Action Research Programs: Community-Based Conservation and Development

Earlier in my career, I worked at the Institute of Integrated Development Studies (IIDS)-a leading research organization-in Nepal. IIDS implements action research programs, which are based on the concept of “Self-reliant Development of the Poor by the Poor” to support grass-roots institutions created by marginal and socially excluded groups. Depending on the needs and priorities identified by these institutions, the programs implement a wide range of participatory activities to support livelihoods, including community forestry, savings, micro-credit lending, food security, and agroforestry. These action research programs provided me with the opportunities to learn about rural livelihoods and local institutions, which I believe prepared me for further training in international development and eventually in anthropology. Several donor agencies, including the USAID, HELVETAS, SNV, and CECI supported IIDS’s action research programs.