Community Foundations in the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve

Community Foundations has been an ongoing initiative that has enabled an emphasis on local resources and capabilities, promoting local philanthropy to help shift power closer to the people.

At present, two groups are actively supported amongst indigenous communities in the NBR. This is done in collaboration with the Global Fund for Community Foundation (GFCF) who seek to support community philanthropy globally as a central pillar of people-led development and through an active network of community initiatives and leadership models.

Images: Keystone Foundation

Porivarai and Thoduve, the two community-led organisations in the NBR, supported by the GFCF comprise members of the tribal groups, the Irula, the Kattunaickan and the Paniya, considered Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups or the PVTG. Both organisations are autonomous decision-making bodies at the village level and have been successful in procuring funds to bolster their activities.  

Porivarai focuses on producing organic agricultural inputs and creates livelihood opportunities for local youth by strengthening traditional craft-making using non-timber forest produce. The group was formed with the intention to revitalise musical traditions and instrument making. Over time, this group has grown and as a response to the changing needs, diversified their engagements within their community as well as with the outside world.

Thoduve works on community-led research into traditional cultural knowledge. It supports local entrepreneurship in areas such as apiculture and in the value addition of non-timber forest produce and helps local groups in advocacy and outreach.

These collectives have been successful in helping the communities better understand their assets, strength and choices and in developing a sense of agency among them. The participants have developed an understanding of the nuances of entrepreneurship and enterprise development in areas such as music and performative arts, beekeeping and organic inputs, community media and other activities involving youth.

Images: Keystone Foundation

Community Foundations are community-led initiatives that focus on strengthening local resources and capabilities and promoting local philanthropy to help shift power closer to the people.

Image: Deepika Vijayan

How can you help?

We are where we are due to the support of our volunteers and donors. We seek your continued support in taking our initiatives forward.

Nilgiris Wild Food Festival

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