COMPAS (Comparing and Supporting Endogenous Development) is an international programme designed to understand the diversity of rural people's knowledge, encourage local experimentation within farmers' worldviews and have inter-cultural dialogues on farmers' knowledge, indigenous learning and experimentation in the fields of agriculture, use of natural resources and health.
Endogenous development is development based on the resources, concepts, values and dynamics of local communities. Cosmovision or worldview is the way a certain population perceives the world in which it lives. It includes the assumed relationships between the natural, human and spiritual worlds and embodies the philosophical and scientific premises on which people organize themselves and relate to their environment. Many rural communities have holistic cosmovisions that assume a reciprocal relationship between humankind, nature and the spiritual worlds. The belief's widespread that, if people do not treat nature well, disregard basic human values and do not respect the spirits, misfortune will befall the world.
The COMPAS project is an effort for Comparing and Supporting Endogenous Development. As part of this project a group of twenty-two organisations from over twelve countries in Africa, Latin America, Asia and Europe are involved in exploring various aspects of Traditional Agriculture practices and developing means of strengthening and supporting these practices. COMPAS is co-ordinated by ETC Ecoculture and funded by NEDA and NOVIB in The Netherlands.
During the pilot phase of this project that was carried out in 1995-1996, our centre had taken up a pilot study of the cosmovision of traditional agriculture in Tamil Nadu. As part of this project a farmer's Almanac entitled "Velan Makkal Panchangam" was published. A book entitled - "Food for thought" has been brought out as a publication reflecting the experiences of various partners who were involved in the pilot phase of the project.
During the current phase of the COMPAS project our field work has been located in Kancheepuram District of Tamil Nadu and involves research, training programmes and net working with farmers.
Currently CIKS is the coordinating group for all the Asian partners who are drawn from India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Indonesia.
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