25th-year celebrations & Board of Trustees Meeting

On 15th, 16th & 17th of April 2018, the Board of Trustees (BoT) meeting was held alongside the 25 years celebrations. It took palce over a period of three days at Keystone. Being a milestone year and an important juncture for Keystone Foundation as an institution, we planned to conduct the celebrations in the presence of our Trustees. 

We strongly intended to make the occasion a momentous one for – People that have witnessed the evolution of the organisation, those that always inspired, guided and supported us in building an institution for the tribal communities in the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve and for all those that are present with us at this moment of time.

We devised a plan to bring together our Trustees, community members, associates, friends, colleagues from the past & present to this event that will provide us the opportunity to share ideas, pick brains,  provide the space to put out perspectives and discuss subjects through talks, panel discussions and so on.

Guest Speakers:

At the Inaugural

It felt like it was just yesterday when we came to Kotagiri and met our friends B.J Krishnan and Rev. Mulley and started this small organisation that has grown into a beehive of activities.Pratim Roy
The District Administration is currently working towards improving the basic amenities and housing facilities for Paniyans in the Gudalur region. Looking forward to collaborating with Keystone Foundation on improving the livelihoods options for Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs) in the Nilgiris. Ms. Innocent Divya - District Collector
With the ability to scale up, the government needs to collaborate and experiment with interest groups and institutions to make an impact affecting all communities S. Krishnan -Principal Secretary, Housing & Urban development  - Govt. of Tamil Nadu

A compilation of pictures since the inception of Keystone until the present. The book depicts the augumentation of programmes, people and infrastructure.

Great things are always never done by one person, they’re done by a team of people. Likewise, at Keystone Foundation, there are people that have remained immensely committed and dedicated to their work in the organisation. Somnath Sen (Trustee) – the emcee conjured his jocular nature and called upon the set of people that have spent a decade or more at Keystone to receive their memento. 

Talks and Panel Discussions

These sessions were an integral part of the event. It provided the space for several subjects and topics to be discussed through which a variety of perspectives, ideas and knowledge emerged.
Below, you can find the narration and proceedings of each panel discussions, talks by guest speakers and other happenings that took place over three days.  Each of them is expressed through– Audio, video & in writings depending on its immensity.


Shifting the Power

Svaram Musical group from Auroville, Pondicherry produced a spectacular performance for the entrants towards the evening. Percussions, mallet instruments and air instruments such as bamboo were used to produce exclusive sound and music. It began with space-like music and ended with a bang that people couldn’t resist, but break a leg to it. 


Hand OverTalk by Madhu Ramnath

(Click the play button to listen)

Making ourselves heard


Rights and Resources

RiversTalk by Jagdish Krishnaswamy

(Click the play button to listen)

Western Ghats Panel

The panelists shared their perspectives, stories from the past and suggested measures to conserve the pristine Western Ghat region  – A Biodiversity Hotspot recognised by UN.

On the panel were – K.C Malhotra (Anthropologist), Shankar Raman (Scientist), Nitin. D. Rai (Researcher & Biologist), Paul Wolvekamp (Deputy Director, BothENDS) & B.J Krishnan (Lawyer and Native of Nilgiris)

Sustainable ConsumptionWhat? How? & Why?

(Click the play button to listen)

Paul Wolvekamp – Regreening in Niger

Paul speaks about the ‘Africa Regreening Initiative’ and partnerships with companies in organic tea and spices and palm oil. The story of how government and people came together to increase tree cover in Niger.

Talk on Water and Sustainable Agriculture – By Raghavendra Rao
(Will be released in a short time)

He was associated with the M.S.Swaminathan Research Foundation, Chennai; the Agriculture Man Ecology Program in Bangalore and the Deccan Development Society’s Krishi Vigyana Kendra at Zaheerabad, Medak District, Telangana, before moving to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, New Delhi where he was Farming Systems Officer for a South Asia Program working on Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development. After two years as Rural Livelihoods Adviser with the Department for International Development (DFID), New Delhi, he left Delhi to set up a “certified organic” farm, the OASIS @ Kuppam, in Nakkanapalli Village, Gudipalle Mandal, Chittoor District, Andhra Pradesh. He is now a consultant for soil and moisture conservation, afforestation and organic farming projects.

By noon, on the third day. It was time to roll the blinds. We concluded the event by planting native trees and shrubs – Elaeocarpus, Canarium Strictum and Strobilanthes kunthianus.

Each of them ( Suprava Patnaik, Meena Gupta, Paul Wolvekamp, Somnath Sen, Madhu Ramnath and Pratim Roy) planted their tree or shrub on our campus. These will bear their names in permanence.