A small step to save the earth.

It is the epitome of irony, the earth that helps all organisms to flourish, needs to be saved. The World Environment Day is celebrated every year on the 5th of June, to raise awareness on growing concerns, global warming and climate change being the most recent. It was conceived in the year 1974 after the first major conference on the environment was held at Stockholm, Sweden, based on the theme “Only One Earth”. United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) set this year’s theme as “Connecting People to Nature”, with the intention to urge governments, organisations, communities and people to contribute towards the environment. After a handful of ideas were suggested as activities for the World Environment Day on 5th of June, we at Keystone set out, leaving our computers in their sustainable environment and moved to ours. We picked saplings of native plants from our nursery, and took them out to be christened on a small patch of land at the crest of the hill, beside the forest encompassing the groves hill road. To our surprise, guests who were attending a meeting held at our campus tagged along to celebrate with us, which fortunately related with the theme to increase participation. Later, for our second activity of the day, we descended to ‘Happy Valley’, a wetland restoration project of Keystone. We gathered sickle and hoes, to clean up the area that grew dense over the period. We preached the magnitude of the day and instigated locals to join us, and succeeded. We split-up in groups and segregated tasks to make it more efficient. After two hours of toil, the quest was accomplished.It is a joy, to feel the warm earth, getting your hands dirty benefits the heart, skin and immune system. Let us collectively create a better foundation for our future generations; after all we are not apart from nature, but a part of nature.        

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A fight for their rights!

  Keystone Foundation along with VRDP, CIOSA, TPFLR & Samanvaya, hosted and participated in a workshop on the Forest Rights Act & Livelihoods in Tamil Nadu, on the 1st of June. The object of the workshop was to layout the problems faced by tribals of having liberty towards the land that they have been occupying and their communities’ rights over the use and management of forests and minor produce from them. P.Chandran, Additional Coordinator for the Livelihoods programme at Keystone, speaking at the event, said ‘there are a lot of rejections of claims by the gram sabha, majority of them being wrongful and based on invalid grounds”. Furthermore he stressed on issues concerning the Nilgiri Adivasi people and how their primitive but harmonious existence in forests is endangered, due to lack of effective implementation of the Forest Rights Act, since its enactment 11 years ago.  At the workshop,  stakeholders and crusaders working towards this cause spoke at length about several issues faced by forest dwelling communities prevailing in Tamil Nadu, that remain unresolved, in respect to the Forest Rights Act. Keystone has been actively advocating for the indigenous communities’ rights since 2009. According to our data, in the past year 1300 claims by tribal families have been submitted in the Nilgiris, which includes villages from Kotagiri, Konavakarai , Arakode & Sigur. Only after numerous meetings and persistent demands, the gram sabha announced to accept 750 claims among those 1300, by June 2017. The Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve is home to many indigenous communities. These communities rely on the forest which is of fundamental importance for a range of reasons like habitational space, for cultivation, grazing their cattle and gathering non- timber forest produce as a source of livelihoods. The inadequacy of the state’s administration to secure their rights, is gradually leading them to move to urban spaces in search of basic amenities and better wage opportunities for their mere survival.

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Wayanad Nature Interpretation Center

June 9th 2017, a nature interpretation centre has been completed in the Muthanga forests, one of the ranges of the Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary. Kerala Forest Department proposed this initiative and Keystone had to bid for the contract via the government e- tender mechanism. The department gets more than 1000 visitors on a daily basis and has a nature interpretation that was done in 1991.The present day managers of the sanctuary were keen to have more updated center with additional displays. Keystone furnished all the details required for the bid and waited for the response. On 26th October 2016 we were officially notified that our contract has been awarded and we were to proceed with the work. Since then, zealous effort and creativity was channelled towards this project to set up a nature information center in 1500sq. ft of space surrounded by forest and rivers and wildlife. Sumin George along with the designer and printer Chandrasekar (TextnGraphics, Ooty) have put together wall mounted state of the art posters, stunning photos and information of the diverse species, services and functions of Wayand Wildlife sanctuary. Information regarding the role and efforts of the department in managing the sanctuary have been prominently displayed. Wall murals made of terracotta designed by local artists of Wayanad harmonizes with the bamboo furniture from Uravu (an NGO that promotes bamboo), have been added to the space. Carpenter Rajendran, along with his assistant Murugan, painter Sasi and electrician Mani all worked together under the guidance of Sumin to complete the installations.  The high quality painting  and printing was done in Delhi and airlifted to Wayanad – a highly precession driven and  demanding task considering the material (600kg of glass, poster boards and wood) arrived at Coimbatore air cargo and had to be transported over the mountains to forests in Kerala! Wayand forest managers are keen to hire local youth as nature educators, who will be trained by Keystone staff, to run the center and maintain it. We are certain that it will have immense influence and will serve as an informative place for people, visitors, sightseers, enthusiasts. We anticipate that the centre will speak for the ones without a voice, to showcase the important of wildlife and instigate many not leave it to perish, but save it to cherish. We are filled with gratitude for the previous Wildlife Warden Roy Thomas IFS for initiating the idea and the current Warden Dhanesh Kumar IFS for implementing it, Muthanga Range Officer Ashalatha and all the staff and EDC members of the Wayanad Wildlife Division for their tremendous support and encouragement during the course of the setting up of the center. The dates of the Inauguration of the center will be announced soon and will keep you posted on that.

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Keystone celebrates World Bee Day 2017

22 May 2017, Kotagiri: Keystone celebrated World Bee Day today at Nehru Park in Kotagiri, engaging with the local population of Nilgiris including school children, civil societies and practicing beekeepers. World Bee Day is celebrated on May 20th which is the birthday of Anton Jansa, a Slovanian beekeeper who pioneered modern beekeeping with movable frames and boxes, as proposed by Apimondia to the United Nations. The inauguration was presided over by Mr. T.K.V. Rajan, Founder-Director, Indian Science Monitor who spoke about the achievements of Dr. JC Bose and how conscious responses were characteristics of sentient beings, plants and animals. Dr. K. K Suresh, Dean – Forest College and Research Institute, Mettupalayam, went on to speak about declining vegetative cover in the Nilgiris. Rev. Philip Mulley, Trustee, Keystone Foundation, has been observing indigenous communities in the Nilgiris for many decades and spoke about the close links that they have with honey and bees and how they value bee diversity. The event saw young children from Sholurmattam and Garikyur perform a skit about a small bee colony and different types of bees. School teacher, Mr.Dharmaraj, Nallasiriyar Award winner, brought children from Sholurmattam for the event and spoke on the need to conserve bees, especially native bee species. Angel Saveri, teacher at St. Mary’s High School recited a poem which she had written about bees, their diversity and medicinal values along with spiritual messages. The Honey Portal is a project that Audra Bass, intern with Last Forest Enterprises, has been working on in collaboration with Keystone. This website carries information about honey, bees, conservation, and indigenous communities closely associated with bees and honey. The portal would be able to provide information to help with conservation of grasslands, forests and other ecosystems related to nesting habitats of bees. This portal is set to go live in a couple of months with information from the Nilgiris and Odisha. Jestin Pauls from Aadhimalai describing different kinds of honey and their uses and Frango from Last Forest Enterprises spoke about consumer awareness regarding honey quality. There were a number of posters displayed about types of bees, their science, pollination, etc. Appropriate tools for beekeeping, such as bee boxes, tools, honey extractors, smokers, protective gear, etc. were displayed. There was also a live demonstration hive which garnered a lot of interest from the visitors. Different varieties of honey and beeswax products were also displayed. Declining populations of native bees is a cause for concern around the world and India is no exception with reports of reduced harvests. Bees pollinate more than 70% of food crops and are the most important group of pollinators. Beekeepers, Rasu from Semmanarai, Vellayan from Pillur, Suresh from Banagudi, and Jamila from Sigur were felicitated for their efforts in practicing appropriate beekeeping. During his talk, Robert Leo, Dy Director, Keystone Foundation, spoke about the need popularize beekeeping with urban populations and find ways to overcome the many challenges that would invariably arise. Justin and Leo from Keystone, conducted a quiz on bees and took questions from the audience on issues and doubts regarding beekeeping.  Beekeepers form the audience had several suggestions including government interventions to manage Thai sac brood virus (TSBV) attacks and bear attacks. They also suggested some parts of the landscape be set aside to conserve bee populations. Just like humans, bees are impacted by changing patterns of land use and increasing use of chemicals in agriculture and this event generated a lot of interest among the audience regarding bee conservation. Pratim Roy – Director Keystone Foundation spoke of the age-old relationship of men and bees going back to the Egyptians. “Just like humans, bees are both social and solitary. They are facing challenging times and are adapting to them as best as they can. Given their importance in our lives, we should be doing all we can to conserve them.”

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Keystone Restructures its Programme Areas

5 May 2017, Kotagiri: As of April 2017, Keystone has started following a new structure of programmes. The main reason to undertake this restructuring was because the older programme structure was unable to capture the new things that Keystone was involved in; and besides, the older work had taken form in terms of action, research papers, new institutions like Last Forest Enterprises (LFE), Nilgiri Natural History Society (NNHS), and Aadhimalai Pazhangudiyinar Producer Company Limited (APPCL). Another important factor was the maturing of the work of Culture and People in the last decade into the Indigenous Peoples’ Programme and an understanding that tribal culture, identity and leadership is with the communities now to take forward. Many programmes needed a new agenda and others needed to expand/adapt to take in new environmental issues. Some changes in community social structure and wellness, also led to more emphasis on those programmes. Stretching the old programme structure meant closing new options and new leadership. The Directors’ Retreat in Mahabalipuram last year where personal and professional trajectories of the Directors were discussed as well as ideas of handing over, building new leaders, mentoring and coaching staff, building some financial security and infrastructure were discussed and subsequent retreats with senior and middle management teams from Keystone, LFE and NNHS and ‘dreams’ sessions with the rest of the Keystone staff helped build a new programme structure. The new structure defines 8 Core Programmes of Climate Change, Advocacy & Media, Network Management, and Field Courses & Research as those that would be done through knowledge and strategic networks. Field situation still requires us to focus on Community Wellbeing, Biodiversity Management & Restoration, Apiculture, and Water& Sanitation. Common Team Programmes and New Initiatives were added as efforts to practically implement what we believe in, work together and break out of our usual slots. These programmes are assisted by 8 Support Programmes of Finance, Field Areas, Administration, Human Resource, Infrastructure, Legal, Fundraising, and Communications. Keystone will also function as Data or Knowledge Hub for Designs, Markets and Outreach. This will be support for APPCL, LFE and NNHS. Scope of work of the new core programme areas as envisioned by the Keystone team is described below. Climate Change: Keystone’s Climate Change programme is currently working with the Green Climate Fund (GCF) on Enhanced Direct Access (EDA) to ensure that communities have a say in the decisions that directly impact them. The programme will also be compiling data on traditional knowledge related to climate as it applies to agriculture, water resources, seasonal forest foods and animal (especially pollinator) behaviour, etc. and developing adaption strategies; all of this leading to the establishment of a Climate Change Centre for Communities at the Keystone campus with resources on resilience that is accessible to all. Advocacy & Media: The proposed Advocacy Platform is already working on select policy briefs starting with water (Village Water Security Plans). The Media platform is set to increase interactions with press (both print and digital) to ensure sensitive reporting, while building on Radio Kotagiri’s rapport with the communities to turn it into a significant component of the proposed Climate Change Centre for Communities. Network Management: Keystone is currently coordinating for India networks of NGOs related to Participatory Guarantee System (PGS), Non-Timber Forest Produce Exchange Programme (NTFP-EP)-India, Global Alliance for Green and Gender Action (GAGGA), Tribal Empowerment networks. The People & Nature Fund and Keystone’s own Grant Management Service is to develop into a Funding Hub for grassroots projects in India. Field Courses & Research: Thus far, trainings have been the purview of individual programme areas. Under the new structure, Field Courses & Research will have the responsibility to consolidate resources and develop structured training modules for courses that can be incorporated into school and college curricula as well as standalone courses that are open to communities. The prestigious Nilgiri Field Learning Course, in affiliation with Cornell University is housed under this programme and has finished 3 years recently. The field course is due to get an extension in 2018. Water & Sanitation: Current localised views of linkages between water resources and sanitation are to be developed into a landscape approach where both upstream and downstream dynamics are addressed. Our current projects of TNUSSP and the Water project in The Nilgiris will integrate into the larger objective of safe water and sanitation in the area of work. Apiculture: Apiculture’s current focus of practical training on various aspects of beekeeping and disseminating information through the Pollinators Network and Honey Portal is set to expand into developing structured trainings and certified courses in apiculture; establishing a Pollen Library, creating bee sanctuaries/habitats; and building a Honey Hunters Network. This is one of the flagship strengths of Keystone and needs focus and integration Biodiversity Management & Restoration: Existing activities of conservation education, biodiversity research, human-wildlife interactions, nurseries and information centres are to go hands-on with tangible conservation outcomes and impacts – an active field station in Satyamangalam, a botanical garden of native species, rescue centres for animals and plants, increased forest cover in the Keystone campus and. linking habitat restoration to water source conservation Community Empowerment: This programme will actively work towards the holistic wellbeing of indigenous communities addressing issues relating to health and nutrition, mental health, gender equality, livelihood, human rights and indigenous culture and tradition.  

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Radio Kotagiri joins NAWA in celebrating Dr. Narasimhan’s birth centenary

10 May 2017, Kotagiri: Radio Kotagiri covered the Birth Centenary Celebrations of Padmashri Dr. S. Narasimhan, the founder of Nilgiri Adivasi Welfare Association (NAWA). The celebrations spanning 10 days from 28th April to 8th May had a number of programmes including the Conference on Tribal Health which is of particular importance to Radio Kotagiri as it ties in with their project “Science for Women’s Health and Nutrition”. The was scheduled for the first two days of the celebrations and the guest of honour was Dr. K. C. Malhotra, Anthropologist and Human Ecologist from New Delhi. The conference covered sickle cell anaemia and cardiovascular disease among indigenous communities and a number of medical practitioners presented their research findings regarding sickle cell anaemia. The participants discussed cost-effective modalities of treatment and medical collaborations which would benefit communities. The centenary events also included an exhibition of medical products and tribal handicrafts, food festival, dances and a rally for Organic Nilgiri and Fair Trade. Thanvish, RJ – Radio Kotagiri, interviewed Ms. Rosalyn Mulgi, Trustee, NAWA, a day prior to the celebrations. Ms. Mulgi spoke about Dr Narasimhan, the history of NAWA, Ms. Victoria Armstrong and also her own personal commitment to education of tribal youth. The interview and highlights of the conference were broadcast on 30th April, Dr. Narasimhan’s birth anniversary. NAWA is a leading charitable organisation based in Kotagiri that is working for the wellbeing of tribals. NAWA supports empowerment of tribal communities, especially women, through self-help groups and trainings in entrepreneurship and capacity development. They also work towards developing leadership skills in youth and are actively documenting, preserving and promoting tribal culture.

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NFLC Class of 2017 Graduates

30 April 2017, Kotagiri: All 16 students of the 3rd batch of Nilgiri Field Learning Centre received their certificates of completion yesterday. After their spring break in March, the students had dived into their research projects on eight different topics related to Community Wellness, Health and Nutrition, Water and Waste, Gaur Monitoring, Forest Rights Act and Fallow Lands. The students presented their findings to Keystone staff, Board of Trustees and Advisors, and community members. A gist of their research and findings are below: Forest Rights Act: Jake and Arul undertook their research on identifying the capacity of village leadership towards implementation of Forest Rights Act (FRA) in four villages in tiger reserve region. The team followed a methodology that included mapping village resources specific to their topic, like leadership qualities and level of interest of village leader and individual villager’s knowledge on FRA, individual and Community Forest Rights and processes required for the same. Jake and Arul came to the conclusions that motivated village leaders and a knowledgeable community was crucial for the successful implementation of FRA. Fallow lands: Paige and Vijayan conducted the study on Fallow Lands in two indigenous villages in the north eastern slopes of Kotagiri. Their task was to try and understand why an area would be left uncultivated. Interviewing the residents, they understood that permanent crops were preferred to millets or even seasonal crops. While NFLC 2016 had understood crop depredation by elephants and eroding community cohesion to be the prime deterrent to cultivation, this year people cited poor rainfall as a reason for not getting into millet farming. Gaur Monitoring: Prasath and Kieran observed human wildlife interactions in Kotagiri, a rapidly urbanising landscape, by monitoring two identified herds of gaur (Bos gaurus). The NFLC 2016’s study area was re-inventoried in order to map changes in barriers/fences and food and water resources. This year, the area of study was extended to include more parts of the town. Gaur has become a feature in Kotagiri town in the past 10 years and more and more sightings have been reported within the town. Prasath and Kieran focussed on the challenges of human-gaur interactions and observed that tolerance levels were lower as compared to earlier studies –more fences coming up, people resorting to stone throwing or shouting to make the gaur move on, and pet dogs let loose to react aggressively to gaur presence. But the team felt that these were all reactions and not responses. Local residents were feeling clueless and helpless, therefore falling back on temporary, for-the-moment solutions rather than a long-term or sustainable plan to manage gaur interactions. Community Wellness: – Abinaya Devi and Shaalini studied the role of community health workers in two different working areas of Keystone in the Nilgris. They observed that community health workers were the link, not only between the patient and the medical personnel at government and private hospitals, but also between the patient and the community and the village healer. The community health worker was also key to the patient deciding whether to approach a mainstream doctor or the traditional healer. It was seen that the patients preferred opening up to the health worker from their own community as they could relate better to them, rather than to someone at the hospital. Health and Nutrition – Infant Feeding: Bridget and Mahanadi worked in the north eastern and east slopes of the Kotagiri area, where they observed the ten sets of babies and their mothers and kept track of the nutritional intake of both mother and child. They also worked on social support affecting feeding behaviour.  Along with the direct information received via interviews, the duo also observed the role of anganwadis and the government health support scheme implemented through them. They noted that mothers’ generally seek advice on maternity or infant feeding from women elders like mothers, mother-in-law, aunts or grandmothers. Health and Nutrition: Vanessa and Abinaya conducted their research in two non tribal villages in Coonoor using Keystone’s baseline health survey format, studying nutrition and WASH practices in the area, with special attention to infants. They observed that babies were fed a lot of carbohydrates but not much of proteins. Hands were rinsed before feeding babies, but soap was only used for washing dishes or clothes. Individual household toilets were used by families that had them, but others preferred open defecation rather than using the government-built community toilets. As in other settlements, toilets attached to the main house built as per government guidelines were not being used by the families for that purpose as it was culturally inappropriate for them to have toilets in close proximity of the kitchen or prayer room. Last year, NFLC had studied water quality and sanitation in these villages. Vanessa and Abhinaya compared results over the past two years and realized that positive coliform bacteria tests were fewer in number in the last six months, but this could be attributed more to the scanty rainfall this year rather than improved sanitation practices. Water and Waste – Waste Management: Deepa and Gowtham re-inventoried last year’s villages in Coonoor town for toilets, taps, garbage pits, panchayat bins, etc. They interviewed residents and recyclers to understand the process of recycling in the areas. A transect walk along the Coonoor river showed them where the waste dumps along the river edge were. They followed the movement of trash as it was collected from the households and brought to Coonoor town and then moved to Mettupalayam and Coimbatore where the recycling units were situated.They found that plastic waste from the Nilgiris eventually found its way back in the form of plastic pipes and sheets for agriculture and drums used to store water. Water and Waste – WASH: Meena and Emma worked on their project in two tribal settlements downstream of Coonoor town. They studied the village watersheds and water sources to try and understand the link to sanitation practices in upstream towns and villages, and WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) in the villages with special focus on […]

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Update: Mental Health for Indigenous Communities in the Nilgiris

2 April 2017: Day in and day out, *Parvathy hears voices around her. She doesn’t know who these people are or why they are screaming abuse at her. After a point she loses control and responds in kind, with abusive language and sometimes, out of frustration, violence. Parvathi suffers from schizophrenia. The voices exist only in her head; but for her, they are as real as the voices of her husband and two children at home. It is not easy for ‘normal’ people to understand the trauma that a schizophrenic faces every single day – delusions, hallucinations, difficulty managing emotions, inability to relate to family and community and confusion between the real and imagined. The villagers do not like to be around Parvathy because of the abusive language she uses. Some time ago, Parvathy’s husband fell ill and was unable to care for her. She now stays with her mother in another village. A few weeks after the world celebrated International Women’s Day, Pavitra, Subject Manager – Health, visited a remote village in the Nilgiris to follow up on patients with mental illness in the area. This village is one of the areas where the Keystone’s Mental Health programme is active. She met with six patients (including Parvathy) and the caregiver of one patient who could not make it to the meeting point. The Community Health Worker, Dhanalakshmi, brought one new patient to her attention. Three of the patients are responding well, thanks both to medications and the dedication of caregivers. But the other three are not so fortunate and have been having frequent relapses. Reasons for this include, amongst others, inability of caregivers to provide sustained attention, non-adherence to medication regimen, and non-availability of doctors during symptomatic episodes. In addition to these, it is also probably the inability to fathom the consequences of the illness and the tug-of-war between wage work and caring for a person results in the patient being neglected. Studies have shown that mental illness reduces not only the productivity of a person but also their life span.*Bhama is another patient who is relapsing because she does not have a caregiver. Bhama has schizophrenia compounded by malnutrition and severe anaemia. She lives with her relatives doing their household chores. Living with them ensures three meals a day of whatever nutritional value, but the relatives are not much concerned about Bhama’s health and have never come in for a consultation. Being a single woman, she has to provide for herself, but her schizophrenia symptoms have left her unable to work for a living. Without income, she has inadequate nutrition, which further debilitates her. It is a vicious circle and without intervention, it is only a matter of time before her life tailspins out of control and we lose her. Of crucial importance in treating mental illness is consistency of care. This is difficult to maintain for two reasons, firstly the remoteness of the villages and secondly, the common perception that mental illness cannot be helped by simple treatment methods. Pavitra and the Health team are training individuals from the villages who have shown the interest and competence to be community health workers (CHWs) and help break the stigma surrounding mental health. Dhanalakshmi has recently started working in Aracode as a CHW and has been excellent in monitoring the patients. Persons like Dhanalakshmi are a bridge between doctors and patients and part of the process of ‘task shifting’ wherein some tasks are moved away from doctors to less specialized health workers who have better direct access to the patient. This process has been used effectively in many countries. Therefore, CHWs are possibly the best solution to delivering care to patients in remote locations. Keystone currently has four CHWs working in Aracode, Sigur, Pillur and Hasanur and we need to be able to train more of them. It has been the experience of Psychiatrists that General Physicians can easily detect common mental disorder as patients usually approach the GP for help with somatic symptoms. In the case of Keystone project areas, the GP’s place is taken by the Primary Health Centre (PHC) doctor as he/she is usually the first point of contact according to the baseline health survey conducted by Keystone. This is because, usually a minor population of people have severe mental health issues, while the larger population, especially women, suffer from common mental health issues like depression which is equally debilitating. Such patients present with multiple body aches, headaches and other somatic symptoms for which they seek medical intervention, usually from the PHC. So, it becomes crucial that the PHC doctors be trained in identifying mental illness and administering psychological ‘first aid’ before referring to a specialist. Keeping in mind the problems related to non-adherence to medication and physically visiting the patient during symptomatic episodes, Pavitra has been discussing with specialist organisations like ASHWINI and Banyan who are collaborating with Keystone, the possibility of long-acting psychotropic injectable medications for schizophrenia and tele-consultations. The long term impact envisioned by Mental Health is to educate and empower communities to be able to identify the illness at the primary stage and bring back community cohesion and provide some livelihood options. This gives the patient a safe and secure environment where he or she can heal. The community would be able to collectively take care of the patients and bring them back into mainstream life with dignity and Keystone would remain in the picture as a networking and knowledge support partner for emergencies or complications. To realize this vision, the following activities are being implemented: Medication support for identified patients including long-acting injections for schizophrenia. Monthly tele-consultations with established Psychiatrists familiar with the area and common social issues Quarterly health camps with collaborating organisation (ASHWINI) Continued training of Community Health Workers like Dhanalakshmi and identifying and training enough number of CHWs to cover other areas. Sensitize PHC doctors to the importance of their role in identifying patients with mental illness and educate them on simple treatment methods. Livelihood options for patients […]

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Radio Kotagiri in its second month of Call-In Programmes

10 April 2017, Kotagiri: Radio Kotagiri is into their second month of live dial-in programmes. This month, two call-in programmes on Road Safety were broadcast. The programmes sought to understand the listeners’ take on local road safety, an issue which becomes crucial in the Nilgiris during tourist season. There is a sharp spike in road accidents during the months of April, May and June coinciding with a significant increase in vehicular traffic. It has been estimated that only about 50% of the cases are reported while the rest are not registered. More than 10 callers in the age group of 35-50 years were in conversation with Aravindh during these programmes. The callers were mostly of the opinion that the increased volume of traffic during these months coupled with rash driving, especially by young bikers, led to these accidents. They also said that most of these accidents would be caused by driving under the influence of alcohol and many young bikers engage in high-risk driving without caring for the basics of safety like protective headgear. Speaking with them Aravindh managed to gauge that while the younger bikers were aware of the dangers of rash driving, it was peer pressure that pulled them into it. The radio team is now looking to develop programmes where accident survivors and their friends and family can go on air and speak about the trauma they have been through. The team feels that firsthand accounts such as these would go a long way to ‘deglamorise’ speeding in the hills and make the Nilgiris a safer holiday destination for holidays for tourists and residents alike.  

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Radio Kotagiri NTFP South East Asia
Aadhimalai lastforest nnhs
credibility Nilgiris Water Portal

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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