Team Himmotthan
Malavika Chauhan : Executive Director Joined - 2007

Malavika completed a Ph.D. in Wetlands Ecology in 1994 from the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, following which she worked with the WWF-India programme, Wetlands International – South Asia and the Institute for Economic Growth, Delhi. She completed a DST Young Scientist post-doctorate on wetland restoration in Keoladeo National Park, Bharatpur, Rajasthan, and was also a GEF fellow to the East Anglia University, U.K. in environmental economics, and a Fulbrighter with the USGS- NWRC in Lafayette, Louisiana.

She was also an SRTT fellow at the Institute of Social and Economic Growth, Bangalore. Her work experience ranges from conservation ecology, environmental economics and management and she has consulted extensively, including for the WB, ADB, WWF-I and various state government programmes. She has worked in several states in India, and has visited or worked in 14 countries. Malavika joined Himmotthan in 2007 as the Executive Director, and is also a Deputy Development Manager at the Sir Ratan Tata Trust, Mumbai. Malavika is originally from the district of Almora, Uttarakhand and lists in her hobbys, reading, photography, sculpting and travel.

 Yashpal Bisht: Coordinator, Natural Resource Management Joined - 2007

Yashpal completed his M.Sc. in Environmental Science from the G.B. Pant University of Agriculture and Technology at Pantnagar and a Ph.D. on the beautiful and inaccessible Nanda Devi National park which includes the spectacular Valley of Flowers in the upper reaches of the Himalayas. He studied resource and energy use patterns of the local inhabitants, focusing on the increasing impacts of human intrusion. Yashpal spent nine years at Chirag, a reknowned NGO in the Kumaon region of the state which works in natural resource management and other social issues. He then moved to the SPWD (a Delhi based ngo) and by 2004 had joined the ongoing IFAD project in Uttarakhand.

After three years he joined Himmotthan in 2007, and initiated the ‘Integrated Fodder and Livestock Development Project’, which developed the independent concept of integrating NGO activities, local community work and government programmes into one holistic effort. His area of interest continues to be the utilization of the ‘Commons’ – the vast common lands available to our rural communities, and the integrated management and utilization of commons products.

Vinod Kothari  : Coordinator, Monitoring and Evaluation Joined - 2006

Vinod is a resident of Dehradun and spent his youth in the queen of hill stations, Mussoorie. He has an abiding interest and understanding of issues which plague rural communities and retard development. With a M.Sc. in Statistics, he then completed his PGDBA from IMT, Gaziabad in 1996, Vinod has extensive experience in both, the development and private sectors. He initially worked with Ace Laboratories and Care India in Delhi. With a wish to return to Uttarakhand and to cultivate his core interest in rural issues he joined AT India, one of the largest NGOs in the state, where he was the managing director of a community owned enterprise, mainly focused on organic commodities. He also worked with the Directorate of Sericulture.

In 2006 Vinod joined the Sir Ratan Tata Trust programme team, and was deputed to Himmotthan. Today Vinod looks after the extensive grant portfolio of the Trust in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh, and particularly focuses on market interventions and related activities. He currently also holds the position of Deputy Development Manager at the SRTT. Personal interests include being close to nature, travel and writing, particularly Hindi poetry and Sher-O-Shayari.

Rajender S. Koshyari  - Senior Project Associate (Integrated Fodder and Livestock Development Project)

Joined - 2008

With a Ph.D. in Forestry from Nainital University, Rajender moved into research where he focused on forestry and rural development. His research expeinces spans work with World Bank and Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE) sponsored projects. He taught at the Postgraduate level at Kumaun University and spent several years in rural action research projects on horticulture, livestock, agriculture, Natural Resource Management based livelihoods; formation and strengthening of Community Based Organisations (CBOs) and PRIs; marketing and technology dissemination for livelihood promotion of poor.

Rajender continued on to work in various management positions at the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) assisted Aajeevika Project in Chamoli district; Livelihood Improvement Project in CHEA, a Nainital based NGO, and as Field Task Manager at CDS - the Uttarakhand Academy of Administration, Nainital. Currently he looks after the IFLDP project in Himmotthan, and is a strong field person and communicator.

Diwakar Purohit : Project Assistant (Integrated Fodder and Livestock Development Project) Joined - 2008

With an MA in Sociology (2---) Diwakar moved into rural development, focusing upon community mobilization and development. He has extensive experience in group and federation formation and strengthening, baseline development and participatory approaches, having worked with the Jakheshwar Sikshan Sansthan, Gopeshwar as a Block Coordinator on the IFAD assisted Aajeevika Project, and Coordinator with the Swyam siddha project in Joshimath, Chamoli.

His strength in field based programme management and liaison has contributed significantly to the success of Himmotthan’s work in the remote district of Chamoli in the upper Himalayas.

Mohammad Shareef  :  Finance and Administrative Officer Joined - 2008

Shareef completed his Masters in Commerce from Kumoun University in 1999, and started his career with a World Bank Project – the “Diversified Agricultural Support Project” at the District Coordination Unit, Nainital as an Accounts Officer. In November 2004 he moved to the “Uttarakhand Livelihoods Improvement Project for the Himalayas (ULIPH)” at the State Office at Dehradun, as a Finance and Administration Officer.

This project was being funded by International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) and was implemented by “Uttarakhand Gramya Vikas Samiti” under the Rural Development Department of Government of Uttarakhand, Dehradun. Shareef received his MBA in Finance, from Sikkim Manipal University, Manipal in 2008. In 2009 he joined Himmotthan on the crucial position of ‘Finance and Administration Officer’ and now handles the all programmatic finances and accounts. Shareef has a continuing interest in learning in his field, at the same time has a good understanding of local rural issues, which makes his contributions in project design extremely pertinent.

Dinesh Negi : Data Base Officer Joined - 2009

Dinesh is a Masters in Computer Science and also holds an MCA. He has further specialized in computer programming. Dinesh began his professional life as a faculty at APTECH Education in 2000, and worked there for five years following which he joined the Decentralized Watershed Development Project (UWDP), SWAJAL – Uttarakhand, funded by World Bank as DPA, in 2006.

He has also worked with the IFAD funded Aajeevika programme. As an IT Professional Dinesh has principally worked on solution architecture, data management strategies and desktop/web based MIS development. Each project he has worked on has had its own set of challenges, mainly concerning the management of large volumes of primary field data. He has developed user/ organization specific software for analysis of field data. He joined Himmotthan Society in 2009, and since then has set up an internal primary data based MIS system, and designed the organizations core database. As Data Base Officer his work is crucial to maintaining the systematic flow of data and monitoring systems of various projects.

Nirmal Harbola : Project Associate (Nettle Project) Joined - 2008

Nirmal received his Masters in Sociology in 2002 from Kumaun University, Almora. He had started his career as an entrepreneur in the development sector in 1984, when he established an Angora rabbit rearing cum wool production farm at Chitai village, Almora. Over the next eight years he worked on developing a cottage based industry for Angora wool production, and refined techniques for inbreeding Angora rabbits, rearing, wool collection, product development, natural dying and marketing. He also developed techniques for wool grading, carding and spinning of Angora wool. Since 1994 Nirmal began working for various NGOs and Government Projects in India and Nepal as a Consultant on natural and animal fibers, finally starting his own Consultancy service in 1998. He worked with OKO Himal an Austrian INGO, working in Nepal, and coordinated a German angora development program.

He also developed techniques for developing Himalayan Nettle (Allo) ranging from raising to production and export marketing. This was done in collaboration with rural SHGs at the Makalu Varun conservation area, Nepal. Nirmal also worked as a Regional Manager for the World Bank supported ‘Multipurpose Household Survey’ for 29 cities in Kumaon. Nirmal joined Himmotthan in 2009, is currently handling a Himalayan Nettle project in the state. Nirmal’s personal interests include being close to nature, travelling and spiritual and classical music.

Pankaj Paponi  : Project Associate, Micro-Finance Joined - 2009

Pankaj is a B.Tech. (2007) from the G.B. Pant University of Agriculture and Technology, Pantnagar, where he studied Agricultural Engineering. In 2007 he joined SRIJAN, a NGO working on Poverty alleviation through community based institutions, and was posted in the remote Tonk district, Rajasthan as a Project Executive. His job was to develop a sustainable livelihood focused community institution, and manage a dairy program.

He worked on developing functional systems at this community owned dairy in Dooni village. In 2009 he started a new field office in Pali district, working closely with the local tribal communities, the Bheels and the Grasiyas of western Rajasthan. Pankaj joined Himmotthan in 2010, and has been working towards developing models of microfinance for remote rural communities, with the long term aim of increasing livelihood opportunities. He has an innate penchant for exploring the world, sports and reading, and appears to be happiest in the field.

Rajender Bora : Project Associate, (Non-Timber Forest Products Project) Joined - 2009

 Rajendra received a masters in Commerce in 2001, and in 2002 was joined the Kumoun Agriculture and Greenery Advancement Society (KAGAS), a state level NGO operating from Pithoragarh district, as a Project Assistant. Initially posted to Champawat district, he has also served in Bageshwar and Pithoragarh, managing Community Based Economic Development Programs in the region. During his tenure (2002-09) he was responsible for monitoring of several community based programs including the CECI funded – CBED project, for improving rural livelihood; Skill Share funded – RCH, for improving Rural woman and child health; the IFAD funded AAJEEVIKA; UASAC funded – Target Interventions on eradicating rural poverty and improving health and education.

He was in charge of implementation, trainings, mobilization, reporting and monitoring. In 2010 he joined Himmotthan with a background experience which included continuous long term working in remote, high altitude villages, and an in-depth knowledge and experience of these communities. He is currently working on a project on “Sustaining Rural Livelihoods through Conservation and Cultivation of Non-Timber Forest product and Medicinal and Aromatic Plants in Uttarakhand”.

Puja Sharma : Project Associate, (Grant Management) Joined - 2010

Puja received her master’s degree as a scholar of Environmental Sciences in 2006 from Hemwati Nandan Bahuguna Garhwal University, Srinagar, Uttarakhand. In 2007 she enrolled at IGNOU for a one year “Post Graduate Diploma in Rural Development”. In the same year she joined a renowned NGO – the “Shri Bhuvneshwari Mahila Ashram”, at Tehri Garhwal, where she worked as an Environment Specialist under the Himmotthan Pariyojana programme, on a community based water and sanitation project supported by the Sir Ratan Tata Trust.

She was facilitated local communities management of water resources (springs/ rivulets) and catchment areas under the ‘Catchment Areas Protection Initiative’ of the same program, in 10 villages within Tehri and Uttarkashi districts of Uttarakhand. In 2008 she joined the ‘Environment Development Assistance Systems India’, a Lucknow based consultancy organization where she was deputed as an Environmental Specialist cum Social Scientist and worked on monitoring and supervision of the same Himmotthan Pariyojana water and sanitation programme. She joined Himmotthan in 2010 as a Project Associate - Grant Management, while also assisting the water and sanitation program. She has always been keen to explore new places and is proficient in Yoga.

Sapna Jhariyal : Since – 2009

Project Associate at the International Livestock Research Institute, Delhi (On collaborative project on fodder research)

 Anil Kumar : Office Assistant Joined - 2006

Anil started his professional career as a Field Assistant at the ‘Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology’, Dehradun, in 1988. He assisted in many scientific projects and has travelled extensively across the higher Himalayan ranges right through Ladhak, Kashmir, Pin-Parvati valley and the Great Himalayan National Park in Himachal. He also visited the Karakoram ranges to assist in scientific studies at the Institute. After 16 years with the Institute he joined the Peoples Science Institute, Dehradun, (PSI) as an Office Assistant in 2003. In 2006, he was deputed to work with the Himmottan team by PSI, and in 2009 he joined Himmotthan full time, as an Office Assistant.

Anil manages the office and is an astonishingly excellent people’s person. Of the scientists from across the state who visit Himmotthan, a surprising number seem to have known him and depended upon him at some point of time. His extensive travels and knowledge of places and people is regularly tapped into by the entire Himmotthan team. His primary hobby continues to be travelling in the mountains.

Vivek Joshi  : Project Associate (Non-Timber Forest Products Project) Joined - 2010

Vivek completed his Master’s in Botany from Kumoun University in 2005, when he also worked on a two year dissertation/ research project entitled “Effect of unusually warm summer temperatures and its effect on acorn maturation and new leaf production of Quercus leucotricophora”. In 2005 he joined the ‘Forest Ecology and Environment’ division at the Forest Research Institute, Dehradun as a researcher, but moved in March 2006 he moved to the Wildlife Institute of India as a JRF, where he conducted research on the ecology of Himalayan brown bears at Kugti wildlife sanctuary, Chamba, Himachal Pradesh.

He simultaneously started investigating the “Effects of climate change on Himalayan alpine tree line ecotone”, and also enrolled as a PhD scholar at Kumoun University, Almora where he is working on “species substitutability in alpine tree line ecotone, with special reference to climate change in Himachal and Uttarakhand Himalaya”. He also worked on Tiger conservation in Bandhavgarh National Park, Madhya Pradesh during 2009-2010. In October 2010 he joined Himmotthan as a Project Associate on a project “Sustaining Rural Livelihoods through Cultivation and Conservation of NTFP’s and MAP’s in Uttarakhand”. The project entails considerable field based monitoring, training and documentation. Vivek’s primary hobby is photography, and he is informally Himmotthan’s designated photographer.

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