Akhila Sivadas

Managing Trustee and Executive Director

As founder member of CFAR, she brings with her rich and varied experience as a researcher and communication expert on issues related to gender and development and its impact on the lives of marginal communities.

Under her stewardship CFAR has grown from a 4 member team to a full fledge team that is working on projects across various states on issues ranging from women and child rights to HIV/AIDS and the urban poor and other marginalized communities.

Over the last ten years, her major area of focus has been to empower communities most-at-risk of HIV. This was achieved on scale by collaborating with governments, state lead partners (SLPs) and community-based organizations (CBOs) to strengthen media support to all stakeholders and organizations across six high prevalence states on HIV prevention. Having achieved some success in strengthening media engagement with community-led HIV prevention, she is now spearheading, in collaboration with central and state governments, a five state intervention to facilitate the social inclusion of marginal communities such as sex workers, transgender people, women living with HIV and injecting drug users across all social development programs and schemes.

She has also been actively involved in a seven-city project to empower urban poor communities and improve access to basic services for marginal and at-risk communities living in highly vulnerable and underserved habitats. To achieve this she has been facilitating the formation of User Forums led by women and girls and by engaging with governments and municipalities in the three cities of Delhi, Kolkata and Jaipur to improve the community's access to sanitation services. 

She has also assisted national and regional institutions in preparing strategy documents on gender, child rights and reproductive health, planned and coordinated research studies on a host of issues including the impact of media violence on children; developed a “Framework for Media Engagement on Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in South Asia” and for addressing drug use and HIV prevention in the South Asian region. In 2009-10 she developed a Learning Site for programme leaders and implementers on HIV prevention in Bagalkot, Karnataka.

Building application value on many of these, she has been actively involved in capacitating women’s groups and grassroots organizations in areas such as strategic planning and communication, networking and constructive engagement with different stakeholders.