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Gender & Grassroot Institutions

About the Programme

Gender is one of the fundamental development issues. The Foundation started work on gender as early as 1993 with the setting up of the Uttara Devi Resource Centre in Gender and Development (UDRC). In 2012, ‘Gender and Grassroots Institutions’ was institutionally recognized as a crosscutting theme. The main objectives were to mainstream and integrate gender issues across programmes and evolve specific research studies on gender and institutions. The vision, mission and goals of the Programme Area are”:

VISION: “Achieving improved position of women and equitable gender relations in sustainable development initiatives”

MISSION: “Implementing the mandate in relation to gender, poverty and sustainability”

GOAL: Mainstreaming gender across the Foundation’s initiatives through

a) Interdisciplinary approach and

b) Research and interventions on pro-poor and pro women and sustainability mandate through Grass-roots Institutions (GRI)

Our Focus

The Programme Area adopts the strategy of Inter-disciplinary Research while working with other programme (disciplinary) themes that integrates gender studies through joint or collaborative initiatives. Also it independently carries Gender Specific Research Programmes. The major priority areas for gendered action and research are resource rights, climate change and natural resources, including biodiversity, science and technology including ICTs and sustainability, collective action and institutions. In addition, activities taken up aim to strengthen Grassroots Institutions (GRI), across Programme areas emanating from field level participatory research and development interventions.

Inter-disciplinary Research

Under this stream, collaboration between Gender studies and other Programme Area disciplines is established through joint project as well as impact studies. Such projects have explicit gender goals in the proposal itself linked with concerned scientific theme as one of the drivers. Apart from research projects and studies, nurturing inter-disciplinary research team on Science, Technology and Gender is strengthened through Gender Mainstreaming and Integration (GIM) group.

Grassroots Institutions (GRI)

Foundation has been involved in Participatory Research with local communities and farmers, especially in rural and tribal areas, related to ecological restoration, conservation and management of agro-biodiversity, soil and water conservation and sustainable agriculture.  In the Participatory Research, MSSRF is adopting groups/collective approach and promoting local community-based institutions with the objectives of

  • Creating a local platform to ensure effective community participation with social equity
  • Building  new capacities and
  • Sustaining the results of the development interventions after project/programme  period

MSSRF has so far facilitated 16 GRIs under different Programme Areas either on common property or private property resources with varied objectives according to the

i.Nature and mandate of MSSRF  and

ii.Interests and needs of the communities living in the local context.

In private property focussed institutions, objective is to strengthen the input and output value chains with gender inclusiveness, whereas in common property resources based institutions focus is given to facilitate collective action for sustainable resource management.  In both the cases social capital is promoted through collective activities identified in their respective GI’s and group/federation meetings and interactions.

Main Objectives

  1. Building capacities of the team members to facilitate sustainable institutions
  2. Developing broader guidelines and framework at the organizational level for the GRIs
  3. Providing need based support to become autonomous institutions and
  4. Carrying out research studies and innovative strategies and models

Work Locations

Gender & GRI focal points are identified from each Programme Area and efforts are being taken to strengthen their capacity to understand the concepts and operational processes to integrate the development services across the country.

Achievements & Publications

Gender Integration and Mainstreaming (GIM) group

GIM group was evolved during 2010, have 18 senior and experienced members representing all PA’s. They function as a forum and slowly take the form of Community of Practice (self organizing) involved in knowledge sharing, peer supporting and recognized forum for learning on gender equity at the organizational level. The on-going activities are (i) Explicit mentor support to document and publish their work on inter-disciplinary aspects of Gender and Science and (ii) strengthen their capacities on gender issues through workshops and on-line discussions.

Gender Specific Research: The projects under this category focus on women specific issues as well as approach the issue with gender lens.


Stories of Change

All Stories
Women became Village Health Stewards

Traditional knowledge of medicinal plants and herb-based home-remedy systems are popular in India. Age-old Ayurveda system of treatment and thousands of folk practices that flourished were well-accepted by the people of Kerala. Wayanad district is well-known for its medicinal plant wealth and community knowledge associated with it. Conversely, the natural population of most of the potential medicinal species and rich traditional knowledge in the region are dwindling at an alarming pace.

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Publications and Newsletters

International Conference 2021

This fortnight e-synergy has some of the eminent participants’ videos who speak on various issues related to food and agriculture.

MSSRF Annual Report 2020-2021

Thirty-First Annual Report

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