Vikalp Varta with Gram Vaani

Innovative use of Technology during the Second Wave of Covid-19!

in the new Vikalp Varta 2.0 with Rohan Katepallewar, manager at Gram Vaani and Deepak Kumar, Senior Community Manager at Gram Vaani who share how they used technology to tackle Covid-19 in India! 

Date: Friday, 6th August 2021
Time: 6:00 – 7:30pm IST
Zoom Link:

(No Registration Required)

About Gram Vaani
Gram Vaani started in 2009 is a social tech company incubated out of IIT-Delhi. They use technology to create participatory media platforms that people find accessible and adaptable. Using simple technologies and social context to design tools, they have been able to impact communities- more than 3 million lives touched through 25+ district and partner platforms covering 20+ Indian states. Their platforms have also covered 5 countries beyond India – Ethiopia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Namibia, South Africa. 

Brief note on Vikalp Varta

– During the second wave of Covid Pandemic, Gram Vaani addressed a host of problems to tackle the crisis. They made efforts in 5 areas
– Addressed the stigma and fear around covid through their Interactive Voice Response (IVR) lines and teleconsultation
– Addressing the lack of awareness and covid appropriate behaviour through developing audio content in multiple languages based on technical advisories
– Facilitating emergency support such as cash, transportation, ambulances, oxygen, etc. to people requesting help on their platform especially to those who do not have social security mechanisms
– Deploying voice-based survey tools & registration systems for supporting vaccine registration, especially for those, who were unable to use smartphones or access the online vaccine registration systems themselves
Envisioning an IVR system for monitoring and triaging of patients under home-care, to escalate in time any at-risk cases.
Alternatives in Pandemic Times: Resistance, Recovery and Re-Existence – a Webinar series

Salween Peace Park, Myanmar: Strengthening Karen People’s Resistance, Resilience and Response to Conflict and Covid-19 Crises
with Saw Paul Sein Twa and Naw Wah Ku Shee

Sunday 1st August – 14:00 (UTC/GMT)
The Salween Peace Park is an initiative in Myanmar declared by Indigenous Karen people in December 2018 to bring peace, cultural harmony, self determination, and environmental integrity after 70 years of armed conflict in the region. However, the community continues to face threats from the Burmese military dictatorship. In this webinar, Saw Paul Sein Twa and Naw Wah Ku Shee talk about the experience of the Karen people working towards self determination, navigating a global pandemic, and facing a violent military offensive.

More information and registration

Direct access to the session

About the presenters
Saw Paul Sein Twa
Paul is an indigenous Karen from Burma/Myanmar, co-founder and Director of the Karen Environmental and Social Action Network (KESAN)— a non-profit NGO, Member of the ICCA Consortium, dedicated to livelihood security and respect for the Indigenous Karen people in Burma/ Myanmar. Paul has worked for decades to better the conditions of his people, most recently as one of the main inspirers and key supporters of the self-proclamation of the Salween Peace Park by its custodian communities. The Salween Peace Park (SPP) is an emblematic territory of life of enormous importance for both nature and culture. It protects the last dam-free main river in Asia and 5,485 km2 of globally significant biodiversity. In 2020, the Salween Peace Park was awarded the Equator Prize.
Naw Wah Ku Shee

Naw Wah Ku Shee is a prominent Karen activist working to promote human rights, democracy and peace, with a focus on women and ethnic communities especially in conflict areas of Burma/Myanmar. She is currently director at Karen Peace Support Network (KPSN), the largest network of Karen community-based organisations. She is also a member of the Karen Women’s Organisation’s Steering Committee, with a membership of over 60,000, working to empower women in the struggle for peace and gender equality and for a federal democratic Burma.

Our past webinar sessions videos are available in this link.

Global Tapestry of Alternatives
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Virtual workshop about Rangelands and Pastoralism in Asia

Rangelands and pastoralism are essential for millions of people around the world, providing or contributing to livelihoods, food security, and cultural identity. Around half of the Earth’s land surface is rangeland. As rangelands are often among the harshest of environments, many pastoral communities have adopted a seasonal migration lifestyle in their ancestral territories in order to increase their resilience to natural challenges and simultaneously to sustain natural resources. As the late Dr Taghi Farvar regularly noted, “the migratory practices of indigenous peoples are almost always de facto nature conservation strategies”.To acknowledge the vital roles of rangelands and pastoralism for human wellbeing and nature conservation and to support and bring greater recognition to the upcoming International Year of Rangelands and Pastoralists (IYRP) in 2026, a virtual workshop is scheduled for July 16, 2021, on Pastoral Communities’ Territories of Life in grasslands/rangelands across Eurasia.The workshop is co-hosted by the ICCA Consortium, the ICCA-GSI, GEF SGP (UNDP), and collaboration of Regional IYRP Support Groups (RISGs) for the IYRP 2026: East Asia, South Asia, Middle East, and Central Asia & Mongolia. The high-level objectives of this inaugural special event are to establish an Asia-wide Learning Network on rangelands and pastoralism, particularly in relation to local and indigenous pastoral communities’ Territories of Life, and to promote the IYRP 2026.The specific objectives of this one-day special event are the following:
To share experiences (best practices, key challenges) on rangelands and pastoral communities’ territories of life/ ICCAs from across Asia

To declare support for the International Year of Rangelands and Pastoralism (IYRP)
To determine key topics, format, and timing for follow-up events and other actions
To commemorate the life, work and vision of Dr M. Taghi Farvar

During this event participants will contribute toward the planning of a series of workshops in Asia to further advance the above objectives and enhance enabling environments that promote and strengthen the role of territories of life / ICCAs in the conservation of nature at various levels.Dr M. Taghi Farvar (1942-2018) was a pioneer in bringing to light the collective conservation capacities of indigenous peoples and local communities. Throughout his life, he defended their collective rights over their territories, and sought to influence relevant policies at national and international levels. An account of Dr Farvar’s life and achievements is available at

The workshop will be held on July 16, 2021 from 16:00-20:00 ULAT (check local times here).

The workshop will be held on Zoom. To register, please follow this link: deadline for the registration is 15 July 2021. 

For any queries, please write to [email protected]
Alternatives in Pandemic Times: Resistance, Recovery and Re-Existence – a Webinar series
Confronting COVID 19 with dignity and strength: Resilience of small-scale fisheries in Costa Rica
with Vivienne Solis Rivera (Costa Rica) and Nalini Nayak (India)

Friday 2nd July – 3:00 PM (UTC/GMT)

This webinar will share the experience of the association between CoopeSoliDar R.L and small scale fisher communities in Costa Rica in the defense of their rights to responsible, small-scale fisheries. In particular, the experience in the context of COVID 19 and how community resilience has been a result of collective action, community-based governance models, equity, and the innovation of a fair market. These aspects have guaranteed community livelihood security in a moment of great struggle, when traditional markets and tourism collapsed.

More information and registration
Direct access to the session

About the presenter
Vivienne Solis Rivera Is a Costa Rican biologist with a MSc. degree in Ecology from the University of Lawrence in Kansas. She has devoted her professional life to the support and recognition of the efforts of IPLC to conservation and sustainable use in the Central American region. She is the founder of CoopeSoliDar R.L.
About the moderator
Nalini Nayak is an activist, feminist and trade unionist based in Kerala, India. She has been involved with coastal communities and their issues for over three decades, associated with Protsahan Trivandrum, Mitraniketan Vagamon and the Self Employed Women’s Association. From SEWA Kerala and International Collective in Support of Fishworkers, she will moderate the session.

Happy to share the news that one of our books has been shortlisted for the Neev Book Award…The Miracle on Sunderbaag Street by Nandita da Cunha and illustrated by Priya Kuriyan (Emerging Readers Category)!

To read the book access Our Store

#NeevLiteratureFestival #NeevBookAward2021 #BookWeLove #LoveToReadToLove #IndianLiterature #Literature #LitFest #ChildrensLiterature #ChildrensBooks

Dear All,
We welcome you to join us in restarting the series – Vikalp Varta: Dialogues on Covid Action.
The first webinar of the series is ‘How did the Rural Communities Tackle Covid-19?’
In this webinar, we have invited Regi and Lalitha of Tribal Health Initiative, and Suresh Chhanga of Kunariya Panchayat, to share their experience of tackling the second wave of Covid-19 in Sittilingi, Tamil Nadu, and Kutch, Gujarat respectively

Date: 25th June 2021 Time: 7:00 – 8:30 pm IST Registration Link

This webinar will be available on Zoom and Vikalp Sangam’s Youtube Live (on the day of the event.)
If you would like to watch how they fared during the first wave of  COVID-19, please find below the webinar recording for the series of Vikalp Vartas with the Tribal health initiative and Kunariya panchayat.  

Vikalp Vārtā # 18 -Weaving together health care, food, farming, craft, education and self-governanceRegi and Lalitha from Tribal Health Initiative Madheswari, Panchayat President.Watch here:

Vikalp Vārtā #6 – Panchayat’s Response through Self-Governance and Inter-generational LearningSuresh Chhanga (Sarpanch, Kunariya village, Kachcch) along with members of village COVID-response teamWatch here:

In its 27th year of continuous publication, we are happy to present the 150th issue of the Protected Area Update, the bimonthly newsletter on wildlife and protected areas produced by Kalpavriksh.

Support the PA Update via subscriptions and donations.

For details pls write to Pankaj Sekhsaria, Editor, PA Update

Email: [email protected]

To access the 150th issue please click here.

It is our pleasure to share with you that on behalf of Vikalp Sangam, four organizations namely Development Alternatives, National Coalition for Natural Farming, Kalpavriksh, and Bhoomi College will be co-hosting a series of dialogues as part of the World Localization Program 2021. The theme for these discussions will be centred around Local Green Enterprises with a focus on enabling Local Food Systems – local markets/ farmers markets’ for native/local agriculture produce stressing on dignified livelihoods, reverse migration, and natural farming. The discussions will take place virtually.

The attached poster has some more details about these discussions.In order to register for this series of dialogues, please click on In case further information is required, please contact [email protected].  

Warm Regards,

Vocal4Local – India Chapter Team

Now in Marathi, to read the entire Newsletter, please click here.

One of the films commissioned through the Vikalp Sangam process, “Voices for Vedanthangal” was featured in an article in the Chennai City paper of The New Indian Express.

For those who may have missed the film, please click here.
(This film was part of the Duleep Mathai project where all the activities involved youth or youth-led projects).

Our children’s publication “People and Wildlife” was featured in the Ethnicity category of the Diversity Section of the book art exhibition of Parag Initiative’s Big Little Book Award. Also, 6-year old Lola from Mumbai created a beautiful art work based on our publication “The Miracle on Sunderbaag Street” in the Children’s Art Wall of the exhibition. 
The exhibition includes art by BLBA winner illustrators, budding illustrators and children. It also gives a peep into some picture books addressing diversity that many publishers have been working on for years. 

1. Child Art based on The Miracle on Sunderbaag Street:

2. People and Wildlife figures in the Ethnicity category of the Diversity Section where different categories are mentioned (like Disability, gender etc):
We are happy to share that ‘The Poop Book’ written by Tejaswini Apte-Rahm and Sujatha Padmanabhan and illustrated by Priya Kuriyan is on the shortlist for the Jarul award 2021-22.

Please click here to read more:
We are happy to share that “The Miracle on Sunderbaag Street” written by Nandita da Cunha that KV published has made it to the Parag Honor List 2021.

Please click here to read more:

Now in Marathi, to read the entire Newsletter, please click here.

Types of books
Illustrated storybooks and non-fiction books for children aged 6 to 14 years

We are looking for fiction and non-fiction books on the themes of environment, nature, wildlife (especially lesser known species) and community conservation based in India.

How to submit?
• We accept manuscripts in English.
• Please send all manuscripts by email to Sujatha Padmanabhan [email protected]
• Please do not submit previously published work.
• Please send complete manuscripts. You may send as many as you like.
• We will take up to three months to review your manuscript and get back to you.