The Kaigal Environment and Education program (KEEP) is an effort to observe and understand the relationship people share with their environment. It is located in the Kaigal Valley of the Palamner Ghats in Chittoor District, Andhra Pradesh. Besides bordering the Kaundinya elephant sanctuary, the forest is also home to many tribal communities, with immense knowledge of the forest.
The program began as an extension of The Valley School environment science curriculum, when a group of senior school children visited the community in the summer of 1999. They studied land use, conducted door-to-door socio economic surveys and studied and documented the biodiversity in the area.
The project on forest conservation was initiated in 2002 with the participation from the local community. From there the KEEP has expanded its areas of work in the following areas:
- Conservation of the forest and its biodiversity
- Research in ecology and conservation by establishing linkages with premier research institutions
- Education for the children of the tribal communities
- Providing livelihood opportunities for the tribal communities
- Environment education
The education for the community children and the livelihood programme have provided children and a large section of the community a sense of self- worth and confidence that allow them to function in the society.
For more details, please refer to the Kaigal website.