With a dual focus on both research and practice (praxis), we bring a research orientation to both the design of our programs and our understanding of the problem we have set out to solve.
Through intensive and field oriented research from the ground, we have begun to build up a repository of knowledge related to youth aspirations in remote communities, challenges to upward mobility and limitations of livelihood pathways in our project areas. Through research backed interventions, we aim to provide the right kind of support at the right time to young people in rural and small-town India
This project, titled “Grounded Imaginaries” aims to document and communicate existing stories of community resilience and adaptation to climate change across 3 regions: the Western Himalayan region, South India and Australia.
Through this project, IABT identified and worked with 3 exemplary local communities who are actively participating in shaping their own climate-resilient futures.
This is a project about stories and action. Through this project, we propose that an imaginary already exists, in the stories of numerous communities around the world already responding to climate-changing conditions, crafting and forging different futures. These examples range from sustainable local food, regenerative farming, community energy and transition movements to communities planning for climate adaptation.
In 2019, in collaboration with Udhyam, an entrepreneurship project based in Uttarakhand’s Kumaon region, we undertook a study of youth aspirations in 6 districts of the Himalayan state.
We collected insights on youth career aspirations, the driving forces behind them, as well as the barriers youth face in taking action toward fulfilling these aspirations.
Our study found that there is a high demand for government jobs, especially in the army, in Uttarakhand. Youth in the region are also open to entrepreneurship, however this is in most cases a backup option and not a priority goal.
Additionally, the perceptions of stakeholders in the youth’s ecosystem, such as their parents, friends and community members were found to play a role in their career aspirations and actions. Youth across the six districts also perceived a lack of awareness, guidance, as well as opportunity.
Based on what we learnt from that study, we are now piloting an intervention aimed at building awareness and agency in youth from Pithoragarh, a remote region in the state.
IABT collaborated with the Integrated Mountain Initiative on ‘Learning during the lockdown’, a rapid assessment conducted between March-May 2020 to gain a bird’s eye view of digital learning across Higher Education institutions in the Indian Himalayan region during the Covid-19 pandemic. Through quantitative and qualitative surveys, the report captures the voices of 598 students and 17 educators respectively from 11 mountainous states and Union Territories.
The publication is intended to be a step towards designing education policies that are better informed, contextually appropriate, and better suited to the needs of Himalayan youth.