Vijaya Pastala – Founder & Managing Trustee
Founder and Managing Trustee Vijaya has a passion for developing community-based solutions that use the power of market forces to improve farming livelihoods. Building on her practical, firsthand experience of developing farmer-friendly frameworks that impacted rural poverty, she founded Under The Mango Tree in 2009 as a hybrid (comprising the not for profit UTMT Society to train small farmers in beekeeping with indigenous bees and a for profit entity UTMT Company to address market access for honey for beekeepers across the country). Before establishing Under The Mango Tree, she spent two decades spearheading pro-poor, rural livelihood interventions with the World Bank, European Commission, the Aga Khan Foundation and others. A local Bombayite, after her schooling in Cathedral, she took a gap year to travel across India with the first edition of the Lonely Planet and kept in touch with her family through lightning phone calls from Post Offices, before heading out to Mount Holyoke College for her Bachelor’s in International Relations and then on to Massachusetts Institute of Technology for a Masters in Regional planning.
Vijaya played a critical role in formulating UTMT Society’s Bees for Poverty Reduction framework and getting the organisation to where it is today. Besides being a source of constant support and guidance in our journey, she has always urged us to think out of the box, used her decades of experience in the sector to suggest various changes to the model when necessary.
Vijaya currently helms UTMT Company full time. She continues to make time for UTMT Society, provides strategic inputs and is the Managing Trustee at UTMT Society. She will always be our go to person whenever we are faced with a new challenge.
Naheed CarrimjeeNaheed is the founding partner in a leading legal firm Desai, Desai, Carrimjee and Mulla (DDCM) since 2007. Prior to that, she worked in Crawford Bayley as an Associate for 13 years. Along with being the Secretary on the Managing Committee of Under The Mango Tree Society, she is also a Trustee of the H.M. Seervai Memorial Trust. Naheed has a published chapter on Data Protection in India in the European Lawyer Reference Series on Data Protection and Privacy (2012). Her legal expertise is in joint ventures, intellectual property rights, trademark and copyrights, mergers, capital market matters, real estate transactions among others.
Sophie MoochhalaSophie is the Managing Director of Fluid Controls, a leading provider of instrumentation products and services for a wide variety of industrial applications. Prior to that, she worked with Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages and McCann Erickson. Sophie is the Treasurer on the Managing Committee of Under The Mango Tree Society. Sophie has completed her MBA from Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies, Mumbai.
Vikram DoctorVikram is Editor, Special Features, Economic Times and one of most India’ well-known writers on food. Vikram has also put together the hugely popular “Real Food” Podcast, one of India’s first podcasts on food.
Emmanuel DavidEmmanuel David is the Director of Tata Management Training Centre (TMTC), the capability building arm of the Tata Group. With over 3 decades of experience in sectors like automobiles, infrastructure, hospitality and financial services, Emmanuel has led Human Resources function in many organizations, and brings with him expertise in conflict management, designing and implementing HR policy and system. While working with Voltas, British Gas and Honda, he has successfully resolved legacy industrial disputes. An alumnus of XLRI, Emmanuel is an avid blogger, writer, photographer and an experimental chef.
Gayatri Rangachari ShahGayatri is a journalist and columnist whose work has appeared in both national and international publications like the New York Times. She is a contributing editor at Vogue, Architectural Digest and India Head at Tina Brown Live Media, which produced the globally renowned journalism summit Women in the World till 2020. She covers a variety of subjects, including culture, gender, design, and education and has profiled leading personalities around the world. She is co-author of Change makers: 20 Women Transforming Bollywood Behind the Scenes. She is a graduate of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.
Tina NagpaulTina is a filmmaker, lyricist and writer. She is known for movies like Bombay skies, Amit Sahni Ki List and My Brother…Nikhil. She is also part of the team that manages the Tata Literature festival in Mumbai and plays an active role in organising MHC Shakti – the annual event of the alumni of Mount Holyoke College, USA.
Sujana Krishnamoorthy – Executive DirectorIn her two decades as a development professional, Sujana has loved working across India from icy Bharmour in Chamba district of Himachal Pradesh to dusty Tiruppur in Tamil Nadu. She began her career in labour research with the Centre for Education and Communication (CEC), New Delhi, worked as State Programme Leader for PRIA in Himachal Pradesh and has for the last ten years been associated with Under The Mango Tree Society. Sujana has a Master’s degree from the Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics, Pune and an M.Phil from Jawaharlal Nehru University. She juggles her work with being mother to a 7-year-old and enjoys reading about food and travel
Sachin Dhavle, Team Leader – MaharashtraAfter graduating from Mumbai University in B.A Psychology, Sachin felt the need to get involved deeper with the community, so he completed his Masters in Social Work from Nagpur University. He worked with Aangan Trust on issues related to juvenile children in Mumbai for 3 years. Sachin has been with UTMT Society since 2011 and leads the Maharashtra programme. In his free time, he likes to read about new technologies, gadgets and innovations. He loves cricket and enjoys playing the sport in his downtime.
Dhara Patel, Team Leader – GujaratDhara has completed her Master’s in Social Work from the College of Social Work, Nirmala Niketan and also holds a Post Graduate Diploma from MS University, Vadodara. She is a certified First Aider both in theory and practice. Dhara joined UTMT Society in 2011 and leads the Gujarat team. She prefers staying close to nature and likes to travel, experience new places around the world. She has represented UTMT Society at Apimondia 2019 (Montreal) and at various conferences in India and abroad.
Anand Patel, Team Leader – MPAnand Patel joined UTMT Society in 2018 and oversees implementation and monitoring in the state of Madhya Pradesh. Anand has worked in diverse areas within the development field like education, agriculture, community development, energy, sanitation, climate change, water resource development, etc. He has completed his Masters in Science (Aquatic environmental science) from Barkatulla University, Bhopal. He is also an MBA in Rural Technology & Management from Jiwaji University, Gwalior. He is passionate about nature and always feels good about every beautiful aspect.
Shylaja Nair, Director – Monitoring and EvaluationShylaja is a consultant to UTMT Society and is associated with the monitoring and evaluation vertical in the organisation. As Director, Monitoring and Evaluation she along with her team, continuously monitors the performance of programmes implemented by the Society and provides feedback on their operation. She has over thirty years of experience in the rural finance sector and has been associated with UTMT Society for the last six years. She is also a member of the Leadership team.
Pradeep VasavaPradeep Vasava hails from a farming family in a small village in Surat district. Helping his family while he was studying helped him learn and understand the daily struggles a farmer faces. This motivated him to work with farmers. Pradeep has a Masters in Social Work from M.S University Baroda. He has been with UTMT Society since 2015. He loves being outdoors. He likes the scenic beauty of the Sahyadri range during the monsoon and winter seasons. He says the best part of his work with UTMT Society is to riding a bike whilst travelling between villages and blocks and swimming in the various streams in the area.
Mahendra VasavaAfter a Masters in Social Work from M.S. University, Baroda, Mahendra worked with a couple of NGOs. He has been with UTMT Society since 2015. Mahendra is driven by the fact that his work with UTMTS is contributing to higher incomes for tribal farmers and promotes conservation of honeybees – a blessing for humanity from the Creator.
Parbhu PadviParbhu Padvi has a Diploma in Agriculture from Navsari Agriculture University and joined UTMT Society in 2019 as an agriculture officer. He looks after flora related activities in all the field areas in Gujarat. He is interested in singing and listening to music. He spends his time in updating himself with innovations in agriculture activities and help farmers to get maximum income from agriculture
Manilal VagheraManilal Vaghera has a Bachelor’s of Rural Studies and was working with BAIF for 4 years in the wadi programme. Manilalbhai was part of the initial two-day beekeeping training programme in 2009 that was conducted by UTMTS and BAIF and was given the responsibility of managing the Pilot in Dharampur block. He has been with UTMTS since 2012 and is currently Field Manager. His dream is to spread awareness about beekeeping to save bees. He wishes that every field has bee boxes and every farmer benefits from beekeeping.
Dhanshree ChavanDhanshree Chavan is a Masters in Social Work from MS University, Baroda. She began her career with UTMT Society in 2013, training women in beekeeping in Dhule district, Maharashtra. After a teaching stint in Vadodara she rejoined UTMT Society. She has one foot in the Maharashtra programme and also plays a key role in documentation and proposal writing. Dhanshree completed a stint with the UK based Bees for Development in 2019 on a Commonwealth Fellowship.
Dipak PawarDipak has a BA in Sociology with a specialization in Licensing and has done his Masters in Social Work. He was previously associated with UTMT for 2 years after which he worked for 3 years at Chief Minister Rural Development Fellowship Program in Nandurbar District. He re-joined UTMT in the year 2020. He loves working with farmers and exploring new people and places.”
Mujahid DiwanMujahid Diwan is an MSW from Parul University, Vadodara. He has been with UTMT Society since 2017 and firmly believes that “Choose the right job you love and you never have to work a day in your life” -Confucius.”
Mansi ShindeMansi Shinde has a Masters in Social Work and has been with UTMT Society since 2017. Working with honeybees and tribal farmers was completely new for her. She loves working in the field as she believes it provides experiences and skills that go a long way in future.
Pramod ChavhanPramod Chavhan has a post graduate degree in Social Work from Nagpur University. He began his career with UTMT Society in 2017 in Dharni block of Amaravati district. He is also trained as a bamboo designer and artisan.
Chhabildas JadhavChhabildas belongs to a farming family and has loved farming since he was a child. He has now opened up to exploring new farming techniques and utilizing them. He has worked with the Bharatiya Agro Industries Foundation after which he joined the UTMT Society in 2009. He also loves meeting and interacting with new people.
Madhya Pradesh Team
Santosh VishwakarmaSantosh Vishwakarma is based in Chhindwara district, and has been with UTMT Society since 2016. He has eight years of experience in the development sector in the state. In his free time, he likes to be with his family, especially playing with his children.
Monitoring and Evaluation
Debika ChatterjeeDebika Chatterjee joined the UTMTS team in 2017 as Senior Programme Manager, Monitoring & Evaluation. With a passion for numbers, she has always worked as a researcher or as an M&E person in non-profit organizations, like Mumbai Mobile Crèches and CREA (New Delhi). Debika has a PhD in Psychology. Other than numbers, Debika is also crazy about cats and wants to become a feline behaviourist someday.
Rahul CardozaRahul Cardoza has a Masters in Social Work from Nirmala Niketan, Mumbai and works with the Monitoring & Evaluation team. When away from work, Rahul enjoys playing football, cinema, going on nature trips and annual treks.
When a bee is in your hand, what’s in your eye? Beauty. Because beauty is in the eye of the bee-holder.