2019 Keynote Speaker – Marcella D’Souza

Marcella D’Souza is the Director of the WOTR Centre for Resilience Studies (W-CReS) and former Executive Director of Watershed Organization Trust (WOTR), India from 2006 till March 2019. She is a medical doctor by training and a Takemi Fellow of the Harvard School of Public Health.

Marcella spent 6 years in rural communities in South Andean Peru, working in Community and Public Health. She joined WOTR in 1995 as Coordinator, Women’s Promotion in the bilateral Indo-German Watershed Development Programme.

As Executive Director she initiated in 2009 the integrated project on “Climate Change Adaptation in Semi-arid Regions in 3 states of India” supported by the Swiss Development Cooperation and the National Bank for Rural Development, with a view developing methodologies, processes, tools and interventions for assessing vulnerability, enhancing resilience, and building adaptive capacities to climate change in semi-arid areas. This included methodologies for Water Stewardship (community driven groundwater management), climate resilient agriculture and locale specific crop weather advisories. Gaps in understanding local needs led her to set up the applied research unit W-C ReS, to focus on transdisciplinary research that addresses the needs of policy and programme designers, practitioners and the farming community.