Challenge of the Balance: A Course on Policies, Politics & Practices of Environmental Management in the Developing World




Challenge of the Balance is an orientation programme to give international participants a first-hand experience of Southern perspectives concerning the environment-development debate. The interdisciplinary coursework will allow participants to understand and critically evaluate issues concerning developmental challenges the region faces today.

Programme design
This inter-disciplinary month long structured course on environment and development issues is for about 25 participants from various international institutions of learning. For this summer school we have collaborated with Engineers Without Borders (EWB) United Kingdom, and EWB chapters in South Asia as well.

It includes classroom lectures, local field excursions, together with challenging individual and/or group project work. Field trips will serve to illustrate innovations and eco-restoration efforts that communities make to enable them to face the challenges of managing their natural resource base.

The programme modules include

  • Natural resource management: water, forests

  • Change agents: environmentalism of the poor

  • Governance imperatives

  • Poverty and the biomass economy

  • Environmental conflicts

  • Urban growth challenges: water, waste, pollution, mobility

  • Towards sustainable industrialization

  • Climate change from a Southern perspective

The highlight of the programme is the opportunity for participants to interact with rural communities during a week long field visit. Participants from developed and developing countries will see practical, technical and sustainable solutions that benefit the grassroot community (solutions to water management, decentralised solid and liquid waste management, meeting a community’s energy needs, etc.).

In addition to this week-long field visit, the programme includes several local field excursions, to familiarise participants with urban challenges, including air pollution and urban mobility, river pollution and waste management.

Our training programmes attract leading experts across various fields to address course participants. The core faculty for the proposed course will be drawn from CSE’s experienced research and programme staff. Visiting faculty and guest lecturers will include working development professionals, eminent environmentalists, noted academicians from leading universities, grassroots activists, prominent policy makers, and others.

Participants will publish a magazine of their own with help and guidelines from CSE - shoot pictures, write and edit, choose their editors, design team. 

Summer School: TO BE ANNOUNCED (in collaboration with EWB UK)

Course fee (Includes training fees, month long stay, local and outstation field excursions, select reading materials, together with lunch and refreshments during all training days.

For International participants: UK £1155 US$ 1820

For Indian and South Asian participants: INR 30,000


Please pay your fee (including the fee for accommodation) after your participation in the course is confirmed. When sending your draft/cheque, do mention on the envelope the name of the course. Email the draft/cheque number to the course contact. 


How to apply
Write a clear statement of purpose (the SOP should be about 250 words), including in it such things as why you wish to attend this course, and how it will help you in your future work. Send it along with your latest curriculum vitae.  


Anil Agarwal Environment Training Institute
38, Tughlakabad Institutional Area
New Delhi–110062



Simon Blower- Batch of 2010
"I have some quite exciting news - I have just got a short term contract at the World Bank's Global Environment Facility Evaluation Office in DC. When I think about, the only reason that I was able to get it was the fact that I had the CSE course on my CV. Other than that I don't really have any environment experience. Therefore, I need to thank you for all your help and say that even after 3 or so years, I still look back on the course, the coursemates, the lectures and the Himalayas with very fond memories. I learnt a lot and now it's proving its worth!!"

Ansh Deep - Batch of 2013
"I have joined my academy, and its lovely here. It is quite hectic, but I am loving every bit of it. But, if we talk about the lectures we are having, the views of the administration are quite different from what we learnt last month. So, there have been eminent speakers (from outside) talking about increasing GDP, fast-tracking the clearances, talks on us having so much of minerals that we can be the richest country etc, in the past few days we've had our lectures. The focus on increasing public participation in their speeches was low, and in fact, some of my colleagues see increased participation as a nuisance for administration!! 

There are few very good faculty too, who are environmentalists in true sense, but their number is low, I feel.

In all this, I find myself to be lucky to have been associated with Challenge of the Balance and CSE, and having a different viewpoint and perspective to development. Thank you very much for the course.

I will definitely make sure to be associated with CSE people on learning new things in my career."