly involved promoting SHG based poor peoples’ institutions and undertaking large scale livelihood interventions. Narendranath currently heads the Resource and Research Centre of PRADAN. As part of the RRC, he has been involved in many national and international level studies and in projects related to developing knowledge resources. The RRC also hosts a National Resource Centre for Rural Livelihoods aimed at supporting practitioners as well as facilitating policy dialoguing. Some of the issues that the Centre is involved with currently are building a livelihood perspective in NREGA, market linkages for small producers, developing knowledge around Community Based Organisations and developing systems and processes for scaling up of selected livelihood initiatives. Narendranath is a graduate in Mechanical engineering from Kerala University and holds a rural management degree from Institute of Rural Management, Anand (IRMA). .

Manab Chakraborty, Manab is skilled in project/program administration, financial management, personnel management, project monitoring and evaluation, organizational development and team building. Initially, his career focused on poverty eradication and natural resource management activities primarily in Asia and Africa. Manab is currently focusing on unleashing economic potential of the billion people at the bottom of the pyramid and devising strategies and tools for newer institutional frameworks that are needed to address development problems. He has worked in senior positions with the United Nations, Oxfam, and many international organisations in India, Europe, Hong Kong, and Africa. He is the founder-director of Mimo Finance, a well known for-profit microfinance company working in North India. Manab is a regular speaker at conferences, and universities and has co-authored a book, 2 monographs, 10 articles, and 35 conference papers. Manab holds three masters degrees: in rural development from the Institute of Social Studies, The Netherlands; in environmental economics from University College London; and management from the Kellogg School of Management and Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

Dr. Abhijit Sharma, Dr. Abhijit Sharma is working as an Associate Professor with the Indian Institute of Bank Management since 1995. Prior to joining the institute he worked as a Lecturer in Regional Planning, Dept. of Geography, Gauhati University and as the Asst. Director, Town & Country Planning, Govt. of Assam for a couple of years. Prof. Sharma's area of involvement in the institute has been in training, research and consultancy in the areas of Rural Financial Markets, Urban Poverty and Finance, Urban Development and Management and Micro insurance. Prof. Sharma is currently heading the Centre for Microfinance Research, North East Region which is hosted in IIBM sponsored by NABARD and is involved in research related to microfinance for the North East Region. His study for the North Eastern Council (NEC) on “Banking Industry of NER: Making it financially more Inclusive” has been very well commended and his presentation of the same to the Finance Minister has been very well appreciated. He had presented several papers in International/National Conference and Seminars. Among the recent one was in the International Conference in “Microfinance from Below: The Power of Savings and Savings Groups in Frontier Economics” held at Tufts University, Medford Massachusetts, USA from March 26th – 28th, 2010. This paper has been selected, amongst others, and published as a book called “Financial Promise for the Poor”. He has several other publications and papers to his credit at the national level. Prof. Sharma has a Ph.D from Gauhati University. He has completed his Master’s in Urban and Regional Planning from the Centre for Environmental Planning, (CEPT), School of Planning and Architecture, Ahmedabad and also has a master’s degree in Geography from MSU, Baroda. .

Ms. Rupali Kalita, Rupali Kalita is the Managing Director of RGVN (NE) Microfinance Ltd based in Guwahati. She is responsible for the major turning around of the microfinance progarmme of the organization known as CSP at that time, at a stage when it was on the verge of closure. But with her joining the organization in 2004, she has single handedly transformed the RGVN microfinance programme from a loss-making programme to a profit making entity within a span of just 2 years. Under her leadership, the organization has grown many folds from 8 branches to 89 branches, from 35 employees to 457 employees, business transaction from 3 Crores to 100 Crores a year and from loss to a comfortable profit every year since 2006. Ms Kalita was working in LD Rural Bank, Diphu in the capacity of Branch Manager as a Rural Development Banker for more than 20 years before she joined RGVN. She completed her graduation from Cotton College, Guwahati and earned the Diploma in Business Management from Indian Council of Management Studies, Chennai. .

Ms. Saleela Patkar, Saleela Patkar works as an independent consultant in the field of assessments and design of projects involving grassroots institutions building, training to grassroots institutions, development of training methodology and manuals. Her current interests are in conservation and livelihoods issues, sustainable agriculture and women's organisations. She had previously worked in an NGO Myrada in the areas of training for staff and community organisations, facilitating learning events, project design and evaluation, Appreciative Inquiry and documentation. She was also associated with the Microfinance Group in IIMB and coordinated the activities of the Microfinance Incubator. She is currently associated with the Coorg Wildlife Society in developing its community based conservation programme related to Human Elephant Conflict. Saleela is an engineering graduate and holds a post graduate degree in rural management from IRMA. She is also a graduate in Development Economics from the London School of Economics .