Dhanya Vijayan is a trained Geographer from the Centre for Earth Science Studies in India and now already the third consecutive Green Talent to receive the prestigious ‘German Chancellor Fellowship for Young Leaders’ from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.
To gain this award Dhanya proposed to work on ‘Public participation in multi-level water governance in Kerala, India and Germany – A comparative perspective’. The project will analyse the possible and actual modes of participation of different actors (such as various governmental organisations on different administrative levels, NGOs and civil society) in the management and governance of water-related resources and dynamics and related decision making processes. Her project will also analyse the roles and responsibilities of different institutions in tackling selected water issues, such as floods, droughts, drinking water supply, water quality, and water sharing. The research design proposed to combine a limited number of case studies from Kerala, India with a similar number of case studies from Germany. The main aim is to understand the ways to improve participation in water resource management as well as to learn about the process, following which Germany was able to overcome water related issues, faced by the country a couple of decades back and arrive at present situation. This lesson will be useful for both Kerala and Germany, to improve the sustainable water resource management as well as to efficiently incorporate participation of various stakeholders in the process.
Dhanya will be hosted by Prof. Dr. Michael Flitner at the Sustainability Research Center (artec), University of Bremen, where she had conducted her three months green talents research stay. The research proposal for the German Chancellor Fellowship has been developed during this research stay. During her research stay she has moreover been working on the role of decentralisation in intensification of micro-watersheds as a planning unit in Kerala. She also did a working paper with collaboration from Artec researchers titled 'Towards decentralised watershed management in Kerala, India: Micro-watersheds as new political scales of management'. This work has motivated her to explore on water governance policies in Germany.
Dhanya Vijayan also owns the ‘Young Geographers Award’ from the National Association of Geographers, India, 2011.