Women Economic Empowerment through Non Timber Forest Products

Women Economic Empowerment through Non Timber Forest Products
“When you educate a woman, you educate a generation”

Objectives:

  • Create awareness on Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFP) among forest fringe communities

  • Develop an understanding on the importance of NTFP over timber products

  • Educating 11 women of Self Help group from Tarabari village through Naturenomics™ School supported by MASK

In many communities there are limited income-generating opportunities for women. Fortunately, NTFP activities are one of the few cash-generating opportunities for women in marginalized rural communities.  Non-Timber Forest Products are the minor forest products or useful substances or materials obtained from forests, which do not require harvesting or logging trees. They include, nuts, seeds, berries, mushrooms, oils, medicinal plants, fish, spices, rubber etc. NTFP can be used as commodities for rural income and serve as an expression of traditional knowledge or as a livelihood option for rural households. It  is also a key component of sustainable forest management and conservation strategies.

MASK has been continuously working for the upliftment of the local communities by generating livelihood options to the self-help groups of community villages in the north east region. Supported by Balipara Foundation, a one day Naturenomics™ programme was conducted on 29th Sept’18 at the Eastern Himalayan Botanic Ark for the women of Tarabari village to educate them and create awareness on the role of NTFP in rural livelihood and forest management. They were given the basic understanding of livelihood options for the hill tribes and many other minority groups that can aid their socio-economic development. Forest fringe communities have the opportunity to benefit from several sustainable livelihood options associated with forests because of their centuries old association with it.

Exploitation of NTFPs could yield higher net revenue per hectare of land than would timber harvest of the same area while still conserving vital ecological services. Thus, forests can be managed well to increase NTFP diversity and consequently to increase biodiversity and potentially economic diversity. Exposure to this knowledge and development training can encourage these women to build their own small scale enterprises. Women’s economic empowerment and gender equality is key for inclusive economic growth to achieve the United Nation’s Sustainable Development goals and Rural Futures.  Financial independence can mean breaking out of poverty for these women and create prosperous communities.

The participants enjoyed the workshop and had many interesting takeaways from the sessions. They were also given a tour of the nursery and the ethnic museum to enhance their learnings.

Overall Impact:

  • Gathering and use of NTFPs can be a mechanism for poverty alleviation and local development

  • Developing an understanding about the importance of NTFPs and their relationship with the traditional forest communities.

  • Importance of spiritual fulfilment, physical and emotional well being by maintaining a healthy relationship with nature

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