Program Teams

Program Teams

Dr. Anita Patil-Deshmukh, Principal Investigator

Anita PDDr. Anita Patil-Deshmukh brings a wide variety of talents and expertise to PUKAR. A physician by profession, Anita received her Masters in Public Health from Harvard University and worked as a faculty Neonatologist at a teaching institution in Chicago for 20 years. During her tenure, she was also the Director of the Pediatric Residency program and Director of Continuous Medical Education for the Department of Pediatrics. She played a major leadership role within India Development Service (IDS), a pioneering organization in United States, which supported multiple, small-scale socio-economic development projects across India.

Anita’s main research interest has been to explore the relationship between poverty, social equity and health. Since joining PUKAR, Anita has launched three new projects: The Youth Fellowship Project (funded by Sir Ratan Tata Trust, India), Mythologies of Mumbai (funded by the Ford Foundation), PUKAR’s public health initiative (funded by the Rockefeller Foundation) andUrban Aspirations in Global Cities,in collaboration with Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) and Max Planck Institute (MPI).


Information for All – E-governance for All – Building Knowledge Bridge for Digital Divide

Kiran Sawant, Program Director

kiranWhile completing second  year of law degree, and working on the Mythologies of Mumbai-PUKAR project simultaneously,   Kiran found his  calling and he became the self taught expert of photography,  web design and mapping technology.  His media and technology skills led him to become the creator and webmaster of PUKAR as well as  technology expert for “Information for All- E-Governance for All- Building Knowledge Bridge for Digital Divide”  project in  which he coordinates with IIT-Bombay on the technical aspects of the project as well as works on mapping the different areas.


ShrutikaShitole, Program Facilitator

shrutikaWhile pursuing her degree in Marathi literature, Shrutika also became a PUKAR Youth Fellow,  completed a diploma in Marathi journalism at St. Xavier’s College and an advance level course of ISABS, thus giving her the edge to become a consultant.   Her doctoral studies on Marathi poetry and her research in public health issues has continued simultaneously. That  has led to her co-authoring six papers in international peer reviewed journals and presentation at many national and international conferences including Harvard University. She is the community relationship specialist for the “Information for All- E-Governance for All- Building Knowledge Bridge for Digital Divide”  project supported by Azim Premji Philanthropic Initiatives.


Mahesh Nanarkar, Admin Assistant and Data Entry Operator

mahesh-150x150Mahesh has extensive prior experience in data management, working for the LalBahadurShastri CAMSAR Merchant Navy Institute for the last four years. In addition, he has also managed data at Marine Engineering and Research Institute for the last six years. He was a Barefoot Researcher through the Youth Fellowship program, where he researched the decision-making power of girls. He joined Healthy Cities, Wealthy Cities, PUKAR’s public health project, in May 2010. He has been responsible for managing and organizing the large volume of biometric data produced through this project. He also facilitates data collection in the field and with the research coordinators.


Utkarsha Patil, Program Coordinator

IMG20170809154051Utkarsha has a degree in Software Engineering. While pursuing her degree, Utkarsha joined PUKAR as an E-Sevak in Bahadoli Village on the Research on Internet Access project. Her interest shifted to this work and she stayed on with PUKAR. Utkarsha also worked on the E-Sevak Initiative for Better Governance (ESIBG) as a data and office manager.

Utkarsha is currently working as a coordinator in Sakhare, Nagave and Pargaon Villages on the Information For All, E-Governance For All project.


Rahul Patil, Program Coordinator

rahul patilRahul has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and History, Certificate Course in Computer Hardware and Networking.

In 2014, Rahul joined the Research on Internet Access project as an E-Sevak in Bahadoli village to create awareness about e-governance. He managed the GPS Mapping on social issues for 40 villages in Palghar in 2016. He led the ESIBG project in Gowade village. Since March 2016, Rahul has been leading the Information For All, E-Governance For All project in Tamsai, Pochade and Netali villages as a project coordinator. His areas of expertise are management, planning and teaching.


Nitin Bhoire, Program Coordinator

nitin bhoirNitin has completed Higher Secondary Certificate. He joined PUKAR’s Research on Internet Access project in 2014 as an E-Sevak and after learning about the Internet and E-Governance, he took on the responsibility of spreading the knowledge in Dhuktan village. He led the E-Sevak Initiative For Better Governance project in Kokner village. Since 2016, Nitin has been working as coordinator on the Information For All, E-Governance For All project in Chahade and Vasare villages.


Rupesh Gaikwad, Program Coordinator

rupesh gaikwadRupesh has a Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature, Certificate Course in Travel and Tourism. He joined the Research on Internet Access project in 2014 as a field assistant. He led the E-Sevak Initiative For Better Governance project in Lalthane village. Since 2016, Rupesh has been working in the capacity of a coordinator on the Information For All, E-Governance For All project in Khadkoli, Vishrampur, Tandulvadi and Uchavli villages.


Nikhil Kandi, Program Coordinator

nikhil kandiNikhil has a Bachelor’s Degree in Internet Technology. He started out as a computer teacher at a school in Dahisar, where he taught for 5 years between 2012 and 2016. While pursuing his job as a teacher, he joined PUKAR in 2014 as a Project Assistant for the Research on Internet Access project in Khamloli Village. As a project coordinator on the Information For All, E-Governance For All project, Nikhil leads the work in 2 villages, with the aim of creating awareness amongst the villagers about e-governance, which ties in well with his experience and education in the field of computers.




Shweta Gaikwad,Office Administrator

shweta gaikwadShweta has a Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce with a specialisation in Accounting & Finance, VIVA College. She joined PUKAR as an E-Sevak on the Research on Internet Access project in Dhuktan village. She worked as a project administrator on the ESIBG project. Since 2016, Shweta has been working as an Office Administrator on the Information For All, E-Governance For All project.


Water Project

Tejal Shitole, Program Director

tejalTejal posseses a Bachelor of Science  from Mumbai University,  a degree in software engineering and a diploma in Public Health  from the Public Health Foundation of India with a focus on Women and Children.  After a pit stop in Indian Oil in software management she joined PUKAR as a youth fellow. In addition to coauthoring six papers in International journals, she presented her research on immunization and coding and mapping slum communities  at the National Institute of Health Summit, Washington DC  in 2012


Baliram Boomkar,Program Coordinator

Small framed with big aspirations and even bigger efforts to fulfill those aspiration, Bali epitomizes youthful verve, confidence and vitality!  Bali brings more than 7 years of ‘on the ground experience’ in community building and community based participatory action research. Having been a Barefoot Researchers in PUKAR’s critical projects like Biometrics, Cost of diarrhea, Mental health, Water and TB education in Kaula Bandar, his very own slum, Bali has expertise in interviews, surveys and adorns the mantel of community leader in Kaula Bandar and that of a Program Coordinator in Mandala. A graduate of commerce, Bali is on his way to completing his masters in accountancy.


Nizamuddin Shaikh, Program Coordinator

nizamNizam’s usually quiet and peaceful demeanor changes dramatically when facing the poor and marginalized; be it in his own Kaula Bandar (KB) slum or Surya Nagar slum in Vikroli.  Being the first generational learners, he has experienced the difficulties of learning new skills. But experience of PUKAR’s Mental health, TB, Diarrhea and Immunization projects has imparted  not just research skills but critical skills in communications and community building in Nizam.  Armed with those vital capabilities, Nizam becomes an embodiment of patience, compassion, tolerance, communicative assertion and positive energy  once he is on the grounds in Vikroli where  he is fully in charge of building the team of Barefoot Researchers. His Urdu mother tongue becomes an added asset in Surya Nagar.  After completing 12th grade Nizam had to give up his aspirations of further education but he keeps hoping that someday that dream too would be fulfilled.


Nilesh Kudupkar, Program Coordinator

nilesh 11Nilesh has a Master’s Degree in Oceanography from Mumbai University. He joined PUKAR as a youth fellow in 2012, while simultaneously working as a scientist’s assistant at CMFRI (Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute). He started working with PUKAR in 2016 as a project coordinator on one of the Healthy Cities Wealthy Cities project.  As the program coordinator on the SWASTH project, Nilesh and his team members are currently studying the health seeking behaviour of Mandala and Lallubhai community.


Journey Towards Dignity Project

Sheeba Khan, Project Facilitator

Sheeba PicSheeba has a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work. She has an experience of over 16 years working with different NGOs, focusing on groups of women and girls. She has also worked in the health sector. Her interests include conducting workshops on social issues for children, camps for community, counseling, networking with NGOs etc.


Suchita Mahadev Shetye, Project Facilitator

Suchita-picSuchita has a Master’s Degree in Social Work and a Degree in Journalism. She has 16 years of experience working as a facilitator and workshop trainer in the areas of reproductive health and education with adolescents and women in both, urban as well as rural settings. She enjoys organising and managing youth events and working with children.


Fellowship Team

Sunil Gangavane, Program Director

pic_sunilSunil has been working as a Program Facilitator with PUKAR after he completed his Masters Degree in Psychology from Mumbai University in 2010. Having been a Youth Fellows himself, he allows his own experience to feed into his current role which includes ideating, planning, designing and executing the program. To prepare himself well for these responsibilities, Sunil has completed international course in facilitation for gender, diversity and social transformation, a course in active citizenship and participatory communication. In addition, he is pursuing higer level training in the Indian Society for Applied Behavioural Sciences (ISABS). He has supervised around 30 original research studies, focusing largely on issues related to gender, sexuality and expression of identities; working with children of sex workers, rag-pickers, orphans, transgenders and victims of domestic violence. Sunil had developed a special skill in mentoring the most disadvantaged youth from all sectors.


Arvind Laxman Sakat, Program Facillitator

IMG_20170501_164846Arvind has a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics, Pune university and a Master’s Degree in Social Work with a specialisation in Urban, Rural and Community Development from CSRD-ISWR College, Ahmednagar.

Arvind has worked for more than 6 years with tribal communities, street children, HIV/AIDS patients and affected families, senior citizens, community youth etc., for organisations such as Vatsalya Foundation, Reach Out Trust, Committed Communities Development Trust, HelpAge India, and CASP Mumbai. He has participated in workshops on sexuality and adolescent counseling and been a part of the National Sanitation Campaign as well as the Soft Skill Development Program.