On May 1, 2020, WOTR brought together a diverse range of stakeholders including policy makers, government officials, researchers, corporate donor representatives, and development practitioners for a half-day virtual workshop in order to reach a consensus on Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA) for building resilience to COVID-19 in rural Maharashtra.
Anandkumar Ratkal is Regional Coordinator, WOTR Telangana and Andhra Pradesh RRC, Hyderabad.
‘I was born in 1979, in the Bidar district of Karnataka, a district that is on the tri junction of Karnataka, Maharashtra and Telangana. I grew up in a village, my father is a businessmen and my mother a homemaker. Until my Class X, I went to the local village school, in Kannada medium. Due to my interest in agriculture and rural development and desire to do “something different” I did my B.Tech. in Agri Engineering from collage of Agricultural Engineering, Raichur, in 2001.’
Post my B.Tech. I went to Pune. While in Pune, I got a job in floriculture farm and Marketing field later enrolled Natural Resources Management, offered by AFPRO. After completing this course, I worked in Orissa and Madhya Pradesh. I joined WOTR in 2004 in the Sangamener office where I worked in the areas of NRM, livelihoods, water conservation. Overall, I have 3 stints in WOTR: 2004 to 2006, 2007 to 2012 and then from August 2018 till now. So in total, I have worked for almost nine years with WOTR. At present, I am stationed in the Hyderabad office. WOTR’s working atmosphere, which is full of learning, has kept me coming back.
A question arises, what attracted me to the Development sector, when generally people preferred banking, medicine, engineering or government? The main reason was that it gave me a chance to work with the people and in the agriculture sector, which I always wanted. Working in WOTR means working at the grassroots, and with communities. On the flip side, the rural situation in Telangana is quite different from Maharashtra. So it is a challenge to adapt WOTR’s schemes.
A larger challenges in the development sector in general, is that equations between people and the NGOs are now changing. People’s expectations are rising, we must live up to it. The Government of Telangana has launched its own schemes like Haritha Haram, Mission Bhagiratha while Union government has its own schemes like the NRLM scheme, etc. NGOs cannot implement programmes on the scale that governments can, but we can play a major role in policy advocacy, knowledge sharing and gap filling.
On a personal note, being from Bidar I can speak Kannada, Telugu, Marathi and Hindi fluently. I like meditation and reading articles and books.
In the next 5 years, I wish that WOTR could expand its work to all the southern states and reach 1, 00,000 families at least. I wish WOTR could become a premier, recognised institution in the south. I would like to play a role in that regard, to make this a reality’