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Ms. Simren Singh




1.Hi Simren! Welcome on board! Before we start, can you tell us about your background?


Absolutely! Before joining ICA-AP, I had close to four years of work experience in the development sector in India. After completing my Master’s in International Relations (IR), I joined the State Bank of India rural development fellowship. I worked with tribal women in Rajasthan (India) on creating options of supplementary source of income and strengthening their knowledge on menstrual health and hygiene. I did this by trying to form an informal collective of these women (whose husbands often migrate for work   left the women behind in the village) and girls who have dropped-out from schools.


I worked with a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) consulting firm (in Bengaluru, India). My role there was to help in conceptualizing CSR projects for some of the Fortune 500 companies, designing the monitoring and evaluation (M&E) frameworks for the projects, and also conducting impact assessments of the projects. During my stint there, I developed a first-hand understanding of M&E, adding to the theoretical understanding of research methodologies I had learnt in college. 


My last place of employment was again in Rajasthan with a renowned grassroots NGO - Seva Mandir. I used to work there as an M&E consultant. All the development or empowerment work that happens there is participatory in nature. So, developing M&E frameworks or undertaking periodic primary research for such activities was both interesting and stimulating.


2. That’s interesting, Simren. So how do you connect your background in International Relations to your work experience so far?


I started off by working in this sector so that I could better understand the dynamics in my own country. As a student of IR, I have been generally interested in understanding the work of international organizations for the development of people, which of course is integral to the larger scheme of affairs in IR. I like to reflect on the influence or impact of ‘big non-state actors’ or philanthropy on our lives.  Getting to know this sector from a multi-layered approach has been intriguing.


3. Great! What is your role going to be at ICA and how does working with co-operatives align with what you have done and want to do?


I have joined as a part of the ICA-EU project. I’m going to use my past experiences in M&E, research work and all other insights, exhaustively here! I’m very excited to work here as it gives me an unique opportunity to engage with co-operatives as a collective entity and not just individuals. I see co-operatives as an important actor with a positive history and promising future. Even though it is a new field for me, I see immense scope in the work done and how it can integrate with my skills and aspirations.