Home Institution

Yale University

Publication Date

Spring 2014

Program Name

India: Sustainable Development and Social Change


The failure of countrywide basic literacy campaigns to enhance social mobility has led to the promotion and development of localized, comprehensive functional literacy campaigns. These campaigns are particularly applicable to marginalized groups; as they aim to empower communities by providing them with the necessary skills to navigate their socioeconomic and political environments. This qualitative study examines the long-term impact of one such functional literacy campaign on the semi-nomadic pastoral Van Gujjar community. I use the Assets, Opportunity Structure, and Degrees of Empowerment (DOE) method to investigate community members’ perceptions of the level of political empowerment that followed their participation in a functional literacy program. Participatory Rural Appraisal(PRA) techniques such as focus groups(n3), semi-structured interview (n30), observation, and key informant interviews(n3) provide a comprehensive understanding of the perceived link between functional literacy and political empowerment in the Van Gujjar community. Using a long-term impact evaluation as a framework, I hope to add to the contemporary understanding of the role literacy can play in empowering nomads to better navigate their ever-changing political environment.


Asian Studies | Community-Based Research | Demography, Population, and Ecology | Family, Life Course, and Society | Inequality and Stratification | Other Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration | Place and Environment | Politics and Social Change | Social and Cultural Anthropology