Neeta Hardikar is a founding member of ANANDI (Area Networking and Development Initiatives); an organization formed in 1995 with the mandate for strengthening rural women’s leadership and collectives and mainstreaming gender concerns in development.
As member of the ANANDI Technical Support Unit (ATSU) she currently mentors ANANDI’s multi-dimensional tribal area program team that focuses on health, legal rights and local self governance. She also anchors gender transformative processes with UN Women and NRLM in Madhya Pradesh and rural livelihoods programme in Bihar.
Neeta obtained her Masters Degree in Social Work from M. S. University, Baroda, in 1990. In the early nineties, she was a part of Mahila Samakhya, a bilateral program of the Department of Education, Government of India, focused on improving adult literacy among rural women. Neeta followed this with a year-long association with Jan Vikas, Ahemadabad, to apply participatory and feminist training methodologies in building leadership among women and youth for a gender-just society.
Over the course of a series of disasters that hit Gujarat state in the last decade - drought, earthquake, communal violence and floods – Neeta, and ANANDI more generally, have demonstrated the value of the empowerment approach through the key role of women in relief, rehabilitation and development. ANANDI has provided leadership in developing and disseminating tools, mechanisms, and strategies for lateral networking amongst women aimed at challenging the system