Who We Are

Investing In Women’s Leadership
For Good Governance

We are committed to ignite, kindle and sustain the leadership spirit in women elected to Grama Panchayats.


Over 18 Years Of Facilitating Change

Foregrounded in the 73rd constitutional amendment of 1992, The Hunger Project India started working with elected women representatives at the local self-governance level in 2001. Over the years, THP India’s strategies have consistently aimed at politically empowering women in Gram Panchayats to be effective leaders.

Since 2001, we have successfully engaged with 1,94,906 elected women representatives We’re currently working in the six states of Bihar, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan, and Uttarakhand. Through multiple programmatic interventions, THP India strategy is geared towards building the leadership of elected women representatives and strengthening their skills and capacities as competent decision-makers and effective leaders on the ground.The focus is on leveraging the political office so that the elected women can exercise their “voice” and “power”, challenge the status quo, address issues of sustainable development, gender equality, and social justice; and lift their communities out of poverty, deprivation, discrimination, and bring in change that has a lasting impact for generations.

Our Principles

Fundamental Working Principles

Through our work to empower women leaders, we have recognised these principles as being fundamental to The Hunger Project. We challenge ourselves to ensure that each of our strategies builds on these principles.

  • Equal Rights Gender Equality
  • Better standard of living Decentralisation
  • Build strong support structures Inclusion
  • Devolution of power Collaboration
  • Better standard of living Accountability
  • Build effective leaders Social Justice

Watch Rajwanti Singh’s Journey

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Rajwanti Singh refused to accept a lesser status in life. Now, she is a highly respected leader in her community and has big plans for the future.

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Our Team

Building a Better Future

These are the beautiful people behind THP India. Get to know the staff.

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01Governing Council

View the Team
  • Kanika Satyanand


    Kanika has spent most of her working life, in the not-for-profit sector. She currently holds positions as Programme Advisor and member of the Board of Trustees of FORRAD (Foundation for Rural Recovery & Development). She is also a member of the Ethics Committee of the Action for Autism. In the past, she was a member of the SRUTI Executive Board. She had initiated the process of supporting grassroots initiatives in rural, urban and tribal areas through fellowship programs.

  • Amarjeet Ahuja


    Amarjeet is a retired IAS officer. In the 90s, she steered the process of formation of National Biodiversity Bill and several other innovative projects. She has pursued the agenda to incorporate biodiversity concerns in decentralised governance in Panchayati Raj under the Ministry of Rural Development. She worked as the Additional Chief Secretary (Govt. Of Rajasthan) and was ex- Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Panchayati Raj. She continues to work on rural development, educational and environmental issues.

  • Brinda Dubey


    Brinda has been deeply involved with social and philanthropic work for the last 40 years. Brinda is currently the Treasurer and founding member of an NGO called the ‘Tiger Haven Society’.

  • Dr. Sanaya Nariman


    Sanaya is a development activist and educational consultant and has conducted teacher training workshops all over India. She is an educational consultant with the United Nations Institute for Training and Research. She has authored the New Science Spark Series and helped set up, evaluate, and upgrade schools.

  • Namita Gautam

    Director, Treasurer, Chairperson

    Namita is professionally qualified in Corporate Law. She is the Director of ‘Sheela’ Group of Companies. She is an experienced Human Resource Specialist with extensive knowledge in Training & Development, Project Management, Communication, Marketing, and Brand Building. A hard-core humanist, she is also the Managing Trustee of ‘Sleepwell Foundation’. She is also a Member of Special Task Force on Skills & Education, CII (Confederation of Indian Industries), Northern Region. She was also the national president of the FICCI Ladies Organisation (FLO) for the year 2004-05.

  • V K Madhavan


    Madhavan is the Chief Executive of WaterAid, India. In his years as a development professional, Madhavan has worked on an integrated approach to rural development. He has also worked with ActionAid and The Hunger Project and subsequently spent 8 years working in the Kumaun region of Uttarakhand with the Central Himalayan Rural Action Group (Chirag). Prior to WaterAid India, Madhavan was Managing Director of Skills Education Private Limited. Madhavan was a TED Global Fellow in 2009 and a TED Senior Fellow in 2010.

02National Office Staff

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  • National Team Member

    Rita Sarin

    Global Vice President and Country Director India

    A sociology lecturer turned grassroots activist, Rita joined the ranks of women’s rights movement in India in the early 1980s. Rita was part of the team which set up India’s first women’s non-governmental organisation, the Centre for Women and Development Studies. This phase in her life gave her an opportunity to work closely with women and their communities in the villages of North India where she moiled through issues of gender equity, local governance, and development. In 2001, she joined THP India where she has committed her life to ignite and sustain the leadership spirit of elected women at the grassroots level in India. Under her leadership, THP India has enabled spaces that promote the active participation of women in local governance. Prior to joining THP, Rita served as a National Program Advisor for the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA). Rita holds an M.Phil in Sociology from the University of Chandigarh and a post-M.Phil in Development Policies from the University of Nottingham, UK. Over the last 35 years, she has led and mentored more than 100 organisations implementing strategies to empower women in local democracy. She has been recognised for her commendable work in forging pathways that put issues of social and gender justice at the centre of policy-making. She is a recipient of several awards: ’25 Women of Excellence’ by the FICCI; ‘Women Leadership Achievement Award’, ‘Women of Pure Strength’ by Vodafone Foundation; ‘Iconic leader in nurturing culture and ecosystem for relevant innovation in developing countries’; ‘Phenomenal She’ by the Indian National Bar Association; and more recently, the ‘Devi Award’ by the New Indian Express.

  • National Team Member

    Ruchi Yadav

    Senior Director – Strategy and Programmes

    Ruchi leads strategic management, programme design, policy and operations at THP India. She also supervises the capacity building and MEL teams in the organisation. While at THP, she has mentored over 60 grassroots CBOs across multiple states on issues of women’s political leadership, adolescent girls’ empowerment, social justice, and local governance. Most recently, she has engaged with multiple stakeholders in Asia on advancing women’s political participation in local government institutions. Prior to joining THP India, she worked on women’s rights and human rights issues in South Asia and South East Asia, with a short stint in advertising early in her career. She is vitally interested in the intersections of gender with politics, religion, caste, and class. Ruchi holds an MA in International Development from the School of International Service, American University, Washington DC. In 2012, she was awarded the Yale World Fellowship.

  • National Team Member

    Paritosh Sasmal

    Director- Finance

    Paritosh oversees finance, accounts and audits. Financial compliance of all grants and partners’ budgets are also monitored by him. He has over 18 years of experience in finance management of NGOs. He holds a BA of Commerce degree from Vidyasagar College, West Bengal.

  • National Team Member

    Darshan Surendranath

    Senior Programme Officer

    Darshan supports and oversees programme implementation in Odisha and Karnataka. Darshan has a background in child rights, volunteering, and the corporate sector. He holds an MA in Economics from Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics, Pune, Maharashtra.

  • National Team Member

    Kanika Kaul

    Senior Programme Officer

    Kanika joined THP India in 2018 and oversees programme implementation in 3 states – Bihar and Madhya Pradesh. Formerly, she was with the Centre for Budget and Governance Accountability (CBGA) working on research and capacity building on Gender Responsive Budgeting and other issues relating to women such as fiscal policy measures for addressing violence against women. Her work has largely focused on strengthening governance processes to enhance their gender responsiveness. Prior to that, Kanika worked with THP India for five years. She holds an MA in Social Work from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai.

  • National Team Member


    Research Officer
  • National Team Member

    Veda Bharadwaja

    Senior Programme Officer

    Veda joined THP India in 2010. She anchors THP India’s advocacy strategy as well as the adolescent girls’ portfolio. She also oversees programme implementation in Rajasthan and Uttarakhand. Veda has worked on women’s economic, social and cultural rights and strongly believes in the human rights framework to advocate for women’s political rights. Veda holds an MA in International Relations from Jawaharlal Nehru University (New Delhi) and an MA in Governance, Development and Public Policy from the Institute of Development Studies (UK).

  • National Team Member

    Surbhi Mahajan

    Senior Programme Officer

    Surbhi joined THP India in 2018 in the capacity of senior communications officer. She has an MA in Development Studies from the Institute of Development Studies (University of Sussex), and an M.Phil/MA from Jawaharlal Nehru University (New Delhi) in Modern History. She is also a volunteer member at Make Every Woman Count, a London based women-led organisation working on African women’s rights. Prior to this, she worked as a programme officer at the Women’s Fund Asia. Her interests include understanding discourses around gender, social justice, and utility of visual representation in documenting change narratives.

  • National Team Member

    Bharani Sundararajan

    National Programme Officer

    Bharani is the grants administrator of THP India partner organisations. She supports budget development processes and coordinates with partners on compliance and financial reporting. Additionally, she manages the Country Director’s office in Delhi. She holds a Diploma in Computer Science and Engineering from Pallavan College, Tamil Nadu.

  • National Team Member

    Ganga Gupta

    National Coordinator:Training

    Ganga is a master trainer with THP and has been conducting training workshops across THPs programme intervention areas since 2005. She has an excellent command over training skills, participatory methodology and has a deep understanding of issues related to gender, governance, women’s rights and women’s political leadership in rural India. She is also invested in empowering adolescent girls and conducts trainings on life skills, leadership and citizenship for them. She has over 30 years of grassroots experience in the rural development sector and brings invaluable insights to programmes. Most recently, Ganga co-lead training on women’s leadership and their role as public office holders in Bhutan. She holds a BA in Humanities from the University of Rajasthan.

  • National Team Member

    Aparna Bhaumik

    Research & Data Associate

    Aparna joined THP India in April 2021 as a Research and Data Associate. Previously, she has worked in research on agriculture market policies in Foundation for Economic Development. Before that, she worked as a researcher on agriculture markets and farmer income in a project hosted by the University of Pennsylvania. Most recently, she worked with American India Foundation in program and communications for a project promoting STEM education amongst girls. She is an M.A. in Sociology from the Delhi School of Economics. Her interest lies in the capacity building of marginalized populations and the gendered dynamics of the rural economy.

  • National Team Member

    Amit Goyal

    Assistant Administrative Officer

    Amit supports the administration and the finance team and also looks after IT processes at the National office and 6 state offices. He holds a MBA (Human Resource) from Symbiosis College, Pune, Maharashtra.

  • National Team Member

    Shiw Shankar Mahato

    Accounts Officer Shiw is responsible for book- keeping and voucher scrutiny, while also assisting in filing tax returns and Statutory reports. He holds a BA degree in Commerce from Ranchi University, Jharkhnad.
  • National Team Member

    Nidhi Kumari

    Senior Administrative Associate

    Nidhi is responsible for travel bookings and also handles administrative duties. She has been with The Hunger Project since March 2007. Nidhi holds BA degree in Science from Magadh University, Bihar.

03State Team

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  • Bihar

    Shahina Perween,

    State Team Member

    Shahina Perween

    State Programme Lead

    Shahina oversees programme planning and implementation in Bihar. Her understanding of women’s rights is reflected in the design of programmatic interventions, training of elected women representatives, creating innovative communication material, and conducting media interactions. She was the coordinator of the THP ‘Fact Finding Team’ to study the cases of gender-based violence during Panchayat elections in 2006. Shahina is an avid writer and contributes to opinion pages in the Hindi and Urdu press. She is also invited to speak at various public forums on women’s political leadership, empowerment of adolescent girls and governance. She holds an MA in Zoology and Journalism from Makhanlal Chaturvedi Rashtriya Patrakarita Evam Sanchar Vishwavidyalay, Bhopal.

    State Team Member


    to fill

  • Karnataka

    Vinodh P., Somasekher Alkod, Padmini Ananth

    State Team Member

    Vinodh P.


    Vinodh handles administration, financial reporting for Karnataka state office, and reviews the accounts of partner organisations. Prior to joining THP India in 2019, he worked with SATHI in Bangalore for over 13 years. He holds a BA in Commerce from Bangalore University and is currently pursuing his MA in Commerce from Gitam University, Visakhapatnam as well as Post Graduate Programme Development Management (PGPDM) from S.P. Jain Institute of Management, Mumbai, India.

    State Team Member

    Somasekher Alkod

    State Programme Lead

    Somasekhar oversees strategic planning, operations, and partner management. He brings an innovative approach to programme design. He has over 15 years of experience, having worked with reputed organisations like EveryChild (UK) and National Campaign for Dalit Human Rights (New Delhi). He holds an MA in Physics from Kalburagi University in Karnataka and another MA in International and Humanitarian Aid from Humanitarian Aid Study Centre (HASC) Proyecto Kālu, Spain.

    State Team Member

    Padmini Ananth

    Sr. Programme Associate

    Padmini coordinates program interventions and reporting. She has 20 years of experience working with elected women representatives in Gram Panchayats and has undertaken several research studies on Village Development Plan and Gender Budgeting. She holds an MA in Economics from Karnataka State Open University, Mysore.

  • Madhya Pradesh

    Shibani Sharma, to fill

    State Team Member

    Shibani Sharma

    State Programme Lead

    Shibani oversees programme implementation and partner management in MP. Her areas of interest include capacity building, networking, and advocacy. She is frequently invited as a guest speaker at various public fora, including radio stations to talk of women’s role, achievements, and challenges as elected leaders. Prior to THP, she has also undertaken social research and worked on issues of livelihood, micro-finance, and gender. Shibani holds an MA in Sociology from Delhi School of Economics and Diploma in Law and Gender from National Law Institute University.

    State Team Member

    to fill


    to fill

  • Odisha

    Nancy Rout, Hariar Debata, Sukanta Mohapatra

    State Team Member

    Nancy Rout

    Programme Consultant

    Nancy Rout has joined Odisha state team in the capacity of Programme Consultant. She has an MA in Development with a Triple Major in Economics, Political Science and Sociology from Azim Premji University. Her interests include gender, livelihood, and education.

    State Team Member

    Hariar Debata


    Harihar looks after accounts, finance, logistics and administration in THP Odisha State office. He also oversees the financial monitoring of partner organisations. He holds an MA in Commerce from Utkal University, Bhubaneswar, India. He carries with him more than 23 years of experience in accounting.

    State Team Member

    Sukanta Mohapatra

    State Programme Lead

    Sukanta oversees programme implementation and partner management in Odisha, bringing in strategic thinking and innovation to programme design. He has over 25 years of work experience spanning both the corporate and development sector. His varied experience makes him highly adaptive and creative. He is also one of the Master Trainers at THP and co-leads trainings across THPs programme areas and in South Asia. Sukanta holds an MA in Economics from Sambalpur University, Odisha.

  • Rajasthan

    Renuka Sharma, Virendra Shrimali, Astha Rastogi

    State Team Member

    Renuka Sharma

    Renuka Sharma joins THP India as a senior programme associate based in Rajasthan state office. She has worked on various issues such as family planning, maternal and child health, adolescents health (SRH), early childhood development (ECD), and nutrition. Renuka has a B.A. in Arts from Kanoriya Girls College, Jaipur, and an M.A. in Social work from Vardhmaan University, Kota. Currently, she is also pursuing a distance learning course on food and nutrition from IGNOU.

    State Team Member

    Virendra Shrimali

    State Programme Lead

    Virendra oversees programme planning and implementation. He is deeply invested in advancing women’s political leadership at the grassroots level and has been with THP for over 20 years. He has in-depth knowledge of Panchayati Raj Institutions and government programmes in the state. He holds an MA in Economic Administration and Financial Management from Ajmer University.

    State Team Member

    Astha Rastogi


    Astha looks after state accounts statements and the preparation of programme budgets. She also reviews the accounts of partner organisations and is responsible for financial reporting in the State. She holds an MA in Intellectual Property Rights from Indira Gandhi National Open University, Delhi and has completed her BA in Commerce from the University of Rajasthan.

  • Uttarakhand

    Kamla Bhatt

    State Team Member

    Kamla Bhatt

    State Programme Lead Kamla oversees program implementation & partner management. She is exceptionally skilled in community mobilisation. Kamla has over 20 years of development sector experience in Uttarakhand and has a deep understanding of issues related to gender, women’s rights, panchayats, governance, education, and livelihood. She holds an MA in Economics from Kumaon University, Nainital and is currently pursuing her MSW from Uttarakhand Open University.
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Our Partnerships and Collaborations That Have Enabled Change

American Jewish World Service, Azim Premji Philanthropic Initiatives, BMZ (Germany), Canada Fund for Local Initiatives, DASRA, Forum Syd (Sweden), Mariwala Charity Trust, New Zealand High Commission, Ribbink Van Den Hoek Foundation (Netherlands), Royal Norwegian Embassy, The Asia Foundation, United Nations Development Programme, United Nations Population Fund, UN Women

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