India open grants fund

Aim of the Fund

This Fund seeks to meet our strategic aim to enable vulnerable communities living in priority geographical areas to improve their lives.

Many communities in India have inherent strengths which are often overlooked when modern development frameworks are used to view them. They have closely knit societies, progressive views and approaches to resource utilisation and sustainability, and are extremely conscious of their relationship with the environment. Their traditional knowledge has relevance to modern ways of living.

But traditional communities face many challenges. They are riven by attitudes that promote inequality, mostly due to caste. They are strongly patriarchal and not necessarily democratic in their outlook. The opening up of spaces, development of infrastructure, particularly roads, and hegemony of the ‘modern development paradigm’ have all led them to become vulnerable. They are now unfortunately living on the margins and have been excluded in the development process.

Movements, over time, of people to urban centres, driven by economic forces, have transported some of these issues to urban centres. Urban development concerns emerge largely around building a balance between the hugely important roles that migrants have and will play and the ability of urban centres to provide for them. Addressing the concerns of the urban poor is a significant development challenge, but knowledge and experience is far less than for rural settings.