Dr. Mrs. Janak Palta McGilligan is a leading voice for women's empowerment and solar cooking through sustainable community development in India. She has devoted over 30 years of her life to studying issues related to rural and tribal women, a group that wields the least power in the social order of the country. She has created, sustained, and managed institutions that help these women become agents of social change.
Janak Palta McGilligan is a Padma Shree Awardee and Director the of Jimmy McGilligan Centre for Sustainable Development. The Jimmy McGilligan Centre for Sustainable Development has trained more than 40,000 students in sustainable development. Dr. McGilligan is also a Co-founder of Jaivik Setu and is the National Coordinator for the Solar Food Processing Network India.
She was the Director of the Barli Development Institute for Rural Women Indore from 1985 to 2011, which trained more than 6000 tribal girls and young women from 500 villages of India in solar cooking and food processing and installed 500 SK 14 solar cookers in Indian villages. In her lifetime spent mentoring tribal girls, Dr. McGilligan understood the impact of good training.
Dr. McGilligan is a Solar Cookers International (SCI) Global Advisor. She received the SCI Order of Excellence award in 2018 for her dedicated efforts on the 6th SCI World Conference 2017 organizing committee. Hundreds of people from around the world came together to share solar cooking knowledge. Dr. McGilligan joined the SCI United Nations advocacy team to advocate to government leaders at events such as the High Level Political Forum for environmentally friendly, clean, sustainable solutions including solar cooking.
Dr. McGilligan is a leading example of the impact one woman can have when one believes in a cause and takes action. Dr. McGilligan's innovations expanded to a solar tea stall. There are millions of tea stalls across India. Using clean, sustainable solar energy for power to make tea creates enterprise opportunities and reduces air pollution.