Meena Palaniappan is director of the International Water and Communities Initiative. Formerly the director of the Community Strategies for Sustainability and Justice Program at the Pacific Institute, Ms. Palaniappan is an engineer with more than 15 years experience in community-based environmental planning and research. She has worked extensively on water, sanitation, and hygiene issues internationally including in Mexico, East and West Africa, and India. In India, she has worked with numerous community-based organizations on water pollution, basic water needs, and water and climate change. Ms. Palaniappan has directed several international water and sanitation projects, including documenting successful water management worldwide. She is currently leading projects on expanding the ability of communities to choose water and sanitation technologies and approaches, and improving the resilience of communities to water insecurity as a result of climate change.
At the Pacific Institute, she has directed numerous community-based participatory research projects, including the Environmental Indicators Project which successfully developed neighborhood-level criteria for assessing a community’s environmental conditions and helped community groups use this information to create positive environmental change. Before coming to the Pacific Institute, Ms. Palaniappan worked with the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) on sustainable community development, pollution prevention, and environmental justice, co-authoring the EDF’s Environmental Sustainability Kit. Previously, she also developed an Action Plan for Clean Waterways Chennai, India that was endorsed by the Tamil Nadu Government in partnership with public interest organizations.
Ms. Palaniappan received a master of science in Energy and Resources from the University of California, Berkeley. She also holds an undergraduate degree in Environmental Engineering from Northwestern University.