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South Asia

Equator Initiative Case Study – Tribal Communities of the Jeypore Tract of Orissa (Odisha)

The M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) was concerned about the rapid depletion of rice diversity in the Jeypore tract of the Indian state of Orissa, once the home of the largest number of rice varieties in India. In 1998, the foundation undertook to improve the condition of poor farmers while revitalizing vanishing rice varieties, combining modern and traditional approaches for the conservation, enhancement, and sustainable use of local rice biodiversity.

Equator Initiative Case Study – Sri Lanka Wildlife Conservation Society

Sri Lanka Wildlife Conservation Society works to enable communities across the country to balance ecosystem protection and economic development by exploring ways to resolve human-elephant conflict through community development, capacity building, and research.

Equator Initiative Case Study – Shidhulai Swanirvar Sangstha

In the low-lying northwestern region of Bangladesh, a mosaic of wetland ponds and waterways make travel extremely difficult, particularly during the monsoon season when extensive flooding occurs. To address this challenge, Shidhulai Swanirvar Sangstha operates a fleet of 54 solar-powered boats to deliver services that range from schools to agricultural extension centers. The vessels are able to navigate waterways and pull up alongside villages that would otherwise be too isolated to receive such support.

Equator Initiative Case Study – Samudram Women's Federation

Samudram is a federation of 160 women’s self-help groups across 50 villages in Ganjam and the nearby districts of Orissa, India. The Federation works at the intersection of biodiversity conservation and poverty reduction, empowering its more than 1,500 economically-marginalized members with income generation activities, while conserving Olive Ridley Turtle nesting sites.

Equator Initiative Case Study - Medicinal Plants Conservation Centre

Medicinal Plants Conservation Centre encourages conservation, supports local livelihoods and improves the health of rural communities in the Indian state of Maharashtra, focusing on the revitalization of traditional health practices and use of medicinal plants. In cooperation with the state Forest Department, and with local communities in the lead, MPCC uses nurseries and commercial herbal production centers to sell sustainably cultivated medicinal plants.

Equator Initiative Case Study - Kerala Kani Community Welfare Trust

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.

Equator Initiative Case Study - Genetic Resource, Energy, Ecology and Nutrition (GREEN) Foundation

With the aim of preserving seed diversity and genetic heritage, encouraging the adoption of organic farming practices, and improving rural livelihoods, GREEN Foundation works through around 40 farmers’ groups – termed Krishi Self-Help Groups – covering 30 villages across the northern districts of Karnataka, comprising a target population of almost 5,000 farmers, with a particular focus on women and indigenous peoples. All groups are members of a farmers’ federation, Janadhanya. Beginning in 1994 with just a handful of farmers, the association now comprises 650 members.

Equator Initiative Case Study - Community Development Centre (CDC) of Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka’s Community Development Centre (CDC) has worked to improve rural livelihoods through conservation of indigenous tuber varieties using seed banks managed by women-led self-help groups. Local technologies are used for seed production, with training on in-situ conservation of native varieties on individual land parcels. These self-help cooperatives are organized into federations of around five or six groups, each of which maintains a revolving credit fund to stimulate livelihoods diversification.

Equator Initiative Case Study - Aharam Traditional Crops Producers’ Company

Aharam Traditional Crops Producers’ Company works with socially marginalized rural producers to conserve biodiversity in the semi-arid Ramnad Plains of Tamil Nadu state. The initiative uses a producer group model focused on women and landless labourers to promote organic farming practices that improve crop diversity and agro-biodiversity. The group’s work has aimed at reducing dependence on cotton cultivation by increasing the commercial viability of farming small-scale crops and harvesting medicinal plants.

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