Sharad Rai: new Prolinnova–Asia Regional Coordinator

Sharad Rai is not a stranger to Prolinnova. He joined Prolinnova–Nepal in 2005 representing Practical Action and was an active member of the National Working Group (NWG). Sharad was involved in identifying and documenting farmer innovation and supporting farmer-led joint research in Nepal.

During his time in the NWG, he developed guidelines for Participatory Innovation Development in Nepal, which was awarded a prize as the Knowledge contest winner for Best Knowledge Product by Practical Action Headquarters in the UK in 2007. Sharad played a key role as part of the Prolinnova Nepal’s organising team of two key events in Kathmandu in 2007: the first national-level Farmer Innovation Fair and the Asia-Pacific Innovation Symposium.

His contact with Prolinnova was diminished when he left Practical Action and went on to work with Mercy Corps as a Manager and later with IFDC as a consultant in Nepal. Recently, having established himself as a freelance consultant, Sharad has renewed his contact with Prolinnova–Nepal and was actively involved in the virtual Global Farmer Innovation Fair in February 2021. He also volunteered to take up the role of Regional Coordinator of Prolinnova activities in Asia.

Sharad has more than 15 years’ experience in market systems/ value-chain development. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering and a Master’s Degree in Human & Natural Resource Studies with a thesis titled Enquiry into local innovations among small-scale farmers, supported by Prolinnova–Nepal. His current interest lies in supporting local innovators through a joint- or multi-stakeholder-led market development and social entrepreneurship approach.