ForestAction Nepal, along with its consortium partners HIMAWANTI, AFFON, and FenFit, Nepal, has successfully completed the plantation of 31,034 NTFPs in Sindhupalchowk and Nawalparasi (Bardaghat Susta Purba) districts this year. The process of plantation as a resource base creation has been an empowering process for women entrepreneurs carved out by the project Economic Empowerment of Women through Forest Solutions. The project took intersectionality as an important approach for the action research. Many women are deprived of forest resources, even though their livelihoods depend heavily on the forest for food, fuel, and income. Their access to these resources is denied. Hence, to ensure the resources in the vicinity of the communities, the plantation and distribution of the NTFP resources like 500 bamboo, 23,900 amriso, 2000 coffee, and 4634 nigalo were done.
They are the ones who preferred the species for the plantation after being involved in the task force created for undertaking the activities. Strolling around the village, they found the different qualities of the species based on their traditional knowledge. They also went to neighboring villages for resource exploration, enhancing their freedom of mobility from their daily household work and even negotiated the prices. Hence, they secured abundant resources for the consistent supply of raw materials for the enterprises they selected in the inception period of the project, allowing them to assure the sustainability of the resources. Furthermore, interactions with the private farmers and local government in the process have helped in their agency’s development as well as strengthening of private sector.
The arduous process of the plantation involves mind mapping and demand collection from women entrepreneurs, followed by coordination and discussion with stakeholders- Local Government, Division Forest Office, private resource owners, community forest user groups, rural marginalized women entrepreneurs, in Nawalpur and Sindhupalchowk districts. Arranging the human resources for extraction purposes (labor, transportation) was a herculean task during these peak agricultural engagement periods yet it was successful with strong dedications from the entrepreneurs.
To assure sustainability, women entrepreneurs are held accountable to leverage the resources, and social mobilizers are mobilized for frequent monitoring and supervision at the plantation site.