grantees » Pramod Pokharkar

Pramod  Pokharkar, India

Pramod is an Indian environmental specialist with an unwavering dedication to supporting the harmony of nature and its people. He has a wealth of experience spanning biodiversity conservation, environmental education, geoinformatics and community empowerement. Today, Pramod is a Project Coordinator for Gomukh Environmental Trust for Sustainable Development in Pune, an NGO which fosters and supports rural development through Integrated Watershed Management. Combined with his unwavering commitment, Pramod’s grasp of tribal languages enables him to be a leader to mobilize forest and mountain dwelling tribal youth towards more sustainable livelihoods.

Using the JWH initiative grant, Pramod conducted various field visits, both nationally and internationally, which allowed him to cultivate his cross-cultural experiences as well as “investigate different approaches to and problems within the ever-growing tourism industry”.  Visiting EQUATIONS, an organization researching, training and promoting holistic tourism “was an experience that helped me to understand the inherently exploitative nature of mass commerical tourism”.  Pramod gained a deeper understanding of the socio-economic importance of gender equality, particularly in the coastal tourist developments which are squashing traditional fishing villages. He also visited the famous Amte couple, who run a barefoot hospital free of charge in the middle of the forest, where he was inspired by the sheer selflessness of the care providers. Pramod also visited the Masai Mara National Park to learn about the relationship between the patriarchical pastoralists and tourism. He says:  “The trip was an unforgettable experience right from the start. The whole trip was a good example of how a successful eco –tourism program can be carried out with the participation of the local people […] It has given me the unique opportunity to understand several conflict issues and adaptation of coping mechanisms of the community.” Not only did Pramod learn a great many different practices from his various visits, he has also “been able to comprehend the best conservation-related practices that can be adopted in Maharashtra,” his native land. Pramod returned a changed man: “This project has not only enhanced my skills as a leader, but has also opened my mind to many other spheres, such as the selfless work done by the people”.