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Equator Initiative Case Study – St. Catherine Medicinal Plants Association Association

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St. Catherine Medicinal Plants Association Association protects and cultivates native and endemic species of medicinal plants in the St. Catherine Reserve in Sinai, while developing alternative livelihood options for the area’s economically marginalized Bedouin population. The reserve contains several unique and endangered medicinal plant species which have been threatened by overharvesting, collection for use as fuel, and overgrazing.
The association promotes home gardens, provides alternative energy solutions, gives hands-on training on sustainable harvesting techniques, and creates market supply chains for locally produced medicinal herbs, handicrafts and honey. Alternative livelihood programmes, focusing on women in particular, support farmers through the process of planting through to the marketing of products. Revenues from association activities have been invested in a rotating fund which allows community members to access small loans. The Equator Initiative brings together the United Nations, governments, civil society, businesses and grassroots organizations to recognize and advance local sustainable development solutions for people, nature and resilient communities. As local and indigenous groups across the world chart a path towards sustainable development, the Equator Prize--issued biennially by the Equator Initiative--shines a spotlight on their efforts by honoring them on an international stage. This project was awarded the Equator Prize in recognition of its contribution to local sustainable development solutions.

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