7th National Workshop on Community Forestry

The aim of this workshop is to review the five decades of CF, develop a common understanding on its achievements, lessons, challenges and opportunities especially in the changing biophysical and socio-political contexts.

Mainstreaming Biodiversity in Community Forests: Issues, Challenges, and Strategies

A half-day workshop on “Mainstreaming Biodiversity in Community Forests: Issues, Challenges, and Strategies” was successfully held in Hotel Himalaya on 24th March 2022. The program was jointly organized by the Department of Plant Resources, ForestAction Nepal, and Kathmandu Forestry College. The workshop was attended by officials from Ministry of Forest and Environment, NGOs, Academia and members of local communities working on biodiversity and forest management in Nepal. The participants represented a total of 25 different institutions.

The presentations, discussions and comments highlighted biodiversity significance of community forest, policy environment around community forest and status of invasive alien species in Nepal. Officials, researchers and participants discussed on challenges of integrating biodiversity conservation in community forests.  The participants suggested developing a minimum requirement for biodiversity inventory in community forests. Biodiversity significance was demonstrated through case of a DI UK funded project.

Dr Lila Nath Sharma, Prof Ambika Gautam and Kalpana Sharma Dhakal presented papers and Prof Bharat Babu Shrestha of TU and Dr. Rajendra KC, Director General of the Department of Forest and Soil Conservation commented on the presentation. Shiva Kumar Wagle, Chief of Planning and Monitoring Division, Ministry of Forest and Soil conservation, Dr Buddi Sagar Paudel, Director General of Department of Plant resources and Dr Mark Watson of Royal Botanical Garden Edinburg provided their remarks and highlighted need for scientific research on biodiversity and conservation in community forests.

 

Report Launch: Revitalising community forestry in the changing socioeconomic context of Nepal

‘Revitalising community forestry in the changing socioeconomic context of Nepal’ report launch event was successfully held at Hotel Himalaya on 15 March 2022.

The report was jointly launched by the Secretary of MoFE, Dr Pem Kandel, and HE Felicity Volk, Australian Ambassador to Nepal. There were over 35 participants from various institutions including joint secretaries from the MoFE, Divisional Forest Officers, Under Secretaries, Dean of Institute of Forestry, University Professors, Chair and representatives of FECOFUN, and representatives from NGOs and INGOs.

Secretary of the MoFE and HE the Ambassador, highlighted that the report is very timely and gives a strong basis to framing community forestry policies in the days to come and would provide crucial direction to strengthen the sector. They also acknowledged the collaborative effort of both Australian and Nepalese researchers on this report.

 

Origins and early development of community forestry in Nepal

A webinar on ‘Origins and early development of community forestry in Nepal’ was organized on 14 March 2022. The speakers involved pioneers and early advocates of community forestry in Nepal. The experiential insights of the four pioneers (Dr Don Gilmour, Mr. Stephen Midgley, Dr TBS Mahat, Dr Narayan Kaji Shrestha) threw light on the historical context of community forestry in Nepal, and provided footing to advance community based natural resources management in the challenging time and rapidly changing contexts.

The webinar was jointly organized by the EnLiFT2 project and the Nepalese Association of Agriculture, Forestry, and Environment in Australia. The full video to the webinar is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZbIBuPsIg5w&t=23s

Click here to download the transcription of the webinar

 

Celebration of the International Women’s Day (IWD)-2022 at ForestAction Nepal

On 8th of March, 2022, ForestAction team celebrated the “Break the Bias” and “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow” to mark the International Women’s Day 2022. The program started with a brief presentation about IWD, followed by a group learning on “my organization, my pride” through a participatory group work, cutting an “IWD 2022” cake and felicitating two women support staff in the organization.

Among other issues, the origin, history, the journey of women’s advancement throughout various international conventions, treaties and national commitments of the Government of Nepal, was highlighted during the gathering. Moreover, the importance of IWD 2022 motto on the need of today to break the bias to achieve equality was underlined. Subsequently, one of our female staff members recited a poem on, “Naari” (woman). It was followed by cutting the “IWD 2022” cake and celebration among the entire team. Likewise, two of our women support staff were felicitated in recognition of their support to the ForestAction team.

Ms. Kanchan Lama led a group work involving a participatory exercise to work out on the image, champions/villains, rituals and culture of ForestAction in regard to equity and equality. The staff were given colorful cards to write one answer in one card only, then to paste them in the sketch of a half cut onion. The objective of the exercise was to motivate the ForestAction team members towards their self-responsibilities to shape an “equality for creativity” type of organizational culture by contributing to building an enabling environment for all.  The ForestAction team members appreciated the efforts to achieve gender equality.

Feminist Approaches to Action Research: Transformational Dimensions

A two days training on “Feminist Approaches to Action Research: Transformational Dimensions” was conducted on 13-14 February, 2022 at Kathmandu. The training event was a capacity building initiative within the IDRC funded project “Economic Empowerment of Women through Forest Solutions”. The training was attended by 20 participants from ForestAction Nepal, HIMAWANTI, AFFON, FenFIT and SIAS. The key objective of the training was to develop understanding and internalizing feminist epistemology in women economic empowerment (WEE). The training comprised of eight sessions.

Dr. Bimala Rai Paudyal, Member of the National Assembly, was the key note speaker in the event and delivered her speech on- addressing women economic empowerment by national development plans. She shared that the women economic empowerment is a pre-condition for poverty eradication and inclusive growth. She explained by WEE components are embedded in the Constitution of Nepal, Development plans and Sustainable Development Goals. She informed the participants about affirmative measures adopted by government to promote women economic empowerment. She highlighted that property right, descent, participation and justice as the pillars of women empowerment.

The session on Feminist Epistemology was presented by Prof. Dr. Mira Mishra. She explained the theoretical perspective of feminist epistemology- Liberal, Marxist and Radical. She briefly shared the historical developments in the feminist theories starting from 1960s when the women’s experiences were largely omitted, distorted and trivialized in the knowledge production system. She further shared the key methods in feminist research as: feminist standpoint, intersectionality perspective and reflectivity.

Third session focused on the climate and pandemic resilience and its impacts on women economic empowerment. The session was undertaken by Ms. Srijana Shrestha, Under Secretary, Ministry of Forests and Environment. She explained how climate change affects the women disproportionally. She explained that the socialization, stereotypes, implicit bias, gender privilege and marginalization as factors hindering women empowerment.

Ms. Sabita Dhakhwa, trained the participants on scopes for forest based enterprise- women in timber. She shared several policy provisions related to forest based enterprises. She described the MED model and its significance in enterprise development. She shared opportunities and constraints for women led timber business. Ms. Manorama Adhikari trained the participants on GESI integrated monitoring, evaluation and learning. Project monitoring indicators were revisited during her session.

Ms. Kanchan Lama enlightened the participants through transformative approaches to women’s leadership. Giving example of transformational leaders at national and global level, Ms. Lama inspired the participants to adopt transformative approaches to women’s economic empowerment.

Two session were focused on research methods. Dr. Mani Ram Banjade, took session on research methods and tools. He explained about philosophical basis for knowledge generation. Different theoretical perspectives and research paradigms were discussed. He shared the differences and significances of constructivism, positivism and pragmatism. The importance of qualitative and quantitative methods was discussed. Dr. Naya Sharma Paudel trained the participants on the theory and practices of action research. He explained about the key elements of action research, forest policy actor landscape and critical perspective adopted in action researches.

The training closed after the Institutional heads of the Consortium Partner’s expressed their opinion.

 

 

41st International World Food Day

41st International World Food Day was celebrated with a month-long event during September-October 2021. The celebration started with a press meet on 10th September and the closing event on 2nd November 2021. Alliance of Agriculture for Food/ForestAction Nepal collaborated with 24 different networks/alliances and organizations. With the objective of creating public awareness on the issues of food and agriculture to realize the importance of agriculture for food in the context of agriculture development in Nepal, we have been celebrating Food Day for the last 5 years. Over the years it has been established as a forum to raise the collective voices of the general public, farmers, and farming communities to create pressure on policy shapers/makers for formulating effective policy measures.

The debates and discussions around issues of agroecology and close issues were organized mainly virtually with 20 virtual thematic sessions. These sessions were organized by different collaborators depending on their subject area and expertise. An awareness-raising video song, jingles, and publications were also prepared and distributed.

National Inception Workshop – Economic Empowerment of Women through Forest Solutions

A National Inception Workshop for “Economic Empowerment of Women through Forest Solutions”- an Action Research Project funded by IDRC Canada and implemented by a consortium of ForestAction Nepal, The Himalayan Grassroots Women’s Natural Resource Management Association (HIMAWANTI), Association of Family Forest Owner’s, Nepal (AFFON) and Federation of Forest-based Industry and Trade, Nepal (FenFIT-Nepal) was held on 2nd January 2022. The workshop aimed at further refining the methodology, strengthening the research-policy linkage, and building synergy among the stakeholders.

The workshop was participated by 38 members representing Ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation, Department of Forest, Department of Forest Research and Training Center, Universities, Research-based organizations, Civil Society Organizations, journalists, and other organizations.  The program was designed to introduce the project among stakeholders and break-out sessions to discuss existing practices, barriers/issues/challenges, and opportunities around the project themes i.e. Women’s economic empowerment and women agency; Sustainable forest management, and Forest-based enterprises.

The program was successful in obtaining insights on the project components, approaches, including developing a consensus among stakeholders on importance of women’s economic empowerment through low carbon solutions. Majority of the participants highlighted the “forest as a means to prosperity” as envisioned by the Ministry of Forest and Environment.  The stakeholders expressed strong commitments to make the program successful.

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40th World Food Day

This year, the 40th World Food Day was celebrated with a slogan “Grow, Nourish, Sustain. Together”, throughout the world. ForestAction Nepal, the secretariat of Alliance of Agriculture for Food (AAF), in collaboration with Department of Agriculture/GoN and other likeminded organizations (Helvetas Nepal, ActionAid Nepal, DCA, Im Sweden, Fastenopfer, LiBIRD, CSRC, NFGF, NLRF, FIAN, CAED, CEPP, Samriddha Karnali Abhiyan, NPG, and ANAJ) celebrated the world food day by distributing paid souvenir bag with local foods, providing free local food to people at Khulamanch, and organizing virtual discussions in different themes for a week (11-16th October).

The major event organized on the occasion of World Food Day was virtual seminar. Virtual seminars on different themes were organized/led by the partner organizations. 12 Seminars were held in total. Around 600 people attended the seminars. More than 100 people shared their experiences on the related topics. The online events were also broadcasted live through the Facebook page of one of our media partners HaloKhaber.com.

Similarly, around 400 bags which included a local foods (Marshe Rice/Prosomillet , Jumli beans, Flaxseeds/sesame, Cardamom and Sichuan Pepper), as a souvenir, were delivered to the influential persons like political leaders, policy makers, government officials, public figures, media persons, farmers , activists and representatives from different organizations. The idea behind providing this souvenir was to promote the local and indigenous foods from different parts of the country and make people aware about the importance of local foods. Along with the food, food day appeal had been distributed.

Apart from this, in collaboration with 100 S group (the volunteer group which has been feeding/providing food to the homeless people in Khulamunch, Kathmandu since the starting of Lockdown, imposed by government due to COVID 19), nearly about 200 people were served with organic foods in Khullamunch Kathmandu.

 

Nursery Management and Development Training

A three-day Nursery management and development training commenced on 23rd Feb 2020 at Patlepani Nursery, Chautara Sangachowk has been accomplished. Eight nursery caretakers (3 female, 5 male) participated in the training. The objective of this training was to strengthen the capacity of the existing nursery caretakers from six EnLiFT-2 clusters on high-value forest nursery and green enterprise development.

In the training sessions, the participants identified their knowledge gap on nursery techniques of selected species. Dr. Bishnu Hari Pandit facilitated to address the gaps through practical and theoretical nursery practice. All the participants developed their action plan to be implemented this year. The training was closed with nursery equipment distribution, certificate distribution, and followed by closing remarks delivered by Divisional Forest Officer, Sindhupalchok (Mr. Devi Chandra Pokhrel) as well as EnLiFT-2 Nepal team leader Dr. Naya Sharma Paudel.

Biodiversity Assessment of Jalthal Forest Accomplished

ForestAction Nepal recently completed a comprehensive assessment of Jalthal forest biodiversity. Jalthal forest is a biodiversity rich remnant forest in Jhapa district and is an important habitat for Elephant. The assessment included floral diversity, forest status, tree inventory, and forest disturbance and conservation status. The survey involved 25 local people (80 man-days work), three MSc students, one forester and an ecologist. The fieldwork was led by ForestAction researcher Dr. Lila Nath Sharma. Data entry is in progress while the preliminary analysis of the second stage sampling will be conducted.

Biodiversity Assessment of Jalthal Forest

ForestAction Nepal is undertaking forest survey as part of comprehensive biodiversity assessment of Jalthal forest in Jhapa district. The survey is conducted to generate data to facilitate evidence based management of the biodiversity-rich forest. The survey will also serve as baseline data for forest biodiversity monitoring, forest growth and tree carbon storage. Ongoing survey is expected to analyze the spatial correlates of forest biodiversity. The survey is conducted using systematic random sampling method in 100 square meter plots. The forest has been divided in to grids of 500m x 500 m for sampling purpose. Sampling includes capturing floral diversity including ferns and epiphytes, measurement of individual trees and samplings and assessment of plot level disturbances and habitat assessment. The activity is led by Dr Lila Nath Sharma engaging three master students from Tribhuvan University and representatives of respective community forests. The survey is supported by Darwin Initiative UK.