DEVELOPMENT WITHOUT DESTRUCTION,
EMPOWERMENT FOR ENABLING CHOICES.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.” - Margaret Mead

WHAT WE DO

Wide-ranging in scope, our programmes cover diverse themes in international development, all playing a part in contributing towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the ‘leave no one behind’ agenda.

Complimenting this, our programme design aims to connect locally-led initiatives with national development drives, conducting new research and producing vital publications to inform policy and lead the debate across government, research groups, educational institutions, NGOs and civil society at local, national and international levels.... Read More

Wide-ranging in scope, our programmes cover diverse themes in international development, all playing a part in contributing towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the ‘leave no one behind’ agenda.

Complimenting this, our programme design aims to connect locally-led initiatives with national development drives, conducting new research and producing vital publications to inform policy and lead the debate across government, research groups, educational institutions, NGOs and civil society at local, national and international levels.  

Influencing our programmes content are Pragya’s current strategic priorities, those pervasive and intractable issues that intersect multiple programme areas. These include poverty and inequality, gender discrimination, climate change, poor governance and protracted conflict. You can read our full current five-year strategic plan here.

The specific projects that comprise each programme area vary by country according to local circumstance, so you can learn more about our work by following the links to the relevant country page from our Global homepage.

Show Less

APPROACH

Pragya’s Programme areas, and the projects that fall within them, have been conceived, refined and expanded over many years, and represent an approach to development that is at once modern and innovative, pragmatic and direct, yet sensitively embedded within cultural histories and delicate natural environments. Pragya’s global programmes work is guided by our... Read More

Pragya’s Programme areas, and the projects that fall within them, have been conceived, refined and expanded over many years, and represent an approach to development that is at once modern and innovative, pragmatic and direct, yet sensitively embedded within cultural histories and delicate natural environments. Pragya’s global programmes work is guided by our values.

·     We seek to gain a grounded understanding of issues by means of rigorous research and extended dialogue across the breadth of community life. 

·     Our projects are designed to bring innovative and scalable development solutions to the last mile in a way that maintains cultural and ecological integrity. 

·     Our work is grounded in long-term community partnerships where communities define the change they want to see, and we build capacity at the grassroots along with a sense of collective agency. 

·     Our programmes seek to tackle interlinked challenges and root causes simultaneously, through sustained engagement with communities, with a phased withdrawal towards sustainability.

In delivering our programme work, Pragya places a high value on systematic, quality Monitoring & Evaluation, and we use associated learnings to inform our future engagements in a continual process of appraisal and improvement, striving for peak efficiency and impact in all that we do.

Show Less
PROGRAMS
Home / What We Do / Research

RESEARCH

Pragya conducts wide-ranging research in all the countries in which we work. We undertake ethnographic research concerning last mile and marginalised populations, and the unique and often little-understood geographies and climates of remote regions of the world, using our findings and analysis to inform the policy debate in national governments and international institutions. Our research also investigates how technologies might best be applied to improve the wellbeing of communities in isolated regions lacking consistent power and subject to erratic and harsh climatic conditions. 

Application Research

Bridging technology gaps for remote and marginalized communities...

Application Research

Pragya has an integrated research and extension programme for developing and implementing improved technologies in an effort to address area specific problems and conditions, and primarily aimed at ensuring improved quality of life, livelihood security and natural resource sustainability. Pilot and demonstration projects are being carried out and training programmes conducted for potential users in India, Nepal and East Africa.

Knowledge Management

Collecting and managing a compendium of information on communities and geographies that continue to exist in relative obscurity...

Knowledge Management

Remote and unserved regions of the world are uncharted territory except for the intrepid traveller, and their people continue to exist in relative obscurity. In the absence of adequate information and research, policies usually fail to respect their geographical identity and address their unique problems. Pragya initiatives seek to document and thereby, preserve and revitalize the rich natural and cultural heritage of less-known peoples and regions.

Policy Research Studies

Enhancing understanding of remote areas and last-mile communities among key influencers and the wider public...

Policy Research Studies

An ongoing initiative of Pragya to enhance the understanding of remote areas and peoples among key influencers and the wider public, and address the current neglect in terms of development attention and policy focus. We undertake appropriate research to create a compendium of information on these remote and underserved regions, to enhance understanding among policy-makers and awareness in development workers, and thus catalyse area-specific policies & interventions. Our studies seek to examine critical issues and potential solutions, and help extend the frontiers of knowledge on the region with findings being used for policy determination and formulation. 

Overview of Research

The sensitive ecosystems of the Himalayas are highly susceptible to climate change and are under increasing pressure from inappropriate and escalating human development, with the region having already lost over 70% of its original habitat. Warming in the region is estimated at 3-5 times the global average, presenting a particular threat to alpine and sub-alpine flora.

Between 2003-2006, Pragya conducted extensive research across six states sampling the entire breadth of the high-altitude Himalayan belt of northern India, mapping the diversity and distribution of medicinal and aromatic plants, many of which are endemic to the region. The research inventoried the region’s herbal wealth, establishing the level of threat facing various species and identifying priority areas for conservation action. Findings were indexed in a scientific database for analysis and further action, and following a series of multi-stakeholder consultations at local and national levels focussed on conservation strategies for medicinal plants, our research helped shape programming at the National Medicinal Plants Board of the Government of India. 

With climate change disproportionately impacting the Himalayan region of northern India, natural disasters are increasing in frequency and severity, and we are seeing the emergence of disasters from newer phenomenon such as cloud bursts and Glacial Lake Outburst Floods. These disasters bring catastrophic loss of life and destruction of property and livelihoods to Himalayan populations. Aggravating the situation, poorly-planned or inappropriate human development is compromising Himalayan ecosystems that play a vital role in the region’s hydrogeological stability, contributing to the rise in disaster events. Pragya conducted wide-ranging qualitative and quantitative research and data analysis concerning the key hazards and early warning indicators across various Himalayan locations, involving consultations at the grassroots to gain insights from those directly affected and at risk, with further consultations with sector specialists and professionals including Himalaya experts, research institutions, NGOs, district authorities, national DRR authorities and international stakeholders. This research provided the bedrock for the development of a multi-stakeholder citizen-based Disaster Management System for the Himalaya

In 2006-07, Pragya undertook a study of the extent and nature of environmental and anthropogenic threats in Himalayan cold deserts. Using the status of 82 watersheds across two Himalayan states as indicators, the research sought to understand the level of threat to these regions in conjunction with their adaptive capacity, producing an overall vulnerability analysis. The findings of the study highlighted the correlation between human development and climate change impacts, including the depletion of natural resources upon which cold desert communities, and the highly integrated ecosystems of the Himalayas, depend for their continued integrity and security. The research, which identified key locales for ecological and socioeconomic support, received international recognition: Highly Commended Paper, Emerald Literati Network Awards for Excellence, 2011.

In 1998-2000, Pragya had conducted a study on an Appropriate Development Model for Cold Deserts, based on environmental conditions in cold deserts and development and infrastructure gaps, research which helped revise the Government of India’s Desert Development Programme to encompass cold deserts.

As part of our wider Climate Smart Agriculture work, Pragya is supporting experienced farmers to undertake crop research in the middle to high altitude band of the Himalayan region of northern India, to identify crop species and cultivation protocols under which different crops thrive with differing altitudes, temperatures and soil types. This is now being expanded to foothills, and in plains. In addition to research concerning improved yield and quality of established crops, Pragya is supporting the testing of more exotic, non-traditional crops to widen the produce base that farmers can put to market, with research spanning different sowing methods, timing of cultivation, pest and disease management measures and so on. Findings of this research have been collated into a digital crop advisory database for the Himalayan region which won the ‘ICT for Mountain Development Award 2016’.

REPORTS & PUBLICATIONS

Climate Change

International market prospects for sustainably sourced medicinal and aromatic plants in India

The aim of the report is to research and consider prospects for selling sustainably sourced medicinal and aromatic plants (MAPs) from rural Himalayan communities into international markets. The Whitley Fund for Nature commissioned this report as part of a five year project called “Water Access & Wasteland Development for Marginalised Groups in Himalayan Cold Deserts”...

Climate Change

Conflict Assessment - Northern Kenya

The arid/semi-arid northern districts (Turkana, Baringo, Marsabit, Samburu, Laikipia) are part of a conflict-affected region, ravaged by internal and cross-border conflict with raiders from Uganda, Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia. Pragya-Kenya staff under the guidance of Pragya UK undertook a research on Water-Climate Change-Conflict Nexus in 6 counties of Arid & Semi-arid Lands of northern Kenya.

Climate Change

DMS-HIMALAYA - (Disaster Management System – Himalaya)

In June 2013, high-intensity rain and cloudbursts in the Indian State of Uttarakhand in the Himalayas triggered a series of hydrologic and geologic disasters affecting more than 2,036,000 people and leading to one of the worst catastrophes of the decade. Banerji, Ipe and Basu through first-hand observations, vividly recapture the cascading combination disaster that occurred and the event trajectory...

Climate Change

Ecosystems-Based Disaster Risk Reduction: Scaling Up Eco-DRR

The Thematic Session, ‘Ecosystems based Disaster Risk Reduction (Eco-DRR): Scaling up Ecosystem based Disaster risk reduction in Development Plan- ning and Practice in Asia’ was part of the 7th Asian Ministerial Conference for Disaster Risk Reduction (AMCDRR). Pragya co-hosted the session with United Nations Environment Program (UNEP)and Ecosystem Services for Poverty Allevi- ation (ESPA).

Climate Change

Trafficking of Women and Girls in Nepal

Pragya carried out an in-depth thematic study on the issue of trafficking to better understand its different aspects, examine the prevalence and factors, and highlight gaps where intensive research or interventions might be undertaken, particularly to combat it in the aftermath of the 2015 earthquake in Nepal.

Climate Change

Community-based Disaster Risk Reduction - A CBDRR initiative in Bangladesh

Bangladesh is among the top 15 countries in the world with highest exposure to disaster. Pragya's program aims at enhancing disaster resilience among the vulnerable Char communities with risk reduction measures for natural disasters along with effective disaster response and a focus on empowerment of women and girls and protection from trafficking and other forms of violence.

Climate Change

Common Energy Facilities Based on Renewable Sources

From its decade-long pioneering work dedicat- ed to the economic development and environ- mental regeneration of the high-altitude region of the Indian Himalayas, Pragya—an NGO based in Gurgaon, India, focusing on appropriate development of vulnerable com- munities and sensitive ecosystems—devised the MVPower (Mountain Village Power) model.

Climate Change

Punishing poverty - How the failed ‘war on drugs’ harms vulnerable communities

The prohibitionist criminal justice approach that has dominated drug policy for the past 50 years continues to destroy livelihoods and claim lives. This report brings together experiences of some of the most marginalised communities affected by the so-called ‘war on drugs’ in India and Brazil. The report by Health Poverty Action is informed by research conducted in India by Pragya and in Brazil by Instituto Brasileiro de Ciências Criminais.