Market-based livelihoods is an important part of biodiversity conservation, particularly given that the effects of environmental degradation are most severe for those living in poverty who have fewer livelihood options to fall back on. With this in mind, the Hariyo Ban Program decided to intervene with the primary objective of building capacities, diversifying livelihoods and building resilience of vulnerable communities to withstand changes in the natural environment, while maintaining the integrity of our natural resources.
From unique interventions such as earthen jewelry to production of coffee, broom grass, tea, citrus, cardamom, cinnamon and more, the transformation in local livelihoods as well as the natural environment has been irrefutable.
Here’s a look into some drivers of change – for humans and for nature.
A GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY
The love people have for jewelry, especially gold needs no introduction. Donning gold ornaments especially during occasions is an intrinsic part of Nepali traditions, and when there are cultural groups already making clay jewels emulating golden jewelry, then the ideal thing to would be to provide market linkages! And that’s exactly what the Hariyo Ban Program did, stepping into the local community of Chambas, Tanahu to capacitate locals and establish the earthen jewelry enterprise that has consequently enhanced livelihoods, increased household income, reduced heavy work-loads, as well as decreased firewood extraction.
TO BAEL OR NOT TO BAEL
Despite its abundance, Bael fruit, popularly known as Wood Apple ironically had not been of immense worth for people saddled around the degraded bottleneck areas of the Seti forest corridors. However, things took a turn after the Hariyo Ban Program introduced Bael juice enterprise to help conserve the wild fruit through sustainable harvesting practices in the Seti River basin. Furthermore, upon realizing its conservational value, wood apple, that was otherwise being trashed started getting attention from the locals who started conserving these forests and engaging in the production of Baeljuice – a win-win both for people and nature. And, over the years this has generated additional income for the poor and forest dependent communities who now have access to extra earning and are also ensuring the protection of the forest spaces around these regions.
RIGHT ON THE MONEY
Enterprise options such as beekeeping, wool spinning, block plantation of coffee, tea, cardamom, citrus, broom, cinnamon, and eco-tourism interventions are just a few examples of how the Hariyo Ban Program has been working to support local livelihoods while also protecting nature. From vocational skill-based trainings such as plumbing, shoe-making, cooking, housekeeping, driving, and house wiring, to providing support for small, medium and large-scale enterprises, the Hariyo Ban Program has benefited 1,599 households across the country contributing 8,460,249 NPR monthly towards local incomes.
TOWARDS A BETTER FUTURE
Nothing surmounts the joy of achieving just what you had envisioned when you first set out on a mission! The experience has been similar for the Hariyo Ban Program. For Nepal, a country where about one-fourth of its population lives below the poverty line, and where agriculture is the mainstay of the economy, market-based livelihoods is the most viable income option. The program’s successful interventions in supporting livelihoods and increasing resilience of communities have resulted in positive lifestyle changes for local communities while also contributing to conservation.