Communities living in buffer zones largely rely on the forest for their livelihood – an unsustainable practice. To reduce this dependence, we empower them by providing them employment. We provide vocational training to unemployed youth living in and around India’s forests, and use a network of job providers to find them gainful work.

  • 175,000 villages are located in and around forest areas
  • 3 million people live inside tiger reserves
  • 40-60% of the total income of communities living in and around India’s Protected Areas is generated from forests.

They are dependent on the forest for:

  • Food
  • Fodder
  • Agriculture
  • Firewood

A rapidly growing human population that depends on forests for its livelihood has contributed to the severe degradation of over 40% of India’s forests.

Rural communities residing inside forests are an important stakeholder in WCT’s conservation goals. We engage with them in such a way that they are able to a. align with the conservation agenda, and b. reduce their dependence on forests, while engaging in sustainable livelihood practices.

Vocational Training

WCT’s livelihood interventions engage rural youth from remote forest villages and equip them with employability skills through vocational training, connect them with employers, and help them build gainful careers for themselves.

So far, WCT has supported 3,350 youth from over 550 villages situated in the buffer zones of 14 tiger reserves in 5 states.

Community-based Alternative Land Use System

Envisioned with an objective to urgently address water scarcity and initiate water conservation measures, the aim of this project is to build a successful pilot which will result in large scale adoption at the end of five years.

This project includes technical analysis of the following:

  1. Water:
    • Potability analysis for 11 parameters.
    • Hydro-geological analysis of watershed areas and examining existing water management structures for their functionality.
    • GPS-supported water level monitoring for streams and open wells.
  2. Soil: Soil samples are examined for 24 parameters to assess soil health.
  3. Land Use: Satellite data and GIS analyses are done to study patterns in land use change. These are then corroborated with revenue records from local government functionaries.
  4. Agriculture practices and livelihood sources: Cultivation practices for crop rotation, mixed cropping, and fertilizer and pesticide usage are examined. Important supplementary livelihood options are also analysed.

These technical analyses help establish the status of natural resources in each village as a starting point to streamline all future propositions for sustainable livelihood options.

Grain Bank Project

Grain banks is traditional system used by indigenous communities to tackle the vicious cycle of debt and poverty. In the context of buffer villages, in addition to addressing lean season food scarcity, grain banks serve as buffer food stock for dealing with food shortages caused by crop depredation.

WCT contributes the initial required grain in the form of a revolving fund and also handholds the village committee formed for managing the project.

Technical School Programme

Through the Technical School Programme, WCT endeavors to create opportunities for technical skill training in ashramshalas that children can leverage to build solid careers after schooling. Even if they do not seek to study further, the introduction to technical skills in school makes them semi-skilled after schooling. If they are compelled to make a living after matriculation, they need not be casual laborers.

 

 

 

Header image © Dr. Anish Andheria