Social activist Deep Joshi was recently chosen for the Ramon Magsaysay Award for "his vision and leadership in bringing professionalism to the NGO movement in India".
Joshi is the co-founder of Professional Assistance for Development Action (PRADAN) and now works as an independent consultant for the NGO, which works for rural poor, promoting self-help groups, developing locally suitable economic activities, mobilising finances and introducing systems to improve livelihoods of rural people.
Born and brought up in a remote village of Pithoragarh (Uttarakhand), Joshi did B Tech from Motilal Nehru Engineering College, Allahabad. He went on to do his ME from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Masters in Management from the Sloan School, MIT.
He has also worked with the Systems Research Institute, the Ford Foundation and has nearly 30 years of experience in the field of rural development and livelihood promotion. He also advises the government on poverty alleviation strategies.
In an interview with Chetan Upadhyaya for Sify.com, Deep Joshi expresses the hope that people and the government will understand the importance of rural development and poverty alleviation.
What was your reaction when you learnt about the award? How do you see it?
The Magsaysay Award Committee intimates the awardees in advance and gets their nod. So, I received a call from them about 2-4 weeks back and I was very happy. I think this award is for the people who leave bright careers and join us at PRADAN. The educated and elite youth are also required in villages and it is not necessary that you only join the IT sector or become a civil servant.The biggest challenge is poverty. So this award is the recognition of the all the hard work of my colleagues at PRADAN- they will be encouraged to work more.
Secondly, it will also encourage more educated people to work in villages.
How do you plan to use this award money?
This is not a very large sum -- only about $50,000 or Rs 24 lakh. But yes, it will be used for a noble cause.
Images courtesy: Chetan Upadhyaya