grantees » Samita Vasudevan, 1979

Samita  Vasudevan, India

Samita Vasudevan is a natural resource manager from India, dedicated to the raising awareness and researching the livelihood issues concerning indigenous forest dwelling communities in the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. On completing her forest management course she joined the Keystone Foundation where she worked on managing the interface between conservation, enterprise development and indigenous livelihoods. Samita says of her time at the Keystone Foundation that “I have spent 3 years moving up and down the country learning about the livelihood concerns of indigenous people…in the process I have gained ground experience of forest communities and have developed a keen sense of interest towards social research.”

It is this interest that lead Samita to be nominated for the Joke-Waller-Hunter Initiative and on receiving the news of her successful nomination, she enrolled onto a Master in International Development Research (MRes) at the University of East Anglia, UK. By taking part in this Masters Samita was able amongst other things to increase her understanding of the issues facing indigenous people worldwide and sharpen her analytical abilities in social research. She adamant, …my analytical skills have improved which contributes greatly to my leadership plans of advocating pro poor policies in natural resources.”

Once back in India Samita was able to propagate her knowledge and contribute better to Keystone’s internal capacity building, by using Keystone’s network of Non-governmental Organisations (NGOs) and governmental agencies to upscale and transfer the knowledge she had gain; she says The classroom training gained from my Masters coupled with my experience of working in Keystone helped me contribute to Keystone through rigorous action research.”

Samita continues to do research on environmental issues with a gender perspective. She has also now taken up a new job as a programme manager in the Sir Dorabji Tata Trust and is travelling around the country to help NGOs build relevant and effective projects. As Keystones set her on this journey, she remains indebted to them and is often in touch with friends and ex-colleagues at the organisation.

Nominated by

Snehlata Nath; Director of Programmes at the Keystone Foundation; India.