With modern lifestyles encroaching on the fringes of the forest, there is a fear that traditional knowledge and wisdom will fall into oblivion. With the passing of the elders, the gap between old and young seems steeper than ever in the Nilgiri Hills, and if indigenous information is not transmitted quickly, it will die along with the elders.
The Village Elder Programme (VEP) envisions the passing on of traditional knowledge from one generation to the next. Through this programme, village elders who are traditional healers, honey hunters, farmers, and NTFP collectors from different regions take children of the village into the forest to point out and explain local biodiversity using their traditional knowledge. Through these interventions, the next generation gets practical information about ancient knowledge, and is able to appreciate the depth of the elder’s understanding of the forest. The elders, for their part, are able to share their knowledge and receive the reverence that is their due.