Meet the QoC-CANSA fellows

Meet the QoC-CANSA fellows

Six Fellows were selected, from hundreds of applications received from India, Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh, to research and report on various aspects of cities and Climate Change. Their work
will be featured over the next six months in Question of Cities as they focus on themes ranging
from housing challenges, demolitions, and informal settlements to inequality and water inequity, and the impact of heat and floods on people in cities across the four countries.

Hrushikesh Patil and Sejal Patel

Proposal: Unveiling the link – House demolitions and heightened vulnerability to heatwaves

New Delhi, India

Themes: Housing, inequality

Hrushikesh Patil is a Maharashtra-based independent journalist and environmental lawyer working with the Goa Foundation. His focus is on the impact of Climate Change-induced disasters on vulnerable communities. A member of the environmental communications and advocacy collective ‘Let India Breathe,’ Patil received the 12th Laadli Media & Advertising Awards for Gender Sensitivity besides other awards and fellowships.

Sejal Patel, an independent journalist and filmmaker based in New Delhi, keeps a strong research focus on rural communities and data journalism, as well as the application of artificial intelligence (AI) to the fields. Patel holds a postgraduate degree in Convergent Journalism from AJ Kidwai Mass Communication Research Centre, Jamia Millia Islamia. Through her work, she aims to challenge established norms, foster social justice, and instigate transformative change.


Kushal Pokharel and Chhatra Karki

Kathmandu, Nepal

Themes: Informal settlements, water inequity, urbanising mid-hill towns

Proposal: Growing vulnerabilities of Nepal’s informal settlements, rapidly urbanising towns and mid-hill towns.

Pokharel is an independent researcher and science communicator based in Kathmandu, Nepal. His writings have appeared in leading national and international media outlets, including research journals. His research interests span natural resource management, water security, Climate Change and development with a focus on public policy and governance. He also serves as a faculty of research methods and skills.

Karki, a science journalist based in Kathmandu, Nepal, has rich experience in newspaper and online news portals. In recognition of his exceptional work, he was honored with the Science and Technology Journalism Award from the Nepal Academy of Science and Technology in 2021. Chhatra’s expertise spans across topics, including environment, Climate Change, science, health, and current affairs.


Sadiqur Rahman

Dhaka, Bangladesh

Themes: Planning response to Climate Change, housing and urban poor, Right to the City and health

Proposal: How to plan for urban-centric economy allowing migration of people to cities, housing and health of the urban poor across Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka, neighbouring Gazipur and Narayanganj.

Sadiqur Rahman, postgraduate from the University of Dhaka, is currently employed as a journalist at The Business Standard. His 10-plus-year career in journalism includes wide reporting on Climate Change, biodiversity conservation, local business, and livelihood-related issues. 

He is a member of the Thomson Reuters Foundation Alumni Club, Bangladesh. He won two anti-corruption media awards in 2014.


Zofeen Ebrahim

Karachi, Pakistan

Themes: Evictions and housing, flood mitigation, Climate challenges for Karachi

Proposal: Evictions and demolitions on the pretext of clearing up stormwater drains to reduce urban flooding, how Karachi should brace for the impact of Climate Change.

Zofeen T. Ebrahim is an independent journalist who has written extensively on development issues including Climate Change, urban infrastructure, water, energy, gender, and how these impact people’s lives.

She contributes regularly to the English daily, Dawn, as well as to international publications including the Inter Press Service, The Guardian, The Third Pole, Thomson Reuters Foundation, and the Index on Censorship.


Barasha Das and Harish Borah

Guwahati, India

Themes: Urban planning, urban floods and urban forests

Proposal: Manifestation of Climate Change in cities and its mitigation with focus on the north-eastern state of Assam

Barasha Das is an independent journalist based in Guwahati, Assam. She reports on the environment and Climate Change, and policies to combat climate disasters. Apart from having extensively reported on urban issues, she tells stories of people and places, their issues, history, and culture. She is also associated as a Research Writer with OnePointFive Tribe, a platform working for a net-zero carbon future.

Harish Borah, subject expert in cost-carbon studies in the building industry, is the Principal ‘Carbon’ expert for ADW Developments (UK) and Founder of OnePointFive Tribe. His work is spread across the United Kingdom-European Union, the Middle East, and India. He went to Antarctica with the 2041 ClimateForce Antarctica Expedition and was named among India’s top 25 leading minds in sustainability by The Economic Times.


Arshiya Syed

Hyderabad, India

Themes: Climate mitigation, sustainable development, urban poor

Proposal: Assessing the role of local planning and policies in mitigating Climate Change impact in Hyderabad, lives of urban poor.

Arshiya Syed is the founder of an architecture and urban design firm, Studio Maqam, in Hyderabad. A graduate of the School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi, she is an Urban Fellow at the Indian Institute of Human Settlements (IIHS) in Bengaluru. Syed is also a Visiting Faculty conducting urban design and housing studio in architecture schools.


It gives us great pleasure to announce the selection of QoC-CANSA Fellows whose proposals made the final cut. 

Hearty congratulations to:

1.Arshiya Syed, Hyderabad (India)
2.Barasha Das and Harish Borah, Guwahati (India)
3.Hrushikesh Patil and Sejal Patel, New Delhi (India)
4.Kushal Pokharel, Kathmandu (Nepal)
5.Sadiqur Rahman, Dhaka (Bangladesh)
6.Zofeen Ebrahim, Karachi (Pakistan)
Welcome on board, we are excited to work closely with you over the next few months on issues of Climate Change in your cities to generate stories and research work which can draw attention and influence policy.
QoC-CANSA had an overwhelming response to the Fellowship call with many excellent proposals from all the four countries in South Asia, making it challenging for our esteemed jury, comprising environmentalists and media persons, to arrive at the most fabulous and fitting four. We decided to expand the canvas to select six Fellows instead of four as mentioned in the call.

Thank you to all those who responded to the call. We hope to be able to work with many of you in different ways in the future.

The breadth and depth of ideas in the large volume of applications we received over the last six weeks convince us that there is thought and commitment on issues of Climate Change and cities – from flooding and heat waves to changes in sea levels, urban inequality, and amenities such as housing and health – from young and experienced people in ecology, media and academia.

On behalf of QoC and CANSA, we extend our warmest congratulations to the Fellows once again.

Best wishes,

Smruti Koppikar                          Sanjay Vashist                            
Founder Editor, QoC                    Director, CANSA
Fellowship Criteria & Details

Details Here