India’s youngest sarpanch (village head) rocked the 11th Info-Poverty World Conference held on March 24th and 25th at the United Nations. No one expected a jeans-clad, striking, 30 year old woman to be introduced as the head of a village in India. But that’s Chhavi Rajawat, the sarpanch of Soda village, 60 kilometres from Jaipur, in backward Rajasthan and “the changing face of growing dynamic rural India.”
Not only is she the youngest person to become a village head, she’s also the only MBA. Rajawat quit her senior management position with Bharti-Tele Ventures of Airtel Group to take on the position of sarpanch.
Her speech on the role of civil society in fighting poverty and promoting development brought thunderous applause from the UN delegates. As she eloquently stated, “In three years I will transform my village. I don’t want money. I want people and organisations to adopt projects in my village as often projects fail owing to lack of a local connect and that is what I am here to provide by bridging that gap.”