Mona recounts experiences of studying MSc Environment and Sustainable Development at the Development Planning Unit
I am an Architect and Development Planner with over 10 years of experience in the field of Human Settlements with expertise in strategic planning, management of medium to large scale projects, monitoring & evaluation, participatory research, policy analysis, moderation of multi-stakeholder meetings, knowledge networking, and writing and documentation.
Since completing the Environment and Sustainable Development (ESD) masters course in 1999 I have had a variety of roles.
Starting in 1999, I became a Consultant to Oxford City Council, Leisure Services, UK to provide recommendations on the ‘Future of Allotments and Integration in Oxford’s Agenda 21 commitments’. Then in 2000, I worked as a Research Associate for the DFID-funded project on ‘Strategic Guidelines for the Peri-urban Interface’. I was part of the team working on this project, and was specifically involved in developing the communication strategy for the project and monitoring its implementation on the ground in India.
In 2001 until 2003 my role changed to be responsible for the design and monitoring of settlement level infrastructure micro-projects in the four slum settlements participating in the project. Specifically, I was responsible for identification and documentation of good practices while also implementing Action Oriented Learning in the communities targeted by the project.
During 2003, I conducted an evaluation of the Primary Education Program in the 10 districts of Uttaranchal state covering 608 schools and 280 Block level Resource Centres along with other physical infrastructure components with a financial outlay of INR 17.7 million.
Between 2003 and 2007, I worked for Development Alternatives in New Delhi as their Program Manager of Habitat and Livelihoods. Here I conducted feasibility studies, conceptualization and program development, partner engagement, and management of civil contracts of small and medium scale civil contracts. Alongside this, I was a Network Manager for South Asia Regional Knowledge Platform on Sustainable Habitat and Livelihoods. I led a nationwide consultative process for providing inputs to the Union Ministry for Rural Development, Government of India, for the proposed National Rural Habitat Policy.
From Sept 2007 to date I have been working as a freelance consultant. Recent assignments include: (1) Evaluation of Post-tsunami rehabilitation programmes in Tamil Nadu funded by Architecture and Development, France, (2) Study on ‘Energy Efficiency in Post –tsunami reconstruction of houses in rural Tamil Nadu for Architecture and Development India / UNDP, and (3) Documentation of ‘Tsunami - Lessons in Habitat Development’: a compilation of good practices in post-tsunami Reconstruction in India for Development Alternatives / UNDP.
I have coordinated the South Asia Regional Conference on Owner Driven Reconstruction in India in October 2008, and I am currently part of a team developing habitat reconstruction guidelines for flood affected.