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PAR - Tata Institute for Social Sciences (Mumbai)





Sunil Santha (, (On CLSI and the broader PAR project)

Devisha Sasidevan (, (On CLSI and the broader PAR project)

Sowmya Balasubramaniam ( (On the PAR component by Hooga Seed Keepers)

Deepankar Panda ( (On the PAR Component by

Atul Raman ( (On the PAR Component by

Involved Institutions 

Project Overview 

This research examines how collaborative and co-constructive action research could

  1. enable grassroots-level actors to enhance their adaptive capacities and entrepreneurial capabilities to livelihood and environmental uncertainties at the local level;

  2.  strengthen alumni networks and organisations in facilitating climate action initiatives at the grassroots through their start-ups and social innovations; and

  3. promote awareness and develop capacities of post-graduate social work students to undertake participatory action research projects towards meaningful climate action initiatives.


The PAR is largely guided by the Adaptive Innovation Framework for Climate Action, which was evolved through the learning and research activities at the Centre for Livelihoods and Social Innovation (CLSI), School of Social Work, TISS. Adaptive Innovation refers to “people-centred innovation processes by which local community actors collectively analyse their own situations in the context of social and ecological transitions; forge constructive partnership with other relevant actors to dialogue, ideate and develop working models; and implement and critically observe, reflect and validate their adaptive strategies to the emergent contexts. These processes are situated, reflective, context specific, developmental and committed to the values of care, justice and solidarity” (Santha, 2020: 178). This action research project envisages collaboration and partnership between diverse interconnected actors, namely (i) faculty and students at the Centre for Livelihoods and Social Innovation, School of Social Work; (ii) two different Not-for-Profit start-ups (i) Hooga Seed Keeper Collectives and (ii) Foundation] that were founded by two recently graduated alumni of the CLSI; and (iii) grassroots-level community actors and collectives that are facilitated by these two social enterprises.

Vignettes from the Field

During our Situational Analysis, a woman farmer said:

“We procure the seeds from the nearby fertiliser shop. This time we had to buy seeds at least thrice! The first time we bought it, it did not germinate. Second time, seeds got burnt, and it started growing well only after the third purchase. We lost around 4000Rs just to buy seeds. This is the life of a farmer today!”


We also found out from the seed keepers that native seeds had the power to withstand climate change impacts. However, farmers are not able to find them anywhere these days!


Our collective effort via this PAR is to address such concerns at the grassroots.

Research Briefs: 

  • Strengthening University Engagement in Participatory Climate Action Initiatives: Insights from Practice.

Dowload here

  • Navigating Climate Vulnerability: Towards Inclusive and Transparent Climate-Resilient Housing Solutions in Cyclone- Prone Villupuram, Tamil Nadu, India.

Dowload here

  • Enhancing Climate Resilience through Heirloom Seeds and Local Knowledge: A Policy Imperative for Small- Scale Farmers and Seed Keeper Networks in India.

Download here

Adaptive Innovation and Climate Action: A PAR with Students, Social Entrepreneurs, and Community Actors

Research Briefs TISS Mumbai
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