Summer Quarter

June 15-August 17, 2012

Environment and Development in the Indian Himalaya 

Political Economy of Indian Development
Environment, Labor and Rural Economic Development
Internship / Service Learning




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Program Description

In partnership with the Central Himalayan Rural Action Group (CHIRAG), based in village Simayal, Nainital District, Uttarakhand state, students examine the political economy of development in India and critically reflect on the dynamics of formal and informal labor, environmental change and integrated rural development. The Kumaun Himalayan region provides a unique perspective to examine accelerated economic and environmental change in relation to the regional, national and international contexts driving this change. Each week eminent scholars and practitioners in natural resource management, economic development, health, education, cultural studies and the arts will present seminars and/or lead hands-on field study.

To draw together these varied & unique learning opportunities students choose a service learning position in one of CHIRAG's many programs that best complements their personal interests. For example, students can study the role of women’s self help groups, work on education projects in the government schools, assess benefits/drawbacks of microfinance, track changes in employment opportunities for young women, assist in the agricultural research program at the Simayal experimental farm, work on innovations in the community-based initiatives for agricultural marketing and entrepreneurial endeavours, observe and analyze the activities and impact of community water systems, and in many other CHIRAG programs in the Kumaun Himalaya.


Volunteer activities offer ample opportunities to immerse oneself in the village communities.

Students live in groups of 3 in furnished bungalows at Sonapani and in nearby village homes. Students participate in meal preparation with the Sonapani staff. Health care is readily available at a nearby village clinic and in CHIRAG‘s own hospital at village Sargarkhet.


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South Asia Center
University of Washington
303 Thomson Hall
Box 353650
Seattle, WA 98195
(206) 543-4800 phone
(206) 685-0668 fax

Anand Yang, Director

Keith Snodgrass, Associate Director

Molly Wilskie-Kala, Program Coordinator

Nick Gottschall, Graduate Student Assistant

Robyn Davis, FLAS Coordinator

Sunila Kale, Graduate Program Coordinator