Partners for Urban Knowledge, Action and Research (PUKAR)

Transforms deprived youth through liberalising research, questioning conventional knowledge and promoting long-term solutions for just global communities and cities through collaborative fieldwork

  • Bronze Certified 2023
  • FCRA
  • 80G
  • 12A
  • CSR-1
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  • Headquarters

    Mumbai, Maharashtra

  • Since


PUKAR is an independent research institution based in Mumbai, India. It conducts multi-sectoral, cross-disciplinary, community-based, participatory ac Read moretion research. It does this through a focus on underprivileged youth who generate experience-based knowledge for community transformation. PUKAR values Community Based Participatory Action Research (CBPAR) as a powerful and ethical tool for knowledge production. It trains other institutions and organisations in CBPAR activities. PUKAR's vision is to become a world-class incubator for producing knowledge and ideas about equitable and sustainable global communities and cities. Its mission includes conducting accessible research, challenging the prevailing system of knowledge production, and recognizing the centrality of thought, conversations, and activism in transforming development. It values indigenous knowledge of communities in creating sustainable solutions. PUKAR's guiding principles include the right to research, the lens of youth, respect for diversity, participatory decision-making, and fostering mutually enriching partnerships.


PUKAR has made an impact by connecting to 400 communities in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR), strengthening 47 tribal settlements, and creating 75 local and international partnerships, also training over 10,000 barefoot researchers and totally reaching out to more than 1,000,000 people.


  • Youth and Governance in collaboration with Sir Ratan Tata Trust

    This project emerged in response to the lack of focus on nurturing emerging leaders within the existing political system, aiming to address the negative perception of policymakers among the youth and the resulting scarcity of younger leaders. By creating a platform for open dialogues between the local community, PUKAR Youth Fellows, and elected policymakers in specific wards, the project facilitated discussions on community challenges and governance issues. Research findings were presented in visually accessible formats and compiled in a book titled "Lok-Vyaspeeth" (Public Forum). While some issues were resolved through these interactions, unresolved matters were attributed to broader policy impacts, especially related to water supply. This initiative provided young individuals with valuable insights into governance and the obstacles faced at different levels of governance.

  • Tarunaee in collaboration with Sir Ratan Tata Trust

    The project aimed to involve youth in documenting their own experiences and concerns about urban life. It utilized research and documentation as tools for teaching and social intervention. Participants, representing diverse backgrounds and organisations, collaborated in groups to explore themes such as environment, language, migration, sexuality, and globalization. Through innovative mediums like photography, songs, interviews, paintings, and poems, they expressed their viewpoints. The project’s process and outcomes have been captured in the Marathi book “Paach Prashna Shambhar Uttare.” PUKAR collaborated with Mobile Crèches, Maharashtra Nature Park, Girangaon Rojgar Hakk Samiti, R.A.Podar College of Commerce and Economics, and St. Joseph College for this initiative.

  • The Neighbourhood Project in collaboration with SRTT

    The Neighbourhood Project was inspired by the vision of documentation as a form of intervention. It encouraged students and citizens to write ethnographies and histories of their own localities and neighbourhoods. By focusing on personal biographies and family histories, the project aimed to provide a unique view of the sociology and history of Mumbai. It created opportunities for reviewing, sharing records and images through exhibitions, publications, and websites. Partnering with civic initiatives, NGOs, schools, and colleges, the project sought to enrich the knowledge about communities and foster a sense of belonging, inviting citizens to actively participate in civic life. The project recognized the political nature of local spaces and emphasized the importance of personal knowledge in engaging with broader political issues. Through essays, photographs, and short films, it highlighted the diverse histories and vibrant character of the city.

  • Certificate course on Research as Pedagogy, Advocacy and Transformation

    Supporting research as a basic right and utilizing it for instruction, promotion, intervention, and growth, PUKAR acknowledged the necessity of engaging undergraduate students in a more organised fashion. In collaboration with Dr BMN College of Home Science, it initiated the Add-On Certificate course "Research as Pedagogy, Advocacy, and Transformation" in 2014. Integrated within the curriculum, this course empowers first-year students by imparting knowledge and proficiencies in Community-Based Participatory Action Research (CBPAR). It encompasses the theory and application of CBPAR, facilitating students' acquisition of research methodologies, ethics, critical reasoning, and collaborative knowledge production through alternative learning approaches.

Impact Metrics

  • Empowered Adolescent Girls to Make Informed Choices About Their Bodies

    Program Name

    Journey Towards Dignity

    Year-wise Metrics
    • 2017-18 312
    • 2018-19 626
    • 2019-20 300
    • 2020-21 247
    • 2021-22 324
  • Number of Beneficiaries

    Year-wise Metrics
    • 2017-18 31294
    • 2018-19 35795
    • 2019-20 25440

Leadership Team

  • Dr. Anita Patil Deshmukh

    Executive Director

  • Arvind Sakat

    Lead - Youth Fellowship Programme

  • Shrutika Shitole

    Lead - Urbanization & Governance

  • Shahazade Akhtar

    Lead- Administration

Demographics & Structure

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  • 12A


  • 80G


  • FCRA


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  • Headquarters

    272, Municipal Tenements, Shivaji Nagar, BMC Colony, Kher Wadi Road, Bandra, Mumbai, 400051


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  • 2019-20

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  • 2020-21

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  • 2021-22

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