The Grassroots Institute aims to undertake education, capacity building, innovative research, strengthen human development initiatives and take appropriate grassroots field action to empower marginalized communities, Indigenous peoples, ethnic groups, and threatened and vulnerable peoples.
Started in 2005 as training and research institution in India, the Grassroots Institute has emerged as independent action research, academic and capacity building organization. In the year 2018, the Grassroots Institute was registered as Non-Profit Corporation in Canada. The Grassroots Institute is governed by the Directors and authenticated by International Advisory Council of various disciplines.
In the future, the Grassroots Institute envisages developing it as capacity-building and education institution of excellence for evolving alternative policies, for transforming the public institutions, and for providing policy and technical assistance to governments, universities, civil society groups and people’s movements of various developing and underdeveloped countries.
The Grassroots Institute envisions effecting positive change through participation in a world in which local communities and First Nations who have been marginalized by environmental degradation, poverty, conflict and other forms of injustice gain control over their natural and biocultural resources, lives and livelihoods, and the policy decisions that affect their lives directly or indirectly.
The underlying thinking behind The Grassroots Institute is to bridge the gaps between theoretical and discourse based knowledge developed in academic institutions and the actual field milieu using or requiring that body of knowledge. Generally observed, there is mostly a unidirectional flow of knowledge from universities or research institutions to the rural/urban communities who are treated recipient ends of development interventions. The Grassroots Institute envisages to bank for research, trainings, documentation, publication, participatory initiatives and discourses upon local and Indigenous knowledge systems and communities’ primary experiences and experiments. The documentation, publication, trainings and academic discourses can better help mainstream the grassroots knowledge sets, local innovations, local needs and local technologies in the contemporary research, teaching and extension agenda of academic institutions/platforms. Obviously, the academic institutions and research organizations need to be supported and oriented to the real and grassroots issues, strengths, dynamism and needs of the common people especially Indigenous communities. In order to realize this paradigm construct, all teachers and researchers in academic institutions should contribute to field implementation projects, and all field staff of practice-based organizations should teach or assist the students. This way, all teachers will become field practitioners too. They would have a combine of the theoretical knowledge and practical insights at a time. The philosophy of the “grassroots” validates the same interface of ground reality with the rhetoric or theory (The Grassroots Institute promotes this philosophy).
With the above background and objectives, the Grassroots Institute has started publishing the journals to provide opportunities to budding researchers, young academics, scholars, teachers and field practitioners not only to document and research relevant aspects and changes at the grassroots level but also communicate the results of their findings. Their findings should reach the public domain and mainstream/elite academics. Intention of our journals is also to stimulate debates, discourses and new thinking among research communities, academics, field practitioners and policy makers for people-centric right orientation and progress.
The Grassroots Institute specializes in developing the skills and potential of individuals and attempts to deliver multicultural education and training. Capacity building activities include facilitation of effective human resource, democratic participation and community involvement in field programs, improved quality and equity in community initiatives, and integration of advocacy perspectives. It offers uniquely relevant, international-quality and professional education opportunities for the potential leaders, managers and field personnel of development projects of government agencies, support agencies, academic institutions, NGOs other civil society organizations.
Training will emerge further. Currently, summer schools, international academy, winter school constitute the gamut of trainings. Mostly international 2-3 programs every year. The aim is to build right perspectives of researchers, field practitioners, teachers and young scholars. Next plan is to enter first into Vocational Education and then into fully the Academic Education. We have separate website www.grassrootsglobal.net for our global capacity building programs.
Should you have further interests, you may please read information on our two websites http://grassrootsinstitute.net/summer-schools.html and www.grassrootsglobal.net
The Grassroots Institute has conducted series of field studies in the past on varied topics and issues. Methodology of delivering research functions includes conceptualizing, executing, disseminating and presenting the research studies that are mostly applied in nature. The Grassroots Institute does involve chiefly the exploratory empirical research and advocacy-oriented studies.
To improve the knowledge base and share the findings and experiences the Grassroots Institute takes part in discourses by organizing workshops, conferences, events, etc. or through presenting the research findings in national and international conferences, seminars, symposia, etc. Most importantly, the outcome of the studies is linked with capacity building and educational functions of The Grassroots Institute as also used in updating and formulating the policy dialogues and opinion building.
For further reading about our research works, please browse www.grassrootsinstitute.net/field-studies.html
The Grassroots Institute has executed couple of valuable projects in Great Himalayan National Park (India) and advocacy-based action research and policy advocacy projects addressing access and benefit sharing (ABS) and pastoralism and rangeland issues. The Grassroots Institute has certain focus on issues under identified initiatives. In the time to come, initiatives will be geared to plan, develop, and execute interventions in a sequential manner to evolve critical learning and advocacy-linked follow up actions.
We intend to bring about macro changes through alternative policy frameworks at the global, national or local scale. However, the prevailing policy frameworks can sustainably be influenced from first-hand empirical learning emanating from direct field projects. Therefore, the Grassroots Institute thinks the projects in a continuum of field action, advocacy interventions and policy change process.
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