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Strengthening Community Institutions for Sustainable Livelihoods

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Understanding the unparalleled service offered by pollinators in Nature


K
eystone has been working in the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve (NBR) over the last 21 years (since 1993) with indigenous communities on eco-development initiatives. During the last couple of years, seven thematic areas have taken form, derived from the original idea of a holistic approach to the issues of livelihoods, conservation & enterprise. These areLivelihoodConservationOrganic Market DevelopmentCulture & PeopleEnvironmental GovernanceTraining & Information and Finance & Administration.


Videos
 

Inauguration of Pattarai

Our newly constructed Pattarai is a training and creating centre which has three major sections – Carpentry, Metal & Masonry and electrical-electronic-plumbing section.  Pattarai is a traditional Tamil word meaning artisan’s working place (carpentry, blacksmith, bamboo craft, pottery etc). The building was inaugurated on the 15th of June. The construction of the Pattarai is supported and funded by the Jamnalal Bajaj Foundation because Keystone won the award for outstanding contribution in the field of Science and Technology for Rural Development. The carpentry unit is equipped with a multi functioning wood work machine which has numerous functions like planning, grueing, cutting, grinding, drilling, battering and sizing.  This unit will work on production and training of making bee hives, wooden packing items, designing various displays etc. The metal work section is to handle honey equipment, driers, filters, pre- fabricated alternative construction items and water harvest-purification-storage systems. The electrical and electronic section is to train and work on assembling of solar light & energy equipment, repairing of water pumping and solar-electric fencing equipment for crop protection. Gallery | Related Story – Jamnalal Bajaj Award – 2013 Introductory Electrical plumbing training A three days introductory electrical and three days plumbing training was conducted to tribal youth from June first to the sixth. Eight Irula tribal youth from Sigur region participated effectively. The introductory electrical training curriculum included – one and three phase house wiring, fixing consumer meter board,  light points, 5-15 amp sockets, one way – two way controls, earthing, fixing water heater installation and problem solving. During the plumbing training, demonstration on cold & hot water lining, solar cum electrical water heaters, pump set mechanism and erection was conducted. The stay and food was arranged during the training and Rs.100 per day was supported as stipend. Some of the participants have expressed interest to undergo a three months complete training in the future.        

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Ecological Sustainability for Non-timber Forest Products

Ecological Sustainability for Non-timber Forest Products Dynamics and Case Studies of Harvesting There is growing knowledge about and appreciation of the importance of Non-timber Forest Products (NTFPs) to rural livelihoods in developing countries, and to a lesser extent, developed countries. However, there is also an assumption on the part of policy-makers that any harvesting of wild animal or plant products from the forests and other natural and modified ecosystems must be detrimental to the long-term viability of target populations and species. This book challenges this idea and shows that while examples of such negative impacts certainly exist, there are also many examples of sustainable harvesting systems for NTFPs. The chapters review and present coherent and scientifically sound information and case studies on the ecologically sustainable use of NTFPs. They also outline a general interdisciplinary approach for assessing the sustainability of NTFP harvesting systems at different scales. A wide range of case studies is included from Africa, Asia and South America, using plant and animal products for food, crafts, textiles, medicines and cosmetics. More Details & Purchase Text from Routledge Taylor & Francis Group    

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3rd Springs Initiative Partners Meet, Bhimtal – 2015

The Springs initiative is a network of organisations working on revival and conservation of Springs by understanding the geo-hydrology and looking at Springs as ground water. The initiative is supported by Arghyam and Technical support by ACWADAM. Training of Trainers The first four days of the meet was to disseminate or share the knowledge vested with each partner to the other partners. The four day programme had various sessions facilitated by various organisations. ACWADAM– Himanshu and Kausthubh trained the participants on Geology and understanding the various rock types and their structures. Keystone Foundation and Grampari (Representing Western Ghats) – Gokul, Selvi and Jared Presented about the Importance of looking at the Spring and the ecosystem around the Springs and its catchment. Selvi presented the case study from Keystone about the ecological restoration done in the Happy valley Spring Shed. Vishaka Jilla Nava Nirmana Samithi (Representing Eastern Ghats) – Siva and Rao presented their work on gravity fed water supply system (GFWSS) and slow sand filters in the Eastern Ghats. People Science Institute – Ankit presented about the various quality parameters and their affects on human health. Himalaya Seva Sangh (Himalayan Range) – Manoj spoke about the Himalayan springs and the pressure and exploitation due to various factors affecting the ground water. CHIRAG – Chirag hosted the event and also shared their knowledge on Springs. Transerve Technology – ODK App for Springs data collection. India Water Portal and Hindi Water portal – The 2 media partners documented the whole event and made a few movies on the field. Field Day The first day in the field, we spent time in one of the working areas of CHIRAG where we were divided into groups to put theory into practice. The groups mapped the geology, rock types, dip direction, slope aspect and spring type. We were also able to talk to the villagers in Kulgaud. The women were explaining the rock types and the importance to understand the geology of the area before doing interventions. They also explained about how the community took efforts to convince the neighbourhood village for doing recharge interventions as the recharge area of Kulgaud spring was in the village upstream and on the other flank of the valley. The spring type was identified by the participants and data was collected on springs, discharge and quality. The Application was tried in the field and feedbacks for development were given. The Fourth Day ended with an Advocacy Workshop with the Uttarakhand government. The Meghalaya and Sikkim Government attended the workshop and spoke about the springs in Sikkim and Meghalaya and the importance of springs conservation with a scientific approach. After the Training of Trainers, the partners met to discuss about the plans by each partners for the next quarter. Keystone Foundation presented the vision statement for the Springs Initiative. It will go through a few changes as suggested by the partners. Keystone will also be doing a research on “The Economic of Supplying Drinking Water to Off-grid Habitations”. Keystone also committed to take up the Research on water and sanitation by roping in other partners from the network. A group from the TOT will go to Meghalaya by the end of July or the beginning of August to train the Meghalaya government on various specialised aspects. The 4th Springs partners meet was proposed to be held at Keystone Foundation. Gallery

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Training of Range officers from TNFA

Keystone model of eco-development- a topic of hot discussion with Range Officer Trainees of Tamil Nadu Forest Academy. On May 20th 2015 Keystone Foundation was invited to give a guest lecture cum practical exposure to eco-development by the Tamil Nadu Forest Department at he Hasanur Keystone Resource Center at Sathyamangalam. Robert Leo welcomed the group of 40 trainees and their senior co-ordinator Shri Chandrasekaran. After which Anita Varghese gave a 15 minute talk on eco development followed by the screening of a short clip from the honey hunting film. This was followed by a barrage of questions from the trainees which was responded to by Leo, Anita and Sumin. Some of the questions were on the issues of sustainable management of forest resources, importantly on what criteria can we make these decisions. There was an interest to know about each one of Keystone’s activities and the functioning of an NGO. This was the first visit to an NGO for the trainees and they were a very keen and observant batch. Following the interaction they were taken around to see the production center by Moorthy Sir, Rangasamy, Rajamma, Chitra and other production staff of Aadhimalai Producer company. The products on display were a huge attraction for the trainees as were the value addition machinery and processes. We are certain that the visit has had an impact on the batch and they will remember how forests, indigenous people, traditional knowledge and value addition are interlinked for eco development activities.

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Nilgiri Field Learning Centre, 2015

A collaboration between Keystone Foundation, Kotagiri and Cornell University, Ithaca, USA. 12 students graduated from NFLC yesterday from Cornell, USA along with five from Adivasi communities of Irula and Kurumba in Nilgiris. Collector P. Shankar, IAS gave the certificates to the first batch and heard presentations from students on: Infant feeding, exploring Kurumba health perspectives, dietary diversity, forest rights act and waste and water. NFLC is a 15 weeks spring semester course where Cornell and Indigenous students undertake an unique journey of transformative education through practice, classes, field visits. Designed to create in a multi-cultural setting: international, national approaches, interactions create possibilities of fresh, new insights and local, global perspectives. Gallery

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Neighborhood Trees Campaign 2015, Saravanmalai

As a part of the Earth Day Celebration and Neighborhood Trees Campaign (Organised by India Biodiversity Portal), NNHS & Keystone Foundation organised a shola trail led by Shiny Rehel on 19 April 2015. The trail started at Attadi Junction and went upto saravanamalai formerly known as Tenerife. 13 enthusiastic participants walked through tea estates, plantations and shola forest. Acacia, Casuarina, Cupress and Pine were the trees commonly observed in plantations. This was a trail where the plantation was more dominant than the shola forest; but shola trees were seen in a small patch and along the plantation. The shola trees observed were  Gardneria ovata, Vaccinium leschenaultii seen along the border, Litsea spp., Schefflera capitata, Ternstroemia japonica, Turpinia cochinchinensis, Rhododendron arboreum subsp. nilagiricum and  Litsea spp. Gallery

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FREE/DEM Initiative Project

Radio Kotagiri has got the project on FREE/DEM initiative from Indeosync Media Combine based in Delhi. The project is about democracy, local governance, transparency, accountability and Right to Information Act. The FREE/DEM institute gives an opportunity to think about some of the issues about democracy and reflect on how community radio could engage with these subjects with local people. Community Radio will work on mentioned topics with first time voters in schools and colleges in Kotagiri about different topics. Radio jockeys from Radio Kotagiri 90.4 FM have attended regional FREE/DEM trainings in Hyderabad and Haryana organized by Ideosync Media Combine. Through this project we have committed to do the survey with first time voters and interviews of government officials about democracy, election process, Panchayatraj, awareness of laws and participations. We have committed to complete the project within three months starts from May 2015, and submits all the relevance documents to the Ideosync media combine. This project will give an opportunity to learn and give awareness about democracy on first time voters.  

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Board of Trustees meet in Sathyamangalam

The Keystone Foundation BoT Rev.P.K. Mulley, Ms. Meena Gupta IAS and Dr Suprava Patnaik were taken on a field visit to Sathyamangalam area. Sneh, Pratim, Mathew, Leo, Moorthy, Sumin and Anita accompanied them. We stayed at the comfortable and basic Bush and Bull Resorts at Hasanur and after lunch moved to the Aadhimalai/Thumbithakadu Production center at Hasanur. The Trustees were taken on a tour of the center where they got to see the honey and other value added products being prepared and packaged. The newly installed millet processing machinery was on display and Leo explained the role of ICAER scientists in getting these out to us. Following the tour Moorthy Sir and the local team organised an interaction with members of the producer company, ntfp harvesters, and farmers. One of the topics of much deliberation was the impact of the area being declared a Tiger Reserve and its implications for livelihoods of the local residents. The trustees were also interested in knowing in more detail the profit sharing mechanism and the role of members in the Producer Company. Later that same evening we traveled to Geddesal village, stopping briefly at the Eucalyptus plantations to view the Apis dorsata hives. The visit to the village was cut short by a sudden downpour, we had time only to walk around the village and the meeting with the village people was interrupted by the sudden rain. Back at Bush and Bull, Moorthy Sir made a comprehensive presentation on the formation, working and future plans of the Aadhimalai Producer Company. The questions on sustainability of the company and equity sharing were the topics of discussion. We returned early the next morning to resume our presentations to the Trustees at Kotagiri where trustees Somnath Sen and Rita Banerji also joined in. In Kotagiri, there was presentations by all programmes and feedback from Trustees on them. Later on organisational restructuring was approved. On the final day the Trustees had a small interaction with the students from the Nilgiri Field Learning Centre.

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Awareness programme on Millet Processing, Hasanur

The Awareness programme on Millet Processing was held on the 16th of March in Thumbithakadu production centre in Hasanur. There were 66 participants present in the workshop and all hailed from various communities across Sathyamangalam area. The awareness programme was organised jointly by ICAR, Central Institute of Agricultural Engineering – Bhopal, Keystone Foundation and Aadhimalai Pazhangudiyinar Producers’ Company Limited in order to bring an general understanding and awareness on millets, millet processing and value addition. Mr Leo gave a welcome note and started the programme. Dr. SJK Annamalai, Principal Scientist & Head gave a general introduction on millets – its benefits and millet processing. This was followed by speeches by Dr. S.D. Deshpande, Principal Scientist, Agricultural Produce Processing Division and – Dr. K.P. Singh, Scientist, Agricultural. Machinery Division, CIAE Bhopal. The participants were told about millet dehulling and threshing and also were given a general introduction on the machines installed at the village production centre. A value addition demonstration on millets was done by Dr. Saraswathy Easwaran, Founder Ramasamy Chinnammal Trust, Coimbatore & Retd. Professor, TNAU. She demonstrated different ways of using millets for making chocolates. Post lunch a demonstration of millet processing machinery was given to the participants by Dr. Dawn C.P. Ambrose, Dr. Ravindra Naik & Dr. S. Balasubramanian – IEP Scientists. The awareness programme was concluded by Mr. Murthy, CEO Aadhimalai. The programme provided a platform to all the villagers to learn about millet processing, millet processing machinery and the importance of a millet diet. Gallery

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Keystone Foundation
Keystone Centre, PB 35
Groves Hill RoadKotagiri 643 217
Nilgiris District, Tamil Nadu India

Telefaxes: +91 (04266) 272277, 272977, 275297
Email: kf at keystone-foundation dot org

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