Nayreen Daruwalla

Nayreen Daruwalla

India India


Dr Nayreen Daruwalla has worked with poor urban communities to improve mental health, sexual and reproductive health and prevent gender-based violence for the last 25 years. With a
background in clinical psychology and a doctorate in social psychology, her expertise is in
conceptualizing model interventions for adaption and replication in low- and middle-income
countries. She developed and led the program of Prevention of Violence against Women and
Children at SNEHA (Society for Nutrition, Education and Health Action), a non-profit
organization working on public health issues in Mumbai. Particular focuses of the program
are mental health and gender-based violence, counselling interventions, community
mobilisation and changing the institutional response.

Under her leadership, 130 team members have managed eleven crisis intervention and
counselling centres, mobilization activities in eight large informal settlement areas of Mumbai,
outpatient counselling in three tertiary hospitals, a One Stop Centre and training for the
police. Her work led to the development of a primary prevention model with integrated
mental health interventions, a research-led curriculum for the police, a program on managing
sexuality with 11,000 adolescents and the globally innovative GARiMA web-based resource
on the mental health of survivors of violence.

Her interdisciplinary background and research have contributed to the discourse in South Asia
and more widely. Her work includes research partnerships with institutions such as University
College London, UNICEF, UNFPA, UNDP, CREA and EKJUT. She has managed projects on
adolescent sexuality and health, large cluster randomized controlled trials and large public
engagement projects involving art and science.

She has mobilized funding of INR 26 crores in the last ten years from funders including the
Wellcome Trust, Azim Premji Foundation, UNDP, UNFPA, USAID, Ford Foundation, UK NIHR
and MRC, Asia Foundation, and Manan Trust. Her more than 30 publications have appeared
in, among others, Social Science and Medicine, BMJ and Violence against Women. She is
often invited to speak at conferences, workshops and panels and on webinars and broadcast
media. Recent examples include a WHO 2022 expert meeting on strengthening violence
against women and disability measurement and BBC reporting of violence against women
during the Covid-19 pandemic. She is the recipient of the 2010 Real Woman of Honour Pearl
Wave award for affecting the lives of women, the 2012 Karamveer Puraskar Noble Laureate
award from ICONGO for work in the field of gender justice and the 2021 COVID Warrior
award from Mumbai District Legal Aid Authority Services for helping women and girls in

She would like to use her experience in both research and implementation to contribute to
strategy development for funding and policy around the challenges faced by women and
girls, particularly in terms of mental health, gender-based violence and community wellbeing.