Name: Rakesh Kumar
Organisation: Independent Consultant
Role: Independent Consultant
I am very keen to aassociate with a suitable opportunity that would offer me the space and responsibilities to apply not only my consulting and leadership experiences in the development sector but also the leadership and academic skills that I gained during my Packard and Gates Population Leadership Program (PLP) fellowship and Masters in Public Health (MPH) coursework at University of Washington (UW), Seattle besides my first Master in Social Work ( MSW) from Tata Institute of Social Sciences(TISS), Mumbai, India. Every year, twelve PLP fellows with demonstrated leadership in the field of development are selected from developing countries across the world ( including Africa) for a nine month rigourous training in leadership and management, and I have been chosen as the leader from India for 2003-04 cohort. I would like to briefly present my experiences and skills set in this cover letter and humbly request you to give me an opportunity to present my candidature in an interview with you selection committee. Before my transition to USA and New Delhi thereafter, I have worked almost for a decade in Bihar and Jharkhand in India (one of the most underdeveloped regions in terms of Human development indicators) as founding-director of Arogyam Center for Health and Development which gives me an in-depth understanding of the situations, challenges, programs, and key stakeholders in population, health, education and development programs in rural, remote and difficult terrains of India. While I have worked extensively during this period in various thematic areas mentioned above in Bihar and Jharkhand, I am glad to share that I have also played a very instrumental role in setting up a regional network of NGOs and launch a series of grassroots programs to empower community and young people through a series of programs. This has also given me an opportunity to build a very close tie with most of the fellows and leaders from various leadership development programs in India. Many of these fellows worked very closely with me at both individual and organizational level and are still part of my individual professional network. This would definitely be very helpful to me in mentoring the colleagues both within and outside any organization, and maintain a healthy collegial relationship. This in-depth hand on experience of working with these leaders and fellows at various stages of their professional career would certainly allow me to build and sustain the existing networks and alliances of the organization. In addition to this, I have also acted as the official mentor for the partner organizations of National Foundation For India( NFI ) in Bihar and Jharkhand focused on mainstream health, education and community development programs. At a personal level, I have participated in various capacity building programs at both national and international level to enhance my own knowledge and skills in this field. Before I took a study break to complete my MPH thesis ( to be completed by this Autumn quarter, i.e. November 2009) I was working as the head of the Scaling Up Unit of Population Foundation of India ( PFI ) and my prime responsibility was identification/ screening of best practices/ pilots in the field of health, by both Government and civil society in India, and facilitate the scaling up management of these promising practices. This is a very intensive process where I used to offer technical support including stakeholders analysis and Force-field analysis to develop effective advocacy strategy for scaling up, management (both finance and program), networking, and documentation. This experience I feel could be applied to any sector including education. As represented above, I have worked in the development sector in India both in a hands-on management role, as well as, in advisory, trainer and consulting capacities, which would allow me to design and develop potential Program activities as well as efficiently manage the ongoing ones. My exposure to a wide range of working environments and locations in India as well as abroad will help me assess applications and interpret data, as well as monitor and evaluate performance of ongoing projects. I have an understanding of short and long term social development related issues and action areas, both from domestic organizational work as well as my international training exposure. I believe that this would help me review and recommend new areas for program management and related strategies. To summarize, with my experience of founding and running a domestic non profit organization, as well as consulting and communicating with stakeholders at different levels, I believe I have the skill set to discharge the duties of an efficient development professional in a multitask and multi-stakeholder environment. Over and above I would bring to the job, a deep interest and passion for the cause which would differentiate me from others.