Honey Bee Network

How did it all begin? | Who are we? What are We Doing? | Who Are Our Members? | Frequently Asked Question


It was realized around 1988-89 that, both on efficiency and ethical grounds, the prevalent mode of knowledge extraction from people, and dissemination among them, were non-sustainable. This knowledge asymmetry has been historic. Knowledge has been extracted, documented without any acknowledgement to the source of knowledge. The documented knowledge has not been communicated to the knowledge holder for feedback. These practices have not only impoverished the knowledge holders by pushing them further down in the oblivion, but also have hampered the growth of an informal knowledge system, that is robust in nurturing creativity. While there were numerous public/ private channels for diffusing innovations produced in formal sector, similar channels for diffusion and value addition of informal innovations were not available. So much so that knowledge rich and economically poor people could not benefit, particularly in marginal environments, from the formal technologies, nor could they learn from the innovations, due to lack of extensive knowledge network. People’s knowledge has been utilized in some cases for developing value-added products. In most cases, the beneficiaries of value added products were not the same as the providers of the knowledge. Thus the knowledge asymmetry reinforces the subsequent asymmetry in communication, power, benefit and reward sharing. The benevolence of the knowledge providers becomes the source of their impoverishment.

It was to overcome this ethical and professional crisis that the Honey Bee Network was born some sixteen years ago. Honey Bee is a metaphor indicating ethical as well as professional values, which most of us seldom practice. A honey bee does two things that we intellectuals, often don’t do. It collects pollen from the flowers and flowers don’t complain and it connects flower to flower through pollination. Similarly our innovative and ethical approach to knowledge extraction, our sincere attempt to build up people to people communication and our commitment to let reasonable benefit be shared with the knowledge holders, qualifies us to identify ourselves with the great metaphor of Honey Bee.


Honey Bee Network is a crucible of like-minded individuals, innovators, farmers, scholars, academicians, policy makers, entrepreneurs and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). A Network having presence in more than seventy five countries, what has made Honey Bee Network tight knit and efficiently functional is its philosophy. Honey Bee signifies a philosophy of discourse, which is authentic, accountable and fair. The Network has been woven around three basic ideals. The Network believes that a knowledge system in order to become sustainable has to be both just and fair. Hence, while collecting knowledge from the knowledge holder, the Network has made it a norm to acknowledge the knowledge provider with name and reference, if otherwise not desired by the knowledge provider. This particular practice has come handy in protecting the IPR of the knowledge provider. In the second place, the source of knowledge i.e. in the case of Honey Bee Network, the traditional knowledge holders and grassroots innovators must be acknowledged, if otherwise desired so by the knowledge holders themselves. Finally, any proceed that accrues from the value addition of local traditional knowledge and innovation; a fair and reasonable share must go back to the knowledge holders. These have been the guiding principles of the Network, which are fundamental to the functioning of the network and constitute the major non-negotiable for the Network.


Over the last sixteen years or so, the Honey Bee Network has lived the very spirit of the philosophy that it holds so dearly. Moreover, the actions that have followed the philosophy have grown and matured over a period of time and their trajectory of maturation has been based upon the strong realization of the essence of the philosophy. ‘Honey Bee’ Newsletter, the creative mouthpiece of the network, is published in seven Indian languages (Hindi, Gujarati, Tamil, Kannada, Telugu, Malayalam and Oriya) other than English. The very logic tells that any documentation and dissemination of local and traditional knowledge and innovations in English, certainly connects us globally but alienates locally. Living out the concern, the regional language versions reach out to the thousands grassroots knowledge holders, who otherwise would have been alienated from the benefits of knowledge, they themselves contribute in the first place. Acknowledging the very source of the traditional knowledge, the Honey Bee Newsletter and its regional versions carry stories of the local ingenuity with the consent of the knowledge holder. Another source of acknowledging the local genius has been preparing the database of the traditional knowledge and grassroots innovations and Honey Bee Network, over the last twenty years has documented more than 1,00,000 ideas, innovations and traditional knowledge practices. Honey Bee, true to its metaphor, has been the source of pollination and cross-pollination of ideas, creativity and grassroots genius, without taking away the nectar from the flower for ever.


The journey for the Honey Bee Network has been both adventurous as well as insightful. However, more than anything else, the journey has been mutually enriching, thanks to all the partner organizations, who constitute the Honey Bee Network. Following are the institutional collaborators of the Honey Bee Network

1. Society for Research and Initiatives for Sustainable Technologies and Institutions (SRISTI)
2. National Innovation Foundation (NIF).
3. Grassroots Innovation Augmentation Network (GIAN)
4. SEVA, Madurai.
5. Pritvi
6. PEDES, Kerela.
7. Innovation Club, Orissa.
8. Network of Gram Vidyapeethas.

Besides the institutional collaborators we have individual collaborators from Jammu & Kashmir, Rajasthan (Mr. Sundaram Varma), Himachal Pradesh, Uttarachal (Mr. Kamaljeet) and Punjab (Mr. Janmeyajay Jhol).


Who can be the member of Honey Bee Network?

Honey Bee Network is open to people belonging to all the walks of life. Our network consists of people ranging from academicians to field practitioners, from research scholars to grassroots innovators, from technical professionals to green agriculturalists. Any body with a strong commitment for the improvement of local knowledge network, innovations, grassroots creativity, conservation of bio-diversity, natural resource management, augmentation of innovation, intellectual property rights etc. can be the members of Honey Bee Network.

Why should you become the member of Honey Bee Network?

India is the fourth largest economy in the world and envisions to become the global knowledge leader by 2012. However, this is unfortunate to see that the entire preparation to become global knowledge leader has only encompassed the formal domains of knowledge. Unearthing the huge reservoir of local knowledge that lies with the traditional and grassroots knowledge holders can help India fasten the pace of achieving the status of knowledge leader and a creative society. You can contribute in your own way:
• If you feel that lots of poor people are so poor not because they can not think, but because their ideas and initiatives do not get space for expansion and fulfilment.
• If you think that there are many dreams that you had which you could not fulfil in your life but would like others to fulfil them sooner rather than later.
• If you want to invest in green ideas which involve risk but may help society as well as our lives if successful.
• If you yourself have some innovative green idea and do not know who to contact for making it grow, generate wealth and make this world greener, fairer and more humane.
• If you are a scientist or technologist and can pursue research yourself or guide your students to add value in local knowledge and innovations.
• If you are an entrepreneur who wants to scale up some other innovator's innovation.
• If you are a scientist who can add value to the existing activities of the Natural Product Laboratory and incubation processes of the innovations.
• If you are a policy maker who no more enjoys stifling initiative of others and instead enjoys helping others grow.
• If you are a teacher who can persuade your students to take pride in scouting and augmenting grassroots innovations and help liberate the colonized minds of the elite.
• If you are a student who is interested in unravelling the creative potential of the grassroots genius, identifying the local innovations and knowledge heuristics, obtaining the PIC forms etc through research and dissertations.

How much time, can I give for Honey Bee Network?

Time is certainly not the criteria for joining hands with Honey Bee Network. What matters is the burning desire on your part to take India step forward by putting the whole range of issues pertaining to traditional knowledge, grassroots innovations, bio- diversity, entrepreneurship etc. in perspective. If you are staying abroad, you can disseminate the local knowledge and unique practices of your region and make it an innovative and knowledge rich society. Your time contribution may range from one day a week to one hour per day. You can also think of giving certain days per week or a few months. Time is yours, so is your commitment.

How can I become the member of Honey Bee Network?

You can certainly sign in the guest book with your proposal of volunteering. However, you can also write to us directly at info@sristi.org for membership queries.

Do I have to pay for the membership fees?

No, there are no such membership fees for joining Honey Bee Network. However, we would certainly look for a member, who is contributing to the mission of the network in a meaningful way. However, for subscribing to Honey Bee, the newsletter, you have to fill up the subscription form. Even if you don’t want to become the member of Honey Bee, still you can write to us about you.