Watershed Support Services and Activities Network (WASSAN)

BN Yugandhar Fellowship

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Fellowship

Why BN Yugandhar Rainfed Agriculture Fellowship

The key objective of this fellowship is to encourage, inspire and support young people to engage with and understand the core issues of development in which Yugandhar spent his lifetime. The fellowship provides an opportunity for the fellows to undertake field research with communities exploring the issues of interest in depth. The focus areas of the fellowship include land, labour and natural resource rights, especially in tribal areas; issues of forest fringe communities; issues of droughts and vulnerability; intersection of gender with these issues; and parity of public investments - within the larger context of rainfed areas. The fellows will be guided and mentored by an advisory group having a long standing contribution in the area of research. The study report will be published by WASSAN.

Legacy of B N Yugandhar

Sri. Bukkapuram Nadella Yugandhar widely known as B N Yugandhar was a former IAS officer who inspired many people in his lifetime to commit to the agenda of rural development. A scholar on land rights, as an active supporter of people working on bonded labor issues, as a champion of tribal areas’ development and their rights, as a person deeply committed to the issues of droughts and drought prone areas, and as a champion of community based rehabilitation and rights of the disabled, as a champion of decentralization of planning, Yugandhar inspired many people and touched many lives. Participatory Watershed Development Program, MGNREGA and decentralization of planning were his flagship achievements that changed the course of public investments in those domains.

Locations

  • Erstwhile Kalahandi, Balangir, and Koraput regions of Odisha
  • Tribal areas of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Jharkhand
  • Dryland areas of arid regions of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh

Guided by Mentors

A Mentor can be defined as the details and map that enable us to reach our long-term goals. It’s important to understand what one wants, where one is going, and how one might get there. A mentorship will focus on Mentors supporting the fellows in identifying the areas of improvement based on the reflection assessment taken by them during the fellowship period and decoding the way forward to achieve the goals. An individual mentor shall be assigned to the fellows for the initial 6 months during the fellowship, it aims at strengthening the bond between the Mentor and the Mentee in future also.

Roles and responsibilities of Mentors:

GUIDANCE AND SUPPORT

Mentors shall provide continuous guidance and support to fellows by providing subject matter expertise in relevant areas of research, such as land rights, natural resource management, tribal issues, gender equality, and public investment in rainfed areas throughout their field research period, helping them navigate challenges and make informed decisions.

FACILITATION OF LEARNING

Mentors shall facilitate a conducive learning environment for fellows, encouraging critical thinking, reflection, and exploration of complex developmental issues.

MEETING MEETINGS

Mentors shall discuss progress, address concerns, and provide feedback on research methodologies and findings during the regular mentorship meetings scheduled by the fellows.

NETWORKING AND COLLABORATION

Mentors shall provide networking opportunities for fellows, connecting them with relevant stakeholders, experts, and community members to enrich their research experience.

CAREER PATH FOR FELLOW

Mentors shall support the career path of the fellow after the fellowship period and the learning may be overcome to fulfill his goal. Mentors may extend support to fellows in their professional development, offering advice on career paths, further education opportunities, and skill enhancement relevant to their research interests during the fellowship period

ETHICAL CONDUCT

Mentors shall uphold ethical standards and ensure that fellows adhere to ethical guidelines in their research activities, including obtaining necessary permissions and consent from stakeholders.

PUBLICATION SUPPORT

Mentors shall guide fellows in preparing their research findings for publication, guiding writing, editing, and formatting research reports or articles.

ADVOCACY AND IMPACT

Mentors shall empower fellows to translate their research findings into actionable recommendations and advocate for positive change in policies and practices related to rainfed agriculture and rural development.

Our BN Yugandhar Fellows

SRINIDHI NIDADAVOLU

Srinidhi N is a first-generation learner who was born and raised in Nellore, Andhra Pradesh. Her interests and aspirations to pursue social sciences ignited owing to the complex marginalities in her family and social circles. This prompted her to study Political Science and Development Policy in Delhi and Tuljapur. As an aspiring cultural anthropologist, she plans to use her action research to both theoretically and practically contribute to dismantling the dehumanization and hyper-individualization of historically marginalized communities. The B.N. Yugandhar Rainfed Agriculture Fellowship enabled the milestone of opportunities to demonstrate the values of social transformation and justice. Under the guidance of the fellowship, Srinidhi will conduct research with the Kolam community in the districts of Adilabad and Asifabad in Telangana on the historical alienation of their ancestral lands and communal life depriving them of their culture weaved to nature. She aims to provide a Kolam Worldview and answers of “whose land is it, and who belongs where?” by contextualizing the paradigms of Indigenous research methods.

MANORANJAN SWAIN

Manoranjan hails from Jagatsinghpur district of Odisha and completed his MSW from Utkal University. His transformative journey began with two influential years as a Gandhi Fellow before venturing into various roles with different NGOs like Gram Swaraj, NCAS, Project Potential, Ahimsagram and Thread. Through these experiences, he gained a deep understanding of the lives and livelihoods of tribals in Odisha, which further strengthened his passion for advocating for tribal rights. He also undertook an extensive cycling expedition that took him around 5000 kilometers across eastern and southern India. In the process, he immersed himself in the aspirations of the youth and explored both rural and urban lifestyles. However, he constantly sought opportunities to conduct research on the rights of Adivasi communities. This search led him to the BN Yugandhar Rainfed Agriculture Fellowship. Not knowing BN Yugandhar at first, he later discovered this person’s remarkable commitment to marginalized tribal communities. When he was selected for the fellowship, Manoranjan focused on researching land rights and revenue records of the land in Kalahandi, Odisha. This opportunity promises to provide invaluable insights into rural community food security, assessing the impact of millets, promoting positive change within the community, and deepening his understanding of legal research practices.

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