Articles by Usha Rai

Usha Rai is a veteran journalist who is currently working as media and communication consultant. For the last three/four years she has been travelling and reporting as well as documenting the work of the Aga Khan Foundation in UP, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh; the work of the Rajiv Gandhi Mahila Vikas Pariyojana in several districts of UP; for Engender Health on adolescents and RKSK (Rashtriya Kishor Swasthiya Karyakram in Bihar; for CHETNA, Ahmedabad on tackling malnutrition and adolescent issues. She is also a consultant for Limca Book of Records and handles two chapters on Development and the Natural World. She also freelances and contributes to the Hindu Businessline, The Asian Age, the Hindu, The Sunday Guardian and the Tribune. Beginning her career as a journalist, she has worked for mainline newspapers, Times of India, Indian Express and Hindustan Times, for over 40 years and was a pioneer in reporting on women’s issues, health, environment and development. She was among the first to bring out a development page in the Indian Express for five years—1992 to 1996. For the Times of India and the Indian Express she has covered several international conferences like the Earth Summit at Rio, The World Conference on Population and Development, Cairo, and The International Development Conference, Copenhagen. For the Centre for Science and Environment she visited Ralegaon Siddhi as a member of the Media Task Force for the report ‘People vs Corruption’ on the Anna Hazare movement in its initial years. For four years as the deputy director of the Press Institute of India, with the support of UNFPA and Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, she ran a project on population and reproductive health which included bringing out a newsletter in English and Hindi on reproductive health issues and holding workshops for the media. For the National Commission for Women and the Press Institute of India she brought out the first report on the Status of Women Journalists in the Print Media in India in 2004. She has conducted two workshops for journalists on Millennium Development Goals and Women’s Rights in the context of Human Rights in Hyderabad and Udaipur in partnership with DFID and British High Commission. As a communication expert, along with two colleagues organised the media facilitation and coverage of the fourth Asia Pacific Conference on Reproductive and Sexual Health Rights in 2007 in Hyderabad. For the first five years after the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights was set up in 2003, she and her team brought out their newsletters, documented their work and facilitated the NCPCR’s media relations. For the UNDP and Population Foundation, brought out a manual for journalists, called ‘Journalists as Catalysts, A Media Manual on HIV & AIDS Reporting’ and then helped the Press Council of India to change its guideline on HIV & AIDS reporting. For UNIFEM and UN Women, she has done three studies on widows – two on the widows of Vrindavan (their status and extent of deprivation) and one on programmes and policies for widows in India, Nepal and Sri Lanka. For Plan India did a series of articles, documented in a book called Stories of Change on innovative ways in which problems of child sex ratio was being tackled in five States of the country. For ActionAid India documented ‘Critical Stories of Change’ based on their eight to 10 years of work with local NGOs in Odisha, Punjab and Maharashtra. Awards: Chameli Devi award for outstanding women journalists; FAO/Science Writers Award for article on forest right and tribals; Media India award for series of articles on school education in Delhi published in Times of India. Also received the Stree Shakti lifetime achievement award as a woman journalist. Books: Text for Coffee Table books on The Taj Mahal; Vijayanagaram Empire (Hampi) and Khajuraho by Raghu Rai. Other books: The Wonderful World of Wall Paintings; Man Mettle and Steel for Steel Authority of India and A Fragrant Journey of 50 years on the life of Rasik Lal Hemani in the world of perfumes.