Founded by Helena Norberg-Hodge, ISEC is a non-profit organization dedicated to the revitalization of both biological and cultural diversity, and the strengthening of local communities and economies worldwide. “ISEC’S emphasis is on education for action: moving beyond single issues to look at the more fundamental influences that shape our lives.”
Co-founded by Manish Jain, Shikshantar is an applied research institute dedicated to catalyzing radical systemic transformation of education in order to facilitate Swaraj-development throughout India. “After fifty years of so-called development efforts, and despite great scientific advancements, India (and the rest of the world) finds itself mired in a paralyzing socio-cultural, environmental and spiritual crisis – overwhelming in its scale, intensity and rate of growth…. While education has been framed as the cure to this crisis, in reality, the factory model of schooling is part of the problem…. The 19th-century model of factory-schooling today stands in the way of building organic learning societies for the 21st century.”
Founded by Vandana Shiva, Navdanya is actively involved in the rejuvenation of indigenous knowledge and culture. It has created awareness on the hazards of genetic engineering, defended people’s knowledge from biopiracy and food rights in the face of globalization and climate change. Navdanya is a women-centered movement for the protection of biological and cultural diversity.”
Survival works for tribal peoples’ rights around the world, waging numerous campaigns against incursions from mining, oil, timber, ranching, and development interests. It is funded almost entirely by concerned members of the public and some foundations. It does not take national government money, because national governments are the main violators of tribal peoples’ rights, nor does it take money from corporations which might be abusing tribal peoples’ rights.
Oakland Institute is an independent policy think tank whose mission is to increase public participation and promote fair debate on critical social, economic and environmental issues in both national and international forums. Oakland Institute has been in the forefront of research, analysis and activism in the area of indigenous land rights and the impacts of international “land grabs,” or speculative foreign investments in agricultural land, which are displacing millions of rural people worldwide and creating a “new colonialism.”
For nearly 40 years Cultural Survival has partnered with Indigenous communities around the world to defend their lands, languages, and cultures. Cultural Survival works toward a world in which Indigenous Peoples speak their languages, live on their land, control their resources, maintain thriving cultures, and participate in broader society on equal footing with other peoples.
Minority languages are being increasingly replaced by various politically, economically, or socio-culturally dominant ones. Every two weeks the last fluent speaker of a language passes on and with him/her goes literally hundreds of generations of traditional knowledge encoded in these ancestral tongues. Nearly half of the world’s languages are likely to vanish in the next 100 years.
The mission of the Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages is to promote the documentation, maintenance, preservation, and revitalization of endangered languages worldwide through linguist-aided, community-driven multi-media language documentation projects.
Established in 1972, the Barefoot College is a non-government organisation that has been providing basic services and solutions to problems in rural communities, with the objective of making them self-sufficient and sustainable. These ‘Barefoot solutions’ can be broadly categorised into solar energy, water, education, health care, rural handicrafts, people’s action, communication, women’s empowerment and wasteland development. The College believes that for any rural development activity to be successful and sustainable, it must be based in the village as well as managed and owned by those whom it serves. Therefore, all Barefoot initiatives whether social, political or economic, are planned and implemented by a network of rural men and women who are known as ‘Barefoot Professionals’. Rural men and women irrespective of age, who are barely literate or not at all, and have no hope of getting even the lowest government job, are being trained to work as day and night school teachers, doctors, midwives, dentists, health workers, balsevikas, solar engineers, solar cooker engineers, water drillers, hand pump mechanics, architects, artisans, designers, masons, communicators, water testers, phone operators, blacksmiths, carpenters, computer instructors, accountants and kabaad-se-jugaad professionals. With little guidance, encouragement and space to grow and exhibit their talent and abilities, people who have been considered ‘very ordinary’ and written off by society, are doing extraordinary things that defy description.
“Swaraj University is a two year learning programme for youth. The focus of the programme is on self-designed learning and on green entrepreneurship, including exploration of basic business skills within the context of ecological sustainability and social justice. This self-directed learning process invites learners to identify their hearts’ visions and engages them in developing the skills, relationships and practices they need to manifest those visions. The programme is as much about developing the capacities and confidence we need to create and pursue our unique learning paths as it is about strengthening the leadership capacity and right livelihood opportunities in communities.”