Keystone has been working in the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve (NBR) over the last 17 years (since 1995) 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 holistically approach to the issues of livelihoods, conservation & enterprise. These are Livelihood, Conservation, Organic Market Development, Culture & People, Environmental Governance, Training & Information and Finance & Administration.
Having completed 17 years of work in NBR, Keystone commissioned an Impact Assessment in 2010. The findings corresponded with the goals of the programme areas. The work of the organization has resulted in more fair prices, better quality and a steadier income for the indigenous communities. The methods have been sustainable harvesting and organic farming practices, together with educational programs for all ages on conservation. This is not just a method, but also a goal. The eco-friendly economic development, based on indigenous culture and traditions, has increased the self confidence and the negotiation ability as well as the self esteem and cultural identity.The need for Keystone’s work does not however decline. The future strategy contains certain “vectors of change”, which include a taking to a wider national and international level, where Keystone Foundation can contribute with experience of livelihoods work at the grassroots linked to ecological conservation. The organization also aims to develop a strategy on subjects related specifically to global warming, such as water conservation in mountain areas and environmental services like carbon sequestration.