Exposure visit: Cross project learnings and sharing on women-led enterprises

Exposure visit: Cross project learnings and sharing on women-led enterprises

  • January 30, 2024

The EnLiFT2 project in Nepal’s Kavrepalanchok and Sindhupalchok districts has been actively engaging in actions to improve forest management and promote gender equality and social inclusion (GESI) within community forestry. As part of these efforts, an exposure visit was organized from January 24th to 27th, 2024, targeting women leaders from various Community Forest User Groups (CFUGs), Local Government (LG), and the Federation of Community Forests Users in Nepal (FECOFUN). The visit aimed to enhance participants’ understanding of women’s empowerment opportunities through community forestry, particularly focusing on income-generating interventions and collaborative efforts between CFUGs and LGs.

A total of 24 women leaders participated, representing different CFUGs and local government bodies. The objectives of the visit included observing Non-Timber Forest Product (NTFP) based women-led enterprises in project sites of Economic Empowerment of Women through Forest Solutions in Nawalparasi, sharing and learning from cross-project experiences, and understanding the potential for collaboration between LGs and CFUGs in fostering forest and NTFP-based enterprises for women’s economic empowerment.

The visits  centered on various women-led enterprises, including Thakal and broom enterprise in Namuna CFUG, bio cups and plates enterprise in Amarjyoti CFUG, and Triphala enterprise in Shankhadev CFUG, among others. Participants engaged in discussions with entrepreneurs, CFUG members, and local government representatives, exploring topics such as entrepreneurship development, resource management, market access, and sustainability.

Key reflections from participants highlighted the importance of realizing the economic potential of forest resources, the need for skills development training, and the significance of selecting enterprises based on available resources and community interests for sustainable operation. Participants also emphasized the importance of connecting women’s enterprises with CFUGs, ensuring a rigorous beneficiary selection process, and enhancing awareness among community members about resource availability and market potential.

Overall, the exposure visit provided valuable insights into successful women-led enterprises, collaborative efforts between stakeholders, and the potential for replicating such models in participants’ respective communities. It also underscored the importance of continuous learning, capacity building, and strategic partnerships in promoting women’s economic empowerment and sustainable forest management within community forestry contexts.