The World Bank team visit to ForestAction Nepal’s project site

Forest Action Nepal’s “Economic Empowerment of Women through Forest Solutions”- a project implemented by ForestAction along with HIMAWANTI, AFFON and FENFIT and funded by IDRC Canada hosted an educational/learning exposure visit for women leaders from Madhesh and Lumbini Province on 24th January, 2023. The World Bank team including- Ms. Meerim Shakirova- Team Leader- “Forestry for Prosperity” Project, Deputy Mayors, community forest women leaders, representatives from Women Organizing for Change in Agriculture and Natural Resource Management (WOCAN); Dedicated Grant Mechanism for Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities in Nepal (DGM)/Rural Reconstruction Nepal, Focal Persons- Forestry for prosperity from Province, journalists participated in one-day visit to the research sites. The visit was conducted to demonstrate the possibilities of women leadership and empowerment through low carbon enterprise different activities in forestry.

Before departing to the field, the team were briefed on the project, it’s approach, intervention and outcomes. The first half of the visit was concentrated on discussing women empowerment and barriers for women leadership in Amarjyoti CFUG- Devchuli Municipality. The women leaders from the CF executives and the women entrepreneur groups shared their experiences and learning on how women, especially the dalits and their issues got institutionalized and how they benefit from the project and community forestry interventions. Focusing on the cases from Duna tapari leaf plates and bowl enterprise and ginger-turmeric farming, the women shared their stories of struggle and success. The concerns and discussion on the sustainable harvesting, engaging dalit women in duna tapari enterprises and competing with the non-local products especially cheap plastic products for securing markets were major concerns which were addressed strategically by the women entrepreneurs.  The team of women leaders also visited the community forest and ginger -turmeric production sites, duna tapari production process and interacted on the forest management modalities and benefits that women could extract from the forest.

The second visit was made to Namuna Women CFUG in Devchuli Municipality. A brief interaction with CFUG members and women entrepreneurs took place inside the community forest. The major objective of visiting the forest was to explore how women priorities are being reflected in the forest development and management. The women in CFUG had used barren land through non-timber forest products plantations e.g. lemon grass, tejpat (bayleaves trees), fruits, amriso (broom grass) plantation of trees like rakta chadan (sandal trees) which are useful to them on daily basis. Thakal (straw bags and hats producers) handicraft group shared the ups and downs of their enterprise establishment stories. They shared how rural women groups can be mis-guided and manipulated by the elite women across the value chain and by different actors. The Thakal entrepreneurs highlighted the exposure and trainings they have received from the project. The WOCAN Associate also visited the trade fair in Daldale and observed how the women entrepreneurs were expanding their market. Finally, the visit team appreciated how both women and men in community forestry were working together for women empowerment.

 

 

 

ForestAction Nepal in COP 27, Sharm El-Sheikh in Egypt

Ms. Kanchan Lama, the Principal Investigator of “Economic Empowerment of Women through Forest Solutions” (WEE-FS) project (IDRC funded) at ForestAction Nepal participated as a panelist in the event on “Driving Gender Equality through Climate Action” (14th Nov2022). The event was a part of the Canadian Pavilion events held at the COP 27 in the city of Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt. The panel, consisting of five speakers from the globe, highlighted the importance of addressing the gaps in women’s unconditional access to natural resources which are universally maintained by women and are the sources of livelihood for the indigenous communities, primarily women. Ms. Lama shared about the lessons learned through implementation of the low carbon, forest-based enterprise development interventions in a complicated socio-economic and environmental context of a poverty-stricken country like Nepal. She stressed on the issue of systematic deprivation of women from their rights to use the natural resources for productive purposes. She called for special attention to establish women as right holders of land and other productive assets for managing effective climate resilient action on the ground. As a takeaway message from the panel, she appealed to the global leaders of climate action to establish a “women climate adaptation fund” to facilitate an exclusively committed global action to support women in their climate resilient actions.

Policy round table discussion on Agroecology in Nepal

Alliance of Agriculture for Food (AAF)/ForestAction Nepal, in collaboration with ActionAid Nepal, organized a national level policy round table discussion on Agroecology in Nepal, in presence of policy makers and experts, on 30 November 2022 in Kathmandu.

During the event, issues like policy gaps to promote agroecology, food sovereignty and food security, natural resource management, land and land use, environmental degradation and climate change, nutrient, disease and pest management, agro-biodiversity, peasants’ right, agriculture production and trade, and agricultural research, extension, and education were discussed.

Key highlights of discussion are as follow:

– Need for an integrated agriculture policy that can balance current agriculture practices with agroecological principles.

– Farmers are the knowledge hub of agroecology, as they are long-term practitioners of innovative, environment and smallholder farmer’s friendly practices.

– Areas and scope of sustainable agriculture are not explored enough.

– Documentation, exploration, revision, and integration of agroecological knowledge, with aggressive research and application from the research community, academic institutions, and the corporate sector is lacking.

– Collaboration between education, research, and extension is necessary.

– Marketing of agricultural products need to be enhanced.

– The dignity of farmers must be protected. Research needs to be done in response to issues with farmer’s fields.

A month-long celebration of 42nd World Food Day 2022

Alliance of Agriculture for Food (AAF) in collaboration with 20 organizations and active engagement of all concerned stakeholders, successfully organized a month-long celebration of 42th World Food Day 2022. The major objective of the program was to create public awareness on the issues of food and agriculture to realize the importance of agriculture for food in the current context of agriculture development in Nepal. Moreover, it was also deliberated to create forums for the general public and to create pressure on policy shapers/makers for formulating effective policy measures pertaining to food and agriculture showing the cases of critical issues as well as best practices at ground.

The celebration events were organized in local, province and federal levels. The program begun with a press meet in Bharatpur, Chitwan on 22 September, 2022 with the aim of informing about the weeklong program. Various interaction programs along with rallies, food festivals and exhibitions were organized in Kathmandu, Surkhet, Dhangadi, Biratnagar, Hetuada and Kalika Municipality of Chitwan. A National dialogue on food and climate justice, and seminar on Agroecology: Rebuilding sustainable food systems were organized in Kathmandu. Where different organizations lead the themes related to Agroecology. All these interactions covered different dimensions of food and agriculture such as food rights, climate justice, policy discussion on right to food, food sovereignty, food security, and landlessness; agriculture of Karnali and Terai Madhesh; roles of rural women farmers; and contribution of agro-biodiversity to food security. Each thematic session consisted of presentations of panelists in the field followed by critical comments and open discussions.

The closing of month-long deliberations was followed by a Raithane Sanjh (local food festival) on 21st October 2022.

During the program period, Factsheet of Food and agriculture was prepared and widely distributed. Likewise, AAF prepared articles and published in national newspapers and online media. Appeals were also prepared and presented to political leaders, policymakers, government officials including local government representatives, public figures, media persons, farmers, activists, and representatives from different organizations. The major collaborators include: ActionAid Nepal, LiBIRD, CSRC, FIAN, NFGF, NLRF, SWI, IM Swedish, ERI, CEPP, CAED, ANAJ, DCA, Digo Bikash Institute, halokhabar, ubjani.com and Provincial and local governments.