OpenSpace is a high quality knowledge institution. We provide information, systems and process support to help maximise the impact of civil society initiatives especially in social justice and equity.
Our experience is diverse, having worked simultaneously with grassroots groups and campaigns, national and international NGOs, and lobbying at the UN. We work in India, Bangladesh and Nepal.
We have worked extensively with both the Adivasis and Dalits as part of campaigns, in documenting struggles and in building institutions to consolidate gains and maximise impact. We have also worked with sexual minorities and women from religious minorities since 2002. We provide support to the garment and textile workers in Bangalore since 2006. We are in the National Campaign Coordination Team of the South Asia Campaign on the Right to Sanitation, and the Core group, National Coalition for Strengthening the SCs and STs (POA) Act. We are part of a South Asia Programme to combat Caste Based Discrimination (CBD) covering India, Bangladesh, and Nepal. We are in the working group of the National Ecumenical Campaign for Transparency, Accountability, and Responsibility (NECTAR) of the National Council of Churches in India (NCCI).
We were part of the main lobbying team of the Dalit caucus at the World Conference Against Racism (WCAR III), Durban, and compiled the caucus statement for the UN plenary. We monitor the implementation of the SCs and STs (Prevention of Atrocities) Act in Karnataka and have brought out two annual reports (2010, 2011) which form the basis for lobbying with the government as part of a coalition of Dalit and human rights defenders and organisations. We maintain the wiki page for the same.
We have lobbied successfully at the World Bank against the ecodevelopment plan of their Global Environment Facility, by presenting a paper 'Ecodevelopment In Nagarhole, India—a critique' at the GEF—NGO consultation at the GEF Secretariat in Washington on at their request, following it up with a paper on addressing gender concerns in World Bank projects. We were part of the National Front for Tribal Self-rule (successful in getting PESA enacted) and other campaigns of forest dwellers and forest workers.
OpenSpace has helped develop tools on exclusion and inclusion, as part of the Social Equity Watch Initiative. This includes developing and customising the tools in actual social equity audits to developing content for the manual and website.
OpenSpace organises international human rights and development events such as the Civil Society Summit (2007,10, 12), Freedom Festival (2005—9), World Social Forum (WSF) Mobilisation, Bengaluru (2008), Human Rights and Media Conference (2005); Bangaloreans Against Nuclearisation. (2005) WSF2004 Intercontinental Dialogue on Tourism, Global Testimonies on Human Rights Deficit. WSF2003 Dalit Events, 15 Testimonies from 10 Asian Countries for Peoples Voices at the Asian Social Forum, Hyderabad (2003) and advisor to the IASC conference 2011.
We have multi-cultural experience having worked in multinational teams, with global advocacy processes for the Dalits and Adivasis, organising intercontinental programmes, training in Human Rights Based Approach to Development (HRBA) for the entire ActionAid team in Nepal, documenting the Kamaiya struggle in Nepal, and the ActionAid Listening to People in Poverty project in Asia.
Two of our books have been released by Nobel Laureates (Indigenous Identity; Crisis and Reawakening by Rigoberta Menchú, 1993; Vocabulary of Commons by Elinor Ostrom 2011).
We have worked with Welthungerhilfe, Plan International, Oxfam International/CAA, NOVIB, OXFAM-GB, IASC, HelpAChild of India (HACI), Caritas India, EED, CRY, ChristianAid, Brot fuer de Welt, ActionAid.
We enjoy work on human rights and inclusive development (strategic planning, documentation, monitoring and evaluation) especially when they tangibly benefit vulnerable sections and lead to democratising knowledge.