National statistics point to the severe problem of hunger and undernutrition within indigenous communities in India. Several state interventions exist, in terms of both supplementary feeding and nutritional literacy, yet not much progress is visible. This paper explores the experiences of a participatory, educational, action research programme on nutrition for indigenous men and women in Eastern India. Spanning a period of three years, it examines the adult learning approaches involved in the process, and their implications for gender relations as well as improved nutritional outcomes. It became clear, that to bring change, it was essential that the facilitators listen to women’s voices and question their own assumptions about ethnicity/caste, class and gender, as well as nutrition. Based mainly on their field reports, this paper seeks to highlight the emergent insights in terms of indigenous women’s priorities, their focus on the ‘collective’, and emphasis on recognition and reciprocity, vis-a-vis institutions of both state and society, articulated during the process of dialogue, reflection, action and learning.
- participatory action research
- indigenous women