Institute of Social Studies Trust (ISST)

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02/01/2014 - On Going
Institute of Social Studies Trust (ISST) logo

Supported by: Wipro Cares

About ISST

The Institute of Social Studies Trust (ISST) is a non-profit, non-governmental organization headquartered in New Delhi, India. ISST primarily works in the area of equity focused on gender and  transformative social and economic development in India.

The Institute of Social Studies Trust (ISST), since its inception in 1980, has been committed to the cause of equity and well-being of the poor and the marginalized. It has specifically been working towards bringing the issues and concerns linked to women in all communities to the forefront. Using a gender transformative approach, the main focus area of ISST’s work has been to pursue multidisciplinary social science research and conduct evaluative studies. While its research work comprises both macro-level policy research and micro research, working towards gaining in-depth understanding on specific issues, its evaluative studies have provided a viable means to understand the reasons that lead to shortfalls in program outcomes.

Projects undertaken

ISST has also been involved in reaching out to the community directly through its outreach center, Saathi, which works towards empowering women, children, and adolescent youth through community mobilization work, information and inputs on education. Therefore, the gamut of ISST’s activities aims towards bridging the gap between research, action and policy change.

The geographic focus of ISST’s work includes low-income rural and urban communities in India; it has extensive experience of collaborating with other organizations in research, including within the South Asia region and beyond. ISST’s community outreach program is run from its community center called ‘Saathi Center’ located in Kalyanpuri, East Delhi district, Delhi. Saathi Center envisages empowering women, children, and adolescents from disadvantaged households through community mobilization, legal action, educational inputs, and other public services.

Saathi Center’s mission is to promote responsible citizenship among children, youth, and women belonging to disadvantaged groups through information, education, and dialog in order to achieve equality and to promote lives of autonomy and dignity. Therefore, ISST’s community outreach program seeks to engage with individuals and communities through holistic education, awareness-raising, and skill-building activities in order to enable them to understand their environment better, make them take best possible decisions for the use of their resources to enhance quality of life for themselves, their families and their community.

The program’s main focus has been the empowerment of young people through an “Information, Education, and Dialog” approach. The specific objectives are (i) education for all; (ii) income generation activities; (iii) community development; and (iv) cultural events. The purpose of this objective is to develop and maintain the interest among children towards education using innovating methods. This is done with a broader aim of ‘Right to Education’ for all, in support of the Government of India’s Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan to achieve Universalization of Elementary Education (UEE).

ISST is recognized nationally and globally for its gender perspective on women’s work and feminist evaluation, for its research and resources, with visible influence on policies and programs. It contributes to the elimination of violence against women and children, and is known for transformative empirical approaches to research, action, and evaluation.

Plan for the next 1-3 years

Over the coming three years, efforts would be made to strengthen the work of the Saathi center and to encourage greater engagement with the community, especially women and adolescents. The teams working with Saathi Center and the Yuvasaathi center would be developing a long-term road map of the expected outcomes. A systematic planning and visioning exercise with the support of external consultants would take place during the months of April to June. This is part of an overall exercise being undertaken at the organization level for ISST. We hope to be able to arrive at a clear articulation of the plans for the coming years within the next 4-5 months.