Who we are

IWMI SoLAR Project Implementation Team


Project Leader 

Dr Aditi Mukherji is the Regional Project Leader. She has over 20 years of experience and has worked in South Asia including Hindu Kush Himalayas, Central Asia and the Nile Basin in Africa. She is a Principal Researcher and leads IWMI’s Global Research Group on Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience. She holds a PhD from the University of Cambridge, UK.



Project Research

Country Representatives


Dr. Alok Sikka


         Dr. Mohsin Hafeez           


Dr Manohara Khadka

Country Leads
Dr. Deepak Varshney

Dr. Azeem Ali Shah  

Shisher Shrestha

Archisman Mitra 

Our Researchers

Dr. Marie-Charlotte Buisson     Dr Paul Pavelic Muhammad Zain Bin Akbar Gitta Shreshtha
        Mohammed Faiz Alam 
 Labisha Uprety
Smaranika Mahapatra  

Communications Team

Sunipa Das Gupta Aariz Raza

Administration and Finance

 Gurpreet Kaur Dhawan 


Dr. Alok Sikka supports the ground water component for India and Bangladesh, and is also the Country Lead for India. He is the Country Representative, India, at IWMI. He has more than 40 years of experience in varied water related fields. He has a PhD from Utah State University, USA.

Dr. Mohsin Hafeez is the Country Representative, Pakistan at IWMI. He has over 20 years of experience in hydrology and academia across Germany, Australia, UK, China and Pakistan. He holds a PhD in Engineering (Hydrology) from the University of Bonn, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany.

Dr Manohara Khadka is the overall lead for the Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI) component and brings over 2 decades of experience in varied portfolios across agriculture, water resources and climate change. At IWMI, she is the Nepal Country Representative. She has a PhD in Development Studies from the International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University, the Netherlands.

Dr. Deepak Varshney is the country lead for India. He joined IWMI Office in New Delhi effective 01 July 2022 as a Researcher – Impact Assessment. He is an Economist and has over 9 years of experience in academia and national and international research organizations. He holds a Ph.D. in Economics from Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi, India. At IWMI, Deepak will be responsible to provide implementation assistance and research support to the SDC-SoLAR project and will closely work with the Regional Project Leader, for ensuring rigorous evidence generation from large-scale producers and demonstration pilots in India and Nepal.

Dr. Azeem Ali Shah is the Country Lead for Pakistan. He is the Principal Researcher for Governance of Water Institutions at IWMI. He has more than 15 years of research and policy related experience in varied themes of water. He holds a PhD in Management Sciences from the Lahore University of Management Sciences, Pakistan.

Shisher Shrestha is the Country Lead for Nepal. He has over 7 years of hands-on experience in Nepal’s renewable energy sector with expertise in Solar Project Management. He is an Electronics Engineer and holds an M.Sc. degree focused on Renewable Energy from Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences in Germany.

Archisman Mitra is the Country Lead for Bangladesh. He is an economist and an experienced survey manager with an M.A in Economics from the New York University, USA.

Dr. Marie-Charlotte Buisson leads the impact assessment component in Bangladesh. She has more than 10 years’ research experience in Africa, South East Asia, and Central Asia. She obtained her PhD from the Central Extension Resources Development Institute (CERDI) in France.

Dr Paul Pavelic is a groundwater specialist with over 2 decades of research experience. He supports the ground water component for India and Bangladesh and holds a PhD in Groundwater Hydrology from the Flinders University of South Australia.

Muhammad Zain Bin Akbar plays a supportive role in a variety of components of the project in Pakistan. At IWMI he is Research Officer for Policy and Water Governance. He has almost 2 years of experience in coordinating research, assessments and evaluation studies for projects in Pakistan. He holds an M.Sc. in Economics from Heidelberg University in Germany.

Gitta Shreshtha is a Gender specialist, supporting the GESI component for the Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan. She has 14 years of research experience. She has an MPhil in Human Geography from University of Bergen, Norway.

Mohammed Faiz Alam is a groundwater specialist and supports the groundwater component in India and Bangladesh. He has 5 years of experience and holds a Master’s Degree in Environmental Engineering and Sustainable Infrastructure from KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden.

Labisha Uprety supports the GESI component. At IWMI, she is a Researcher for Policy and Water Governance. She has 5 years of experience in research and communications and holds a Master’s degree in Education Policy from Erasmus University, Netherlands.

Smaranika Mahapatra works as a Research Officer-Water Resources Management at IWMI Delhi. She holds a master’s degree in Land and Water Resources Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur (IIT-Kharagpur) and has more than 5 years of research experience. She supports the groundwater component under the SoLAR-SA project in Bangladesh.

Sunipa Das Gupta is a postgraduate in agricultural economics from Calcutta University with fifteen years of combined professional experience in Agri-Development research, research management, and developmental editing. Before joining us, she had spent a decade at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in research and program management capacities across India and Africa (Ghana), served on the editorial board of the Economic and Political Weekly (EPW), and as a fellow at the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER). Her professional interest is to leverage her diverse technical ability for effective research communication.    

Aariz Raza is a creative designer with three years of professional experience in designing the content of brands and businesses. A graduate of the University of Manchester, he has a firm grip on global visual conceptualization. Aariz had created content for the print and online editions of a UK-based art and culture magazine, aah-magazine.co.uk, and had worked with the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) to develop a sustainable design for the Pomona island in Manchester, UK. Designing aesthetically compelling content is his forte 

Gurpreet Kaur Dhawan  is a bachelor’s in Humanities from Delhi University and has more than nine years of experience in administration and finance. She worked as an Administrative Assistant with UNICEF, India, before joining us in April 2022 in place of Mansi Chopra. Under the supervision of IWMI-India’s Administrative and Finance Manager and the Country Representative, she provides administrative, financial, and logistical support to the SoLAR South Asia project. Gurpreet is based at our New Delhi office. 

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