Ideas in the Making

Keystone Foundation has worked for more than two decades in the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve (NBR) with a mission to enhance the quality of life and the environment. The essence of the work has been to balance ecological concerns with those of livelihood development. Early work with honey hunters and ecology of the wild bees has been at the heart of the work with indigenous people of this region. The Foundation has nurtured scholars, inspired common people, challenged people in power and served the nation by finding innovative ways to address the problems of the most marginalised people, the adivasis. Over the years Keystone has worked on documenting, preserving and revitalising local knowledge traditions of the region. Keystone has built relationships with civil society members, local and national governments, scientists, researchers, students and policy makers.

Keystone has built resource centres across different parts of the NBR and its own office in Kotagiri, acts like a Resource Centre showcasing many aspects of the work. Over the years, aspects of work have grown into new institutions like a Producer Company for adivasis to get better returns and make profit from their NTFP and agriculture produce; an organic marketing initiative spelling out concepts of fair-trade, organic, slow food, PGS etc.; a natural history society to engage all members of society in conservation. The Green Shops and Bee Museum imbibe these values and engage with members of society.

Keystone has been co-ordinating networks across India and the South East Asia region for over a decade. Besides working together conceptually and networking, Keystone has supported the management of large projects. It co-ordinates with NGOs and CBOs across India and facilitates work with financing, technical training and backstopping. This has enriched and inspired us by seeing different issues across rural India and increased our resolve in grassroots action.

After more than two decades of experience, Keystone is poised to take on a larger role in India. The two aspects being launched are the People & Nature Centre and People & Nature Fund. Of these, the People & Nature Fund (PNF) is now a reality and grants have been given to 18 projects across India. More information about PNF can be had here.

People & Nature Centre

This centre will house the themes of biodiversity, landscapes and people. It will be founded in the new campus of the Keystone Foundation, Kotagiri. The centre will house a contemporary museum, offices for resident and visiting scholars and state of the art repositories for natural science and cultural artifacts. The centre will serve to celebrate, perpetuate and preserve the natural heritage of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve (NBR). It will serve as a learning centre, attracting students, researchers and people from all walks of life.

Through this endeavour we hope to convey the value of the Nilgiri biosphere reserve, empower educators with information and resources outside of school, and instil a sense of respect and responsibility towards the NBR in future generations.

The model of this centre will be developed and shared with our network partners from other regions of India. Keystone will support and franchise such centres to be set up in key areas of the country which can serve as network hubs and places of innovation and action.

Land for this Centre has been acquired. We are trying to raise resources to build it and house it with treasures from the Nilgiris.

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Keystone Foundation
Keystone Centre, PB 35
Groves Hill Road, Kotagiri 643 217
The Nilgiris, Tamil Nadu, India

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

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