Article written by Eshwer Kale published in the Economic and Political Weekly (EPW) (Vol. 52, Issue No. 3 dated 21 Jan, 2017)
WOTR has a team of more than 180 people, many of them highly qualified and experienced who report to the Executive Director and commit themselves to leaving their footprints on the road of development and social transformation. These are people who bring to WOTR a diverse range of expertise in areas such as social sciences, watershed technology, finance, media, administration, research and so on.
WOTR is headed by its Executive Director, Dr. Marcella D’Souza. A physician by education she opted for Community Health. Marcella is an alumnus of the Government Medical College, Nagpur and a Takemi Fellow of the Harvard School of Public Health. Of the almost 3 decades spent working in rural areas, Marcella spent six years in the Peruvian Andes where she organized a large-scale community-led health care system. After joining WOTR in 1995, as coordinator for women’s promotion in the Indo-German Watershed Development Programme, she developed the pedagogy to integrate the community health, gender concerns and women’s empowerment in the male dominated land-based, technical watershed development. Marcella took up the role of Executive Director of WOTR in 2006. Years of working in semi-arid regions and witnessing the varying and unpredictable weather patterns and its impact on rural livelihoods and well-being in these areas triggered WOTR’s Climate Change Adaptation project for developing tested methodologies for large-scale application and applied research in 2009 that looks at socio-ecological systems and interconnectedness to find answers. Further, as these problems often have deep behavioural roots and cannot be addressed by interventions in the material realm alone, Marcella brings in working at the inner/deeper level with WOTR’s staff, rural communities and groups, as an integral part of WOTR’s praxis.