Nepal constitutes a mere 0.1% of global land area, but possesses incredibly diverse biological resources and has rich and unique cultural heritage. Forests provide a wealth of resources for daily subsistence and income generation for local communities in Nepal, including fuelwoods, fodder and non-timber forest products; livelihood of rural communities is dependent on forests. Community forestry in Nepal has been a major success in improving the livelihoods of local communities in many parts of the country and now deeply engrained in the Nepalese traditions. The shortage of funding, inadequate training to local community forest user groups, rapid urbanization, no timely intervention of government policies and programs, and lack of environmental awareness however, have all become major hurdles in promoting community based forest management in rural areas of Nepal. As in many countries, there is considerable regional disparity in Nepal, and over half of the population lives below poverty line (i.e. less than a dollar a day) and therefore not all rural communities have been able to access resources through initiatives such as community forestry. Additionally, problematic issues that plague forests worldwide also exist in Nepal, namely pollution, deforestation and forest degradation, poaching, encroachment and habitat loss through land conversion.
Recognizing the need to build sustainable alternatives, Forests without Borders has developed a project in Nepal that focuses on Forestry and Environmental Education within Schools, particularly in remote areas of the country. Learning from successful lessons from Forests without Borders’ past projects, specifically in Zambia and investigations in Haiti, we have developed pilot projects in three high-schools in the mid-hills of Nepal: Kolma Baraha Chour School, Divya Prakash School, and Bhabishya Nirman School. The project aimed to establish multi-purpose forest tree nurseries (composed of local tree species) and are set to be linked into the school curriculum, teaching valuable lessons in forestry and sustainable management. Not only will students be given the opportunity to benefit from the program; entire communities and families will also become stewards and beneficiaries of the nurseries. With a target of 3000-4000 tree seedlings in the first year, nurseries will serve both as a foundation for education, and furthermore, provide uses for timber, fuel, fruit, fodder and other local needs. Over the long-term, these nurseries will become self-sufficient and supply additional tree seedlings that can be utilized through community and ecological or small business ventures.
Providing the knowledge base and skill-set for sustainable management of forest resources will undoubtedly curtail deforestation rates in Nepal. Moreover, the establishment of community-based projects has the opportunity to facilitate economic gain, and social benefits, enhancing local livelihoods.
Many village schools in developing countries have few educational resources such as reference books and teachers supplies. In Zambia, village schools are given land on which grain crops such as maize is grown that is used to pay the village school teachers. Some of the land is unsuitable for growing grain crops but can grow trees. A village school is made up of 2 or 3 classrooms and has about 100 students.
Forests without Borders will provide a kit of durable educational resources (such as a blackboard, dictionary, solar powered or wind up radio, atlas, etc.) tree growing equipment and tree growing advice to a village school if the school grows trees on its land. The school selects the educational resources it needs.
Zambia has been hard hit by HIV/Aids, has a large population of rural poor and very high rates of deforestation. We are working with the local people to establish an orchard of trees that can serve as an important source of protein for the sick and children and is also a source of income. The "Trees for hope in Zambia" project is our contribution to the larger effort being led by Garry Brooks (a CIF member from the Vancouver Island Section) entitled "African Community Project".
African Community Project (ACP) educates rural communities across Zambia about the importance of the environment that surrounds them: mainly the forests. Forests play a vital role in our lives, yet we sometimes take them for granted.
Communities are educated through the establishment of tree nurseries at the village schools and teaching the teachers, as well as the students, the need to look after their environment. Skills in growing trees, their uses and the environmental benefits of maintaining a healthy forest take the forefront in these projects. All types of trees are grown, from fast-growing trees like Moringa (health), Leucaena (firewood) and Jatropha (bio fuels) to fruit trees, commercial (pine and eucalyptus) and, most importantly, indigenous trees. Creating sustainable livelihoods from the forest, like charcoal production, beekeeping, basket and mat making, medicine, food (mushrooms and caterpillars), fish farming, and tourism, are also important goals.
Find out more about this project please visit: http://www.africancommunityproject.com/.
Only about 2% of Haiti is covered by forests today compared to over 60% in the early 1900’s. In Haiti we are working with the ‘Foundation for International Development Assistance-Productive Cooperatives Haiti’ (FIDA-PcH), another Canadian charity. FIDA-PcH has wisely guided us toward their work in Duchity and neighbouring communities of Beaumont, Les Cave and Gorjet. Newly formed Cooperatives in each of these communities have a wealth of knowledge and future vision; perfect for us to begin to understand how we can most effectively contribute.
Click here for more details on this project.
Members of the CIF/IFC across the country have been hard at work, finding fun and creative ways to raise money for Forests Without Borders. Sponsored plantings, Pennies 4 Seeds, Tools For Trees, drawing contests & the sale of t-shirts are just some of the initiatives currently under way. For more details and fundraising ideas please visit the "Success Stories" and/or the "Fundraising Tools" sections of our website.