Keystone Foundation (http://keystone-foundation.org)
Keystone Foundation was born out of a simple ecological principle of the interdependence of natural systems and has been working with indigenous communities since 1993 with a mission to enhance quality of life and environment with indigenous communities using eco-development approaches. The concept of “keystone” emerges from the nest-building behaviour of some birds in nature. These permanent nest structures serve as habitat for several life forms. Such “keystone” species become crucial in providing opportunities for other associated beings to grow and evolve.
Keystone is focused on the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, where it is currently working in 135 tribal habitations with an estimated number of 15000 individuals. With the focus initially being on poverty alleviation of the honey hunter community, the first years of Keystone was concerned with the dynamics of honey harvesting and marketing. Since then, Keystone’s mission has led it to diversify its programme base to encompass all aspects affecting the wellness of indigenous communities.
Today, Keystone’s programme verticals of Conservation, Research, Livelihoods, Appropriate Technology, and Indigenous Peoples Program along with the Crosscutting Programmes of Pollination, Water Resources, Human-Wildlife Interaction, Health & Community Wellness and Environmental Governance are each geared to directly contribute the overall wellbeing of the individual and community and, by extension, the environment.
Looking to share the accumulated knowledge of 23 years of working in the field, Keystone regularly conducts external trainings and undertakes consultancies on request. The subjects range from sustainable harvesting and value addition of non-timber forest produce (NTFP), biodiversity assessment and eco-restoration, eco-tourism support, socio-economic surveys and vocational skills such as carpentry, electrical, and wildlife filmmaking
Since 2006, Keystone has been given control of a pool of funds by international organisations and entrusted with the task of making grants to grassroots organisations, monitoring progress and evaluating impact. Till date, 35 such projects have been implemented 10 states across India focussing on conservation of natural resources, tribal empowerment, and advocacy for policy change, leadership and governance.
Collaboration with Cornell University, New York gave rise to the Nilgiri Field Learning Centre (NFLC) in 2015. This is an interdisciplinary partnership to explore questions of sustainable environments and livelihoods and pursues engaged research and teaching-learning. In keeping with the philosophy of being ‘keystone’, the Foundation has been responsible for conceiving, developing and nurturing three organisations viz, Last Forest Enterprises Pvt. Ltd, Aadhimalai Pazhangudiyinar Producer Company Ltd. and Nilgiri Natural History Society.
NESFAS, Meghalaya (http://www.nesfas.org/)
Established in 2012, NESFAS emerged as an outcome of the collaborative activities between the Indigenous Partnership for Agrobiodiversity and Food Sovereignty (The Indigenous Partnership) and Slow Food International. While Slow Food brings into play the importance of pleasure through good, clean and fair food, which goes hand in hand with our responsibility towards the environment, the Indigenous Partnership reaffirms the importance of local food systems and the age old role of Indigenous Peoples as guardians of agro biodiversity which is inextricably linked to their cultural identity and their rights towards food sovereignty and food security.
Kalpavriksh, Pune (http://www.kalpavriksh.org/)
KALPAVRIKSH is a non profit organisation working on environmental and social issues. The group began in 1979 with a campaign led by students to save Delhi’s Ridge Forest. We work on local, national and global levels, are registered under the Societies Registration Act (S-17439) and are based in Delhi and Pune.
Kalpavriksh believes that a country can develop meaningfully only when ecological sustainability and social equity are guaranteed, and a sense of respect for, and oneness with nature, and fellow humans is achieved.
Nagaland Bee and Honey Mission, Nagaland
Susanth Kumar Dalai
Leonardo Duran Olguin
Esther Wanjiku Mwangi, Kenya
Eudes Lopes Batista,