Entire team serves the Centre purely on honorary basis.



Dr. (Mrs) Janak Palta McGilligan

Dr. (Mrs) Janak Palta McGilligan serves as a Director at the Centre. She is a prominent Social Worker, Social Scientist and committed to Sustainable Development.

She left her home, job and family in Chandigarh and   moved to Indore, as a   Baha’i pioneer ,on  June 1, 1985  in response to the call from National Spiritual Assembly of Baha’i’s of India  to  establish  Barli Development Institute For Rural Women( http://www.barli.org ). She served as a director of the Institute for about 26 years for empowerment of 6000 tribal and rural young women from 500 socially and economically deprived villages of   India to  become  social change agents for sustainable community development. She   was  able to do this work along with her dedicated husband Jimmy McGilligan who also left his home country  ,family and business as a UK Baha’i pioneer  and served a Manager of the Institute (1988-2011 ). For  both of them this Institute   was   home, place of work, centre of their  world, full of all concerns, worries, challenges , excitements and blissfulness !

  Before she retired, other than developing and running  the  Institute’s 100 residential training courses , she did lot of academic and research works for the Institute . Inspired by the guidance from the Baha’i World Centre, with the help of the staff, members of the Board of Directors, Subject Experts and many professionals and her hands-on leaning at Barli, she was able to visualize, develop and write 8 curriculum books of the Institute, out of which 7 are published and only “Learning to develop myself and my community” was yet to  be published.

She is the  Founder and Editor ‘Kokila (Nightingale) started in 1993 as a monthly newsletter of  Institute’ for neo-literates circulated to tribal and rural graduates among more than with 200 issues renamed Barli Ki Duniya and  circulated  among   500 communities and  it is also online.

She did her doctorate “Sustainable Community Development through Training of Tribal and Rural Women a   Human   Resources”  Devi Ahilya University Indore. 2004. This case study is also about the Institute.Last year she wrote a book The Barli Development Institute for Rural Women :Alternative Model of Women’s Empowerment in India was  published by George Ronald Publisher Ltd. Oxford , England and she receivedDistinguished Scholarship  Award from  Association for Bahá’í Studies-North America, in Montreal on August 10,2012

 Janak McGilligan considers her self as a learner and whatever she learnt there for 26 years ,she wanted to apply it in her own life after retirement .

She and her husband were looking forward to retire and move to “Giridarshan”, specially designed and built by Mr.McGilligan  as a live demonstration  of Sustainable Development at grassroots level in village Sanawadiya.

Unfortunately he passed away following a fatal road accident but his mission has been carried on by his wife Janak Palta McGilligan since June10,2011 after moving  to    Giridarshan.

Mrs. McGilligan continued efforts and dedication have naturally evolved this  place as a Centre of learning  for Sustainable Development .

She dedicates this website on 27 November to her beloved husband  on completing 25 years of her marriage with him!
“Jimmy! My Silent Hero in Social Service! My pioneering partner!”

C.V. of Dr. (Mrs.) Janak Palta McGilligan

Programme Assistants (Training)


Mrs. Nanda Chouhan

Mrs. Nanda Chouhan serves as Programme Assistant at the Centre .She is  a  young tribal lady from district Alirajpur, has  13 years of experience at Barli Development Institute for Rural Women ,trained by  its  Manager  Jimmy McGilligan  in  organic farming,  Solar food  processing,  using , assembling and  maintaining  various types of  Solar Cookers  specially  SK 14.  She has also been trained by Heike Hoedt, German Solar Engineer  of  ‘ Solare-Bruecke’ in manufacturing  Scheffler Reflector Solar Cooker  2.7 m² .

Nanda, a personal assistant to Janak Palta McGilligan, has been involved in building and  developing ‘Giridarshan’ for the last three years. She is very  dedicated, enthusiastic and well versed in training and demonstrating  working of  all the Sustainable Technologies  & organically grown and solar  food processed  products at the Centre.

Programme Assistant (Sustainable Technologies)


Mr. Rajendra Singh Chouhan

Mr Rajendra  Singh Chouhan  serving  as a Programme Assistant , has been involved in, repair, maintenance and development of all the Sustainable Technologies installed and operative at the Centre. He also takes care of organic farming , taking care of the cow, food production as well as preparing natural and herbal remedies for  treatment of soil, composting .

Mr Rajendra Singh Chouhan , a tribal young man from Alirajpur district , never studied for an engineering degree, but  with 13 years of  work  experience gained at Barli Development Institute for Rural Women. Having started as a unskilled  worker  but  gained lot of  knowledge and   acquired diverse technical skills in  organic gardening, farming, solar  and other appropriate technologies due to loving encouragement by his manager  Jimmy  McGilligan. While working with him on various projects in Jhabua, Dattigoan, Dhani and Indore, he also learnt making Solar Kitchens. He also learnt manufacturing of  2.7 m² Scheffler Reflector Solar Cooker from Heike Hoedt, German Solar Engineer  of  ‘ Solare-Bruecke’ .

For the last three years, he has been working as personal assistant to Janak Palta McGilligan and  has been a part of building and  developing  ‘Giridarshan’.

He is a very hardworking and technically well -informed. When anybody comes from outsides to see  the Centre, he feels very  proud to share all the technical information about all the technologies the Centre.  

Local Volunteers

Fortunately, the Centre has a good local community support .Two youths Sunil Chouhan a student of   class XII th  and Raveena studying in class IX th  teach the children  everyday for one hour.

A group of local youths is always there  for any Community service to Sanawadiya .



Dr. R. L. Sawhney

Advisor (Energy and Environment)

Department of Energy and Environment, T E R I University,
10 Institutional Area,Vasant Kunj, New Delhi-110070.
Tel. No.: +91-11-26122222, 26139-011/110
Mobile No.: +91-9811089107
Fax.     +91-11-2612874,
Email: rl.sawhney@teriuniversity.ac.in


Mr.Wolfgang Scheffler

Advisor (Research & Development Scheffler Solar Systems)

German physicist , the inventor , revolutionary designer & promoter of diverse types and sizes of Scheffler large solar cookers All over the world more than 2000 Scheffler dishes installed in large Community Kitchens in residential facilities of Bakeries, Schools, Colleges, Universities, Worshipping places

Web: www.solare-bruecke.org


MS. Heike Hoedt

Advisor (Manufacturing, Training & installing Scheffler Solar Thermal Devices)

“Since1996 Heike Hoedt,  board member of Solare Brücke a German NGO , has been developing and promoting technical know-how on Scheffler Reflectors, their applications, and other solar thermal devices, like box cookers and solar food dryers in Afghanistan , India and  many other countries .

Web: www.solare-bruecke.org

Beth Bowen Photo (3)

Dr. Beth Bowen

Advisor (Sustainable Development and Health)

Elizabeth L Bowen MD, International Society of Doctors for the Environment.She is actively involved in international initiatives. She has served as a public health physician, educator and development consultant in more than 60 countries and 30 islands, in Europe, the Middle East, the Pacific, Africa, Asia, and the Americas. Working in collaboration with the UN (United Nations), the WHO( World Health Organization), UN Women, UNICEF, the Gates Foundation, universities and the Baha’i International Community. Her Special Interests: Jungian psychology, public health, medicine, education and global development.


Er. Deepak Gadhia

Advisor (Solar Engineering,  Bio-gas Power Plants )

Trustee( Board member) Muni Seva Ashram ( www.greenashram.org)


Mr. Ajay Kumar

Advisor (Organic Farming and  Sustainable  Livelihood)

Consultant / Advisor on Agriculture , Livelihood Programs and on e-Governance projects 

M.Tech Electrical Egg (Indian Institute of  Technology (IIT), New Delhi) 1977

Email: ajaykumaragri@gmail.com

Mobile No.:  +91- 9926808850

Website: www.eajaykumar.com/ccv.htm/www.farmerswelfare.org


Dr. Chetan D. Parikh

Advisor ( Value Based Education and Development )

Pro.& Head of Academic Programmes,

Institute of Information & Communication Technology

B.Tech, IIT Bombay, 1985, Phd University of Florida Gainsville, USA 1992



Prof. Dr. Ajay Chandak

Advisor (Energy Audit & Renewable Energy)

Consultant & Trainer in Renewable Energy.

Ph.D. (Solar Concentrators), M.Tech. (Mech) IITB,

Certified Energy Auditor & Renewable Energy Consultant,

PRINCE (Promoters, Researchers & Innovators in New & Clean Energy), Suman Foundation,
Agra Road, Opp. Swagat Lodge, Deopur, DHULE: 424005 INDIA.
Ph. No.: 0091-2562-271995,
Mob No.: 0091-9823033344
Email: renewable.consultant@gmail.com
Web: www.princeindia.org


Dr Swarnjit Kaur

Advisor( Sustainable  Development for  Human Rights and  Duties)

Associate Professor & Coordinator

Centre for Human Rights and Duties, Panjab University,

Chandigarh 160014 INDIA

Email: swarnjit.k@gmail.com


Mrs. Abha Tiwari

Advisor (Science for Sustainable Development)

MSc Biotechnology DAVV Indore , Certification course, Clinical Research from Tulane University  

New Orleans , USA

Email – abhatiwari22@gmail.com


Mr. Gaurav Palta

Advisor (Financial Management)

Charted Accountant


Financial Planning and Analysis,

Finance, Tata Teleservices Limited Noida U.P. India

Email: Gaurav.Palta@tatadocomo.com