Keystone Foundation is a not-for-profit registered Trust working with indigenous hill communities in Tamil Nadu since 1994. Keystone works across 3 states in the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve (NBR) with indigneous communities in 150 villages, covering a population of 25,000 people. Keystone Foundation’s theory of change has been that the issues of natural resources and rural development are interlinked and are best addressed through eco-development initiatives amongst indigenous people in India’s mountainous and adjoining regions. The approach jointly addresses the challenges of conservation, livelihoods, and enterprise development through appropriate knowledge, action, technology, socio-economic innovations, and institutional cooperation, ensuring the well-being of both communities and the environment.
Kotagiri is one of the smallest and oldest of the three popular hill stations in the Nilgiris district of Tamil Nadu besides Ooty and Coonoor. Situated at an elevation of 6000ft, Kotagiri was originally the home of the Kota community, hence the name Kotagiri (mountains of the Kotas). Kotagiri is ranked among the top ten destinations with ideal climatic conditions in the world, and is surrounded by numerous plantations of tea and coffee, vegetable gardens and native forests.