UTTARAYAN WILDLIFE: Community Participation - movement towards a better future - We at UW together with RM have taken up this journey of degraded land restoration on elephant corridors of South Bengal - Capacity Building of locals!

RM-UW project started in 2021-22 with the sole purpose of regenerating degraded fallow lands of private stakeholders and reviving biodiversity, soil condition, water levels and climatic changes in an otherwise arid region.

In its first year we successfully encompassed about more than 200+ villages, 48+ stakeholders and 300+ acres and work on their land in a participatory mode.

Few learnings - in the first year the locals were more on a wait and watch mode and their initial participation was not equal or rather how we had thought in terms of equal participation in the regeneration and empowerment.

  1. Cattle grazing continued to be an issue post plantation
  2. Maintenance of plants, watering was not being looked by the locals resulted in 20% loss
  3. There were internal strife which resulted in some vengeance on the plantation areas

All of these made us pause - rethink on a better strategy.

Starting this year, we engage all locals to agree on equal participation in plantation - maintenance. The villagers have enthusiastically formed local committees who will be responsible to:

  1. Check on cattle grazing
  2. Upkeep and maintain the plants
  3. Plan and strategize best ways to regenerate the land

Such empowerment of locals gives the project a better scalability and an exit plan for the project owners. It also initiates a positive attitude movement among locals towards a better biodiversity and future.