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Equator Initiative Case Study - Kerala Kani Community Welfare Trust

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The Kerala Kani Community Welfare Trust is the result of an innovative partnership between a community of the indigenous Kani people, based in the Western Ghats, Kerala, and a private institute that has developed a medicinal product using local genetic resources and traditional knowledge. The discovery of the medicinal qualities of the Arogyapacha plant (Trichopus zeylanicus) was based on its local use for its anti-fatigue properties.
A long process of phytochemical, ethno-pharmacological and toxicological research by a local research institute led to the development of a herbal formulation for use in the production of a licensed herbal drug called ‘Jeevani’. Revenues from the license to manufacture the drug and royalties from its sale have been divided between the institute and the Kani community; these funds formed the basis of the trust, established in 1997 to oversee their reinvestment in community welfare projects. 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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