Associate Professor of Media Practice
Soma Wadhwa is an award-winning journalist and development studies academic, with a specialisation in impact evaluation methodologies. In particular, her work focuses on the linkages between gender, education, technology and empowerment. She is also Fellow and Qualitative Research Lead, India Development Foundation; and Visiting Faculty at Indian School of Public Policy, Indian School of Development Management and VV Giri National Institute of Labour.
Soma has previously been Deputy Editor, Open magazine; Editor, HT on Saturday (Hindustan Times); Deputy Editor, The Indian Express; Features Editor, Outlook; and Senior Features Writer, The Times of India. A Chevening Scholar, Soma worked at The Guardian in London as a Chevening Scholar and is a recipient of the Sanskriti Award for Journalism, Press Council of India Award for reportage on the state of education in India.
An expert in social impact evaluations, Soma’s work has included study projects for India’s central and state governments, the UK government’s DFID, The Netherlands government’s WOTRO, multilaterals such as UNICEF and UNDP, as also various national and international Civil Society Organisations, Foundations and Trusts. She collaborated with, and attended, the University of Wageningen for a two-year-long impact study of Dutch- government-funded development programmes in India.
Soma has been qualitative lead for several major impact evaluations of social intervention projects including: TARA Akshar+ supported by Development Alternatives and Ikea Foundation; ICT-based training for mid-day-meal cooks in government schools by UN World Food Programme; GOAL (Going Online As Leaders) -- intervention to create digital leaders among tribal women Digital Empowerment Foundation and Facebook; Musiri Digital Cluster Resource programme in by Digital Empowerment Foundation and Mphasis (Tamil Nadu); Disha (UNDP and Ikea Foundation); Odisha Girls Incentive Programme (with DFID-United Kingdom and Government of Odisha); Swaayam (with UNDP and Ikea Foundation); Unconditional Cash Transfer to farmer households in Indore district (with UNICEF and SEWA).
Soma has authored several peer-reviewed academic publications and over a dozen impact-evaluation project reports for governments and international development agencies. She was featured by Tara-Akshar as a project endorser in 2021 and her body of work on education has been cited in a major USAID public review in 2021 on the effect of education programs on violence, crime, and related outcomes
Soma studied Impact Evaluation Methodologies as MFS-II evaluation study scholar at the Centre for Development Innovation, Wageningen University & Research, The Netherlands, and Journalism as Chevening scholar at University of Westminster, London. She has an MA English Literature, St Stephen’s College, Delhi University and BA (Hons) English, St Stephen’s College, Delhi University.