Navigating through the tides of the pandemic: Updates from the Health and Environment Project

By Biswa Swaroop Das and Madhuri Mondal | The Health & Environment programme was initiated in February 2020 in Odisha. In the same month, COVID-19 started spreading across the entire country and we had to start working remotely due to lockdown and associated restrictions. In one of our previous newsletters we elaborated on how the team helped communities deal with the pandemic and its fallout. While providing relief to the fishing communities in distress, we realized how important it is to understand the impacts of the pandemic and the lockdown on these communities to better understand their needs and build their resilience to such external shocks.


In which we share a map

By Vineetha Venugopal | The importance of coastal commons such as beach spaces, sand dunes, mud flats etc. to fishing communities can’t be overstated. They rely on these spaces for keeping and mending boats and nets, catching prawns and crabs, and having community gatherings. Despite this, the value of these spaces is often ignored by the state while making executive and policy decisions on coastal development. Sometimes even people living in hinterland villages and towns adjacent to fishing hamlets are unaware of fishers’ relations with these spaces. To remedy this oversight,  the Communities and Resource Governance Programme at Dakshin started a participatory mapping initiative in Purnabandha fishing village in Ganjam. Our efforts were inspired by a mapping exercise undertaken by fisher groups in Chennai who recorded uses of coastal areas and commons, using this tool to fight back coastal grab. 


A flutter of the olden ways: The Learning Lab in April 2021

By Karishma Modi | Moumita Bhowmick and Aplonia Topno are the young, local teachers from the Andaman Islands who joined the Islands of Wisdom project of Dakshin Foundation’s Environmental Education programme in 2018. When the project began under the Wipro Applying Thought in Schools grant in 2017, the primary, direct beneficiaries of our work were students of classes 3 to 5 from in and around the South Andaman village of Wandoor. Although the classes we conducted after-school hours three times a week were restricted to students in classes 3 to 5, our fledgling library was open to children of all ages. 

After scarcely more than a year of engaging with our two, bright local teachers, we began to notice the power of the community in supporting young children in their education.


A Fantastic First Quarter

By Devathi Parashuram and Greta Ann Sam | The small but dedicated Current Conservation team has had a great start to 2021. At the beginning of February, we were all smiles, meeting for the first time in person, after almost a year of working remotely from different cities.

While we were busy with the COVID-delayed printing and distribution of all four issues from last year (Volume 14), we were simultaneously putting together the first issue of this year, which was published recently. We initiated content partnerships with two organizations—India-based Nature in Focus and Africa-centric Maliasili—and look forward to seeing them develop through the year.