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Rural Livelihoods

 

Initiatives at improving livelihoods are best designed when they are founded on the threshold limits of ecosystems. We subscribe to the view that in many natural environments that are being modified by human activity there is scope for conservation and livelihoods to link and benefit from each other. While in places that are the last refuge of severely threatened species, human activity and impact may be restricted but, in many areas, conservation and livelihoods can be complementary goals and rural communities are best placed to partner in conservation action. The key to sustaining the long term viability of agriculture and animal husbandry, or rural livelihoods in general, lies in strengthening the linkages between the various elements of the ecosystem - like biodiversity, nutrients, water, soil - and adopting an approach of 'farming systems'.

Our approach towards conservation and rural livelihoods is thus two-fold:

  • Protect forests for their biodiversity, biomass and hydrological functions which are also of critical value to farming systems
  • Locate forests and natural resources within the larger ecological, social and economic landscape so that conservation is determined by the local context, and using ecological restoration, social mobilization, and poverty alleviation measures as diverse strategies aimed at conservation and improving local livelihoods

In our efforts to strengthen livelihoods:

  • We facilitate the development of a well informed vision - a perspective plan with special focus on the improvement of the natural resource base and a shelf of activities for the Panchayat, enabling them to plan for and implement programmes and activities aimed at improving the livelihoods of their constituents
  • Cultivate a set of local volunteers to take on the stewardship of the area, enabling better representation and articulation of the interests of the local communities
  • Assist local communities in developing a cadre of skilled persons from within to attend to the local opportunities emanating from NREGA, as well as to improve access to services aimed at strengthening livelihoods and incomes
  • Engage actively with implementation of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) with its focus on creating long-term assets for the community through investments in strengthening the local natural resource base, as well as improvement of the democratic functioning of Panchayats

 
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