Sustainable development for pastoralist women in India: dignity, heritage and adaptations in times of rapid change (HERDING)

The HERDING project builds understanding of human and cultural contexts to inform discussion of sustainable development for women in mobile pastoralist communities in India. It explores ideas of dignity and heritage, as historically intertwined aspects of pastoralist women’s social identities, resilience and sustainable livelihoods. The project team adopts a qualitative methodology, using a chain of memory approach to generate oral histories. Case studies in the states of Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra illuminate the diversity of subjective ways in which Hindu and Muslim pastoralist women relate to the intersections between gender, nature, culture and religion in contexts of rapid agrarian change, uneven economic growth and livelihood transitions. The research is co-produced with four local non-government organisations.


The HERDING project supports evidence-based advocacy for approaches to sustainable development that honour pastoralists’ heritage, interrupt processes of exclusion, and support India’s SDG programming. 

An exhibit from the project is integrated into Living Lightly, a national exhibition of pastoralist lives and culture.

Publications and outputs

Three chapters in edited volumes are currently being prepared, addressing themes of education, religion and SDG programming in relation to dignity and heritage among pastoralist women. A co-authored book will be published in 2021.