Women in Nagzira and Brahmapuri take the lead and come together for tiger conservation


Nagzira, Brahmapuri, December 8, 2018 : With an aim to save the tigers in the wild and their habitat and support human population in key areas throughout Asia, the Integrated Tiger Habitat Conservation Programme (ITHCP) launched the program in 2014. The project is supported by the German Government and the German Development Bank (KfW).

Starting from a baseline global population of 3200 tigers, which was the IUCN Red List population estimate in 2010, ITHCP contributes to the international goal set up during the 2010 St- Petersburg Tiger Summit to double wild tiger populations by 2022 (up to 6’000 tigers). In India, the Maharashtra Forest Department is the TCL partner in Vidarbha Tiger Landscape along with a consortium of various NGO’s.

The programme being implemented in Vidarbha by the state forest department through its various partners from 2017 has been a major driver of change in the notion of the masses that tiger reserves deprive them off from current livelihoods and need relocation; instead, the tiger reserves are becoming new avenues of additional livelihoods for them. Under the project, Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) who is a major partner in the project is working with the villagers in the corridor area of Nagzira Nawegaon Tiger Reserve (NNTR) and Brahmapuri forest division to reduce the dependency of the residing communities near the forests for livelihoods and subsistence.

The trust, under the project is working in 32 villages of NNTR and Brahmapuri and implementing activities like; improved cook stoves have been installed in 4100 households of 32 villages to reduce the consumption and collection of firewood by almost 30%, capacity building and guidance to community based organizations like JFMC, EDC and BMC’s, sustainable collection and value addition of NTFP’s which has resulted in production of products like – Squashes of Mahua, Ambadi, Bael and Jamun, Pickles of Mahua, Mango, Lemon, Bakery products of Mahua, detergents, soaps and toiletries, Cloth and Paper Bags etc.

Total 120 villagers were selected for training post consultative meetings with the women Self Help Group has and were sent for training centres at Center of Science for Villages (CSV) Wardha, Madhya Pradesh Vigyan Sabha -Chindwara and Maharashtra Center for Enterprise Development (MCED)- Nagpur. Post-training, the trainees were provided with equipments and material required for manufacturing, storage, labelling, packaging, statutory licenses like FSSAI, PAN card, Bank account etc and developing marketing linkages.

In a short span of six months of working the trainees have sold products worth one lakh fifty-four thousand in local markets, Van Dhan shops in Nagpur and Mumbai, Nisarg Store and during Gaj Mahotsav at New Delhi. Apart from the value-added products, Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) was given to 89 villagers (including 78 women and 11 men) of rupee’s eleven lakh forty-five thousand by manufacturing and installation of 4103 improved cookstoves under the programme. Two shops have been established each in Goregaon in Gondia and Brahmapuri in Chandrapur for marketing of the products made by the trainees and most importantly two of the Bollywood celebrities; Diya Mirza (UNEP Goodwill Ambassador) and Raveena Tandon (SGNP Borivalli Ambassador) have been encouraging and promoting their work.

132 beneficiaries from 14 villages participated in the workshop from NNTR corridor. Five of the Self Help Groups who are working excellent in their initiatives were rewarded storage almirah for maintaining their records and work materials. Dongargaon (NNTR) RFO – Roshan Rathore, Round Officer – Tibude, WTI’s Manager & Project Head – Anil Nair, Asst. Manager – Arshad Hussain, Field Officer- Manisha Ashraf, and Field Assistant – Nitin Rawate, Hivraj Raut, Sanjay Ghasle and Noor Ali were present during the workshop.

“ To further strengthen their work and motivate other members of the SHGs, an orientation and motivational workshop of the beneficiaries was held in Pitambar Tola in Gondia district recentlky. The purpose of meeting was to introduce beneficiaries and SHGs to forest and other line departments who are involved in similar activities,” adds Navegaon ACF, Dr Priya Mhaske.