Dr Supriya Akerkar

LLB (Mumbai University), MA Development Studies (Institute of Social Studies, Hague), PhD (Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne)

Senior Lecturer Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR)


Supriya Akerkar has been working in the field of development and emergencies for the last 20 years. She has worked with social movements and civil society campaigns in India, namely those working to protect the rights of indigenous people, rural and urban poor, and women; and those advocating for food security,and transparency in governance. As a policy researcher on sustainable development issues, whilst working with the Centre for Science and Environment, New Delhi, India (1995 -1998), she has also lobbied at intergovernmental forums such as Rio+5 at New York, Conference of Parties for Desertification Convention, working closely with the INGOs involved in global south.

She has worked with the DFID India as the social development expert (1998-2000), and guided the policy and practice of DFID supported livelihoods/natural resource development projects to meet its social equity objectives. Between 2000-2007, Supriya has led the work of Action Aid International in different countries, on human rights and social equity issues. This work has included leading Action Aid India's Gujarat earthquake rehabilitation and communal violence healing work; Orissa development and emergency programme work; and mainstreaming women's rights in emergency interventions in India, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Somalia following the tsunami in 2004. She has also worked as the policy and advocacy leader for Action Aid International Ethiopia, focusing on issues of food security, just governance, education and women's rights.

Before joining the CENDEP in 2012, she was working as a researcher with the Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne ( 2007 - 2011) - on the EU supported FP6 project titled MICRODIS, evaluating social impacts of disasters in different country contexts; and in particular UK and India. Supriya has a under graduate degree in law, and a Masters in Development Studies from Institute of Social Studies, Hague. She also has a PhD from Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne following her PhD thesis titled: The production of rights in disasters in Uttar Pradesh, India: Implications for theory and Practice.

Dr Supriya Akerkar is currently working on a research project ADCAP (Age and Disability Capacity Project), funded by the UK Government and US AID whose purpose is to develop practices and methodologies that ensures that the needs of aged women and men and those with disabilities are met in emergencies. ADCAP is a consortium of seven international development organisations; Help Age international, IFRC, Handicap International, CBM, Disaster ready, RedR, and Oxford Brookes University.

Research interests

  • Human rights and disasters with a focus on marginalised groups such as migrants and urban poor, and gender as a cross-cutting issue
  • Post-disaster recovery and reconstruction work using comparative case studies or scenarios from different countries
  • Disaster and development linkages with policy and applied research perspectives

Publications, conference papers and presentations

Akerkar S, Joshi PC, Fordham M (2016) "Cultures of Entitlement and Social Protection: Evidence from Flood Prone Bahraich, Uttar Pradesh, India" World Development vol 86, pp. 46 - 58

Akerkar Supriya (2015): Development of normative framework for disaster relief: learning from colonial famine histories in India, Disasters 39(S2): S219−S243

Akerkar Supriya and Devavaram John (2014): Understanding rights based approach to disasters: A case for affirming human dignity; Hazards, Risks and Disasters in Society (ed) Collins Andrew et al; Elsevier publications, London

Leading resilient development: grassroots women's priorities, practices and innovations, (co-author) February 2011; published by Groots International and UNDP; see http://huairou.org/leading-resilient-development

"Local entitlements, reciprocity and disaster recovery"; paper presented at the MICRODIS conference organised at Hue, Vietnam 25-27th August 2010

Comment in Regional Development Dialogue, published by United Nations Centre for Regional Development (UNCRD)Vol 30 No 1, Spring 2009

Disaster Mitigation and furthering women's rights: Learning from the Tsunami; in Gender, Technology and Development; 2007; 11; see http://gtd.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/11/3/357

Rights, development and democracy: a perspective from India, in Reinventing Development: Translating Rights-Based Approaches from Theory into Practice, Ed Gready, Paul, Ensor Jonathan, 2005, ZED publications, UK and USA

Bolangir to Hyderabad and the politics of poverty (co-authored) et al published by Action Aid International, 2005

Gender and participation, 2001 publication by Bridge, Institute of Development Studies, Sussex, UK. see http://www.bridge.ids.ac.uk/reports/cep-part-rep.pdf

Research contributions to the Fifth Citizen's Report on the State of India's Environment, 1999 Centre for Science and Environment, New Delhi

"Feminist voices" in Journal Seminar, July 1997, New Delhi, Pg34-37

Women, ecology and development, in Women's Link, Volume 46, No3, published by Social Action Trust, New Delhi, 1997

"Theory and practice of women's movement in India : A discourse analysis", Working Paper Series No 193, Published by Institute of Social Studies , Hague, Netherlands, April 1995. The Paper is also published in Economic and Political Weekly, Vol XXX, No 17, Pg WS 2-WS-23, April 1995. This can be downloaded from publishing.eur.nl/ir/repub/asset/18894/wp193.pdf


School of Architecture

Oxford Brookes University
Headington Campus
Gipsy Lane
Oxford, OX3 0BP


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