The Centre for Communication and Development Studies (CCDS) was set up in 2002 to promote open spaces for research, communication and dialogue on social justice, sustainable development, pluralism and transparent governance. CCDS works to build knowledge for social change, and to take information for social change out of the seminar rooms and to the people.
CCDS is a public trust, registered with the Charity Commissioner, Pune, Maharashtra (Registration No E 3657, Pune).
CCDS’s recent areas of research have been digital equality, urban poverty, social exclusion and inclusive governance.
In 2013, they conducted a study on urban poverty and access of the poor to public services in two cities – Pune and Thiruvananthapuram. The study was supported by ActionAid. A volume of research, published in Infochange Agenda #28, provided a national perspective on urban poverty.
In 2016, they completed a two-year research on the digital exclusion of economically and socially-excluded urban populations. They studied the economic, infrastructural, social and cultural barriers to internet access for residents of six low-income settlements in Pune and twin city Pimpri-Chinchwad. They also studied patterns of use and quality of access in these marginal areas of the city. Their study recommends changes in public policy for internet inclusion at the local, state and national levels. The study, supported by the Ford Foundation, is available at http://netpehchaan.in
As part of the digital equality project, they created print and audio-visual campaign and learning material promoting internet literacy. They conducted internet literacy workshops, particularly for women and girls. Their trainings enabled participants to not only navigate the internet and access public services online, but also to create their own content and represent their voices online.
CCDS was also the research partner for a pilot project providing free WiFi for an 18-month period to an entire slum settlement of 1,200 households in Pimpri-Chinchwad. Supported by the Ford Foundation, the project included a full-fledged computer and internet literacy centre situated within the slum.
CCDS is presently researching the digital preparedness of children from low-income and marginalised urban communities. They are examining the awareness, exposure and access of children to ICTs, and the ICT training they receive in government and private schools. The study aims to find out whether children from marginalised backgrounds are being prepared to participate equally in a digital world, and to recommend measures to ensure that they are fully equipped to use digital technologies for education, livelihoods, social and democratic participation and lifelong learning.
CCDS has 15 years of experience in strategic communications. They took an early lead in the creation of open-access knowledge resources for the social sector in India. Their resource base Infochangeindia.org
went online in 2001, featuring original content on issues such as poverty, livelihoods, food security, social exclusion and public health, by a wide and credible network of journalists, academics, activists and researchers. Infochange took information for social change out of the seminar rooms and to students, researchers, policymakers, members of marginalised communities and concerned citizens. Infochange has also informed scores of campaigns, advocacy movements and development organisations. They have published 28 volumes of research and perspective on critical social issues in their theme-based dossier Infochange Agenda (available at Infochangeindia.org).
Infochangeindia.org won the Manthan Award for best e-content for development, and has been selected by the Maharashtra government as a leading innovation in development media and communications.
Youth outreach and capacity-building
CCDS pioneered Open Space,
a youth and civil society platform for dialogue, expression and social action. Since 2004, Open Space has encouraged young adults in Pune to explore and engage with issues related to pluralism and human rights. Open Space has been a trendsetter in civil society outreach, reaching out to young adults through literature, cinema, music, theatre and dialogue and facilitating creative expression. Open Space has worked with leading educational institutions at the graduate and post-graduate level across India, and has also granted fellowships to young social entrepreneurs to initiate this outreach process in Thiruvananthapuram, Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Lucknow, Ranchi and other cities.