Augmenting Rural Livelihoods through Bamboo Training Workshop

Nestled in the foothills of the Eastern Himalayas, the biodiverse haven of the Eastern Himalayan Botanic Ark serves as a center for research, education and awareness. Surrounded by Mishing, Garo and Nyishi communities, the Eastern Himalayan Botanic Ark is a social enterprise that fosters Rural Futures in the Eastern Himalayas through the concept of Naturenomics™ – creating socio-economic and environment interdependence. Towards this, Balipara Foundation has collaborated with the Cane and Bamboo Technology Centre (CBTC) in the Northeast India, for a Bamboo Training Workshop to provide training to bamboo artisans and entrepreneurs and serve its purpose in raising awareness on sustainable livelihood through bamboo based activities and products in the region.

Cane and Bamboo Technology Center has been playing a key role in exploring the booming bamboo and cane potentialities in the north-eastern region. Funded by North-Eastern Council for the purpose of capacity building and skill training for rural communities, the 2 weeks bamboo training workshop has been initiated at the Eastern Himalayan Botanic Ark effective today, 6th Feb ‘18. The North-Eastern Council is the nodal agency for the economic and social development of the North-Eastern Region and we are grateful to them for their support in rural development. The main objective of the workshop is to provide the local people necessary skills to make bamboo products, means of livelihood through Bamboo products, employment, and to implement the idea of Naturenomics™.

Often referred to as “green gold” of India, bamboo is foremost associated with the mainstay of rural life and culture in our country. The lifestyle of the North-Eastern rural population demonstrates the example of sustainable living where bamboo plays a major role. It is also a key element in rural housing and is utilized in many ways, for housing, fencing, agricultural implements, basketry, and even fuel and food.

Its versatility has led to the coinage of terms like the “poor man’s timber” or the “friend of the people” and can be used as a substitute of timber in many respects. In Assam, cane and bamboo craft, carried out traditionally in almost every household in the rural areas, has been playing an important role in the rural economy.

CBTC has been providing training to bamboo artisans and bamboo lovers and entrepreneurs along with providing marketing support. The prime motivation is to catalyse the traditional bamboo based commercial activities into a robust and dynamic bamboo based industrial movement. With participation from over 20 members from the local community villages, the programme conducted at the Naturenomics™ school at the Ark has been successful. Participants will be provided certificates at the end of the course and the interested participants will be later taken to the CBTC for further skill development training.

The Eastern Himalayan Botanic Ark has been a platform for local artisans to showcase their hand-crafted products through the Naturenomics™ store. Through the bamboo training workshop, we aim that this will establish a knowledge base for conservation and sustainable use of the resource and augment rural livelihood in the region by enhancing local artisan skills through exposure to new techniques and technologies.