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In association of Grassroots India, the Grassrots Institute hosted over 25 qualified Interns from over 15 countries such as USA, Australia, New Zealand, UK, the Netherlands, Spain, Latvia, Germany, Poland, Greece, Switzerland, Colombia, India, etc. Most of Interns worked on specified study or action projects over a period of 4-6 months. The Grassroots Institute provided intensive academic and logistic support to the hosted Interns.
Brief details about some of the previous Interns are given below:
Ms. Jana Wendler, a German national, studied Politics, Philosophy and Economics at Oxford University, UK. She joined the Internship in September 2006 and completed her tenure in February 2007. She worked intensively in Grassroots India coordinated ‘Food & Democracy Campaign’ in Sarguja (Chhattisgarh). After doing very interesting research in sample villages of Sarguja district she produced a wonderful report “No Democracy, No Food: Status of People’s Access to and Control over Livelihood & Development Resources under PESA”. Her report was based on empirical field studies and was revealing. She presented her study in Regional Consultation on People’s Access to Food and Accountable Governance held on 3 February 2007 at Raipur (Chhattisgarh).

She also worked on few project proposals. Most importantly, she studied the status of agriculture and horticulture including traditional farming practices and the organic agriculture being promoted by Grassroots India in Himachal Pradesh. Occasional Paper No. 7 entitling “Agriculture and Horticulture in Kullu District of Himachal Pradesh: Practice, Problems and Progress” has been published based on her study, and includes some very interesting findings. This paper has been available in e-library of Asia-Pacific Mountain Network (APMN).
Mr. Bartosz Arabik, a national of Poland who was educated at Johannes Kepler University at Linz, Austria and University of Wroclaw, Warsaw, joined the Internship in October 2006 and completed his tenure in March 2007. He worked on understanding the macro issues of governance in context of people’s access to food and human rights. After studying he wrote a report “Examining the Accountability of Governance Systems in Sarguja, Chhattisgarh”. He presented his study in Regional Consultation on People’s Access to Food and Accountable Governance held on 3 February 2007 at Raipur (Chhattisgarh).
Mr. Christopher Connolly, a US national with degree in International Business from San Diego State University, USA, studied International Relations at Oxford New College, UK. He joined as Intern at Grassroots Media Initiative in the project “Communicating the Voice of Voiceless”. He traveled Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh for documenting the problem and success stories. The NGOs that participated in the process were: Shri Gandhi Seva Ashram, Ambikapur; Margdarshak Seva Sansthan, Ambikapur; Mahila Shiksha Kalyan Evam Prashikshan Parishad, Bilaspur; Gram Vikas Mandali, Mungeli; Sankalp, Raipur; Saathi Sanstha, Kondagaon; Apna School (Shyam Bahadur Namra), Anuppur; Dalit Sangh, Sohagpur; Pararth Samiti, Chhindwara; Baihar Nari Utthan Samiti, Balaghat; Nav Bhartiya Nari Vikas Samiti, Ballia; Rural Technology & Development Centre, Palampur; National Himalayan Policy Campaign, Chamba. During his stay with Grassroots Institute, he produced many good stories that are being sent for publishing.
Ms. Madara Maurina, a national of Latvia, and BA in International Studies from Minnesota State University, USA, worked with Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Latvia before joining Internship in “Dalit Human Rights Program” of Grassroots India in Banjar, HP. Through her work she highlighted that the Dalits in mountains of Himalayas have been socially, economically and environmentally deprived. Economic deprivation of dalits is coupled with ‘environmental injustice’. She undertook study on Dalits in 20 villages of Banjar block of Kullu district.
Ms. Sarah Jane Cooper, a national of England, and MSc in International Natural Resource Management from University of Wales, Bangor, had worked in Ethiopia and Australia before joining the Internship in “Agro-biodiversity Conservation Project” in Great Himalayan National area, HP. She got sponsorship from Tropical Agriculture Association, UK. In her 6 months tenure she n Intern, Ms. Sarah Cooper, from UK worked in the project for 6 months and produced 2 valuable reports: (1) Mapping Local Crop Production – Assessment of Agro-biodiversity in Western Himalayas; (2) Documentation of Traditional Agricultural Practices in Western Himalayas. The studies have mapped and documented scientifically the traditionally grown crops like maize, wheat, barley, kathu, garlic, beans, millet, pulse, potato, pea, cauliflower, cabbage and onion. These 2 studies have been conducted in 22 villages of Nohanda and Tung panchayats of Banjar tehsil of Kullu district. Between May 2007 and December 2007, about 250 farmer families actively participated in the studies. Other key informants and knowledge repositories were consulted during the studies. In the studies, the support and cooperation was extended by Dr. S. S. Sawant, Scientist-in-Charge, G. B. Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment & Development, Mohal-Kullu campus, and by Dr. Jitendra Sharma, Sr. Scientist, H. P. Agriculture University’s Research Station at Bijaura (Kullu).
Ms. Eliane Jenny, a national of Switzerland and MA in Social Anthropology from University of Zurich, has earlier worked in Indonesia. She joined the Internship in May 2007 for 6 months and stayed with Samvedna at Panna (MP) for mapping the declining sex-ratio. Thereafter, she researched on ‘women and democracy issues’ while hosted by Grassroots India coordinated Food & Democracy Campaign in Chhattisgarh. She produced a good report “Panchayati Raj Institutions in Sarguja, Chhattisgarh: Have 73rd Amendment Act and PESA empowered the women and tribes?”
Ms. Leonoor Wijnans, a Dutch national and MSc in Biology from Wageningen University and MSc in Public Health in Developing Countries from London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, London, worked previously at International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Cameroon, Plant Protection Service of the Netherlands, International Water Management Institute, Sri Lanka, and Ministry of Health, Brazil. She joined Internship in “Health & Gender Program” of Grassroots India and undertook assessment of female reproductive rights in Jogindernagar tehsil of Mandi district in Himachal Pradesh with the field facilitation of PARA. She found that the reproductive health status of women was poor. Gynaecological morbidity was estimated to be high, and knowledge and understanding of HIV/AIDS and prevention and management of STIs was low. Societal values make it difficult for women to access information about their reproductive system and reproductive health. Menstruation forms a mystery for many, leading to the acceptance of derogatory practices. Through shame and a feeling of impurity menstrual practices are often unhygienic giving ways to infections of the female reproductive tract. Skilled birth attendance is unavailable for most, and although cultural practices surrounding childbirth are rich, they could adversely affect mother
Ms. Tullia Gilarry, a national of Australia and Masters in International Development & Environmental Analysis from Monash University, Clayton, had previously worked with Monash Governance Research Unit and World Vision Australia. She joined as Intern in “Agro-biodiversity Conservation Project” of Grassroots India in Jibhi Valley, Banjar (HP). Situation analysis of mountain agriculture has been performed by Ms. Tullia Gilarry. She analyzed the agricultural production systems, market, economy and government support available.