Ananda Galappatti

Ashoka Fellow
Sri Lanka,
Fellow Since 2011

Citation

This profile was prepared when Ananda Galappatti was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2011.
The New Idea
Ananda, a medical anthropologist, initiated The Good Practice Group (GPG) and an online Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Services (MHPSS) Network to incubate, harness and direct innovative practices and strategic interventions for the mental health and psychosocial support sector. His programs encourage civic engagement in order to promote empathetic and effective psychosocial services to survivors of war, natural disaster, and adversity in Sri Lanka and globally. Both GPG and MHPSS Network are based on the idea that collaboration and solidarity among ethical and creative individuals can significantly shape or influence social and institutional realities in ways that improve people’s lives.

Ananda’s approach works in the interstices between formal institutional structures, but also seeks to transform or shape them. At the heart of these processes is a reliance on teams of effective, ethical, and creative practitioners. The effectiveness of his approach lies not in what activity is being done, but rather in how and why it is being done. Ananda’s design of GPG sidesteps conventional project-focused approaches to development and humanitarian work. GPG deploys teams of volunteer MHPSS professionals to support government and not-for-profit support services in a range of areas, often through open-ended and unconventional cooperative arrangements with service providers and community stakeholders.

On the other hand, the online platform (www.mhpss.net) Ananda has played a central role in shaping engages formal and risk-averse institutional stakeholders (like UN agencies) in an effort to host a multiplicity of real and virtual networks of practitioners. MHPSS Network allows for connections between distinct “distributed” networks of practitioners wherever they see a strategic advantage in exchange or collaboration, whilst structurally safeguarding their diversity. The MHPSS Network, once well-established and populated, can be used as a tool to drive actions, innovation, and knowledge creation in the field locally and globally.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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