Local Field Analyst, Climate
Sanju has a Masters degree from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences with specialization in Climate Change and Sustainability Studies. He comes with 7+ years of experience in working with vulnerable communities, training youth leaders, mentoring climate start-ups, working in wetland conservation and research in the area of climate change. His core expertise areas are climate governance, vulnerability and adaptation in the wetland region, social entrepreneurship for protecting the environment, and sustainable development goals.
He started his career working in rainwater harvesting initiatives and facilitated installation of RWH systems in 80+ houses in Kerala, training the youth simultaneously. He went on to work with the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE) to create the first model wetland village in Kerala, in Muhamma panchayat, which is on the banks of the Vemaband-Kol, a Ramsar site.
He has constantly been acquiring skills needed to set up social enterprises in rural areas and providing these enterprises with knowledge and guidance. His efforts received due recognition and he was among the youngest to be selected for the Public Entrepreneurship Programme organised by the University of Monterrey, Mexico. Subsequently, he launched the largest upcycling effort in Kerala by training 150+ women from vulnerable regions in cloth upcycling, converting 30 tonnes of cloth waste into reusable products.
In 2018, he worked with UN-SDSN as a Global School Ambassador for training teachers on SDGs. He was one among 58 ambassadors chosen from across the globe. Along with other ambassadors, the project was able to achieve large-scale awareness building on SDGs. During this period, he also launched SUSTERA Foundation through which he curated the first Climate Leadership Program in Kerala to train young change-makers in climate action.
According to Sanju, “building capacities of local governments to deal with the impacts of climate change and creating strong youth leaders who can take up climate action, thus valuing ecosystem services and scaling up technologies that reduce the impacts of climate change is vital for a sustainable future.”