Creating a Bio-engineering social enterprise

Bighnaharta Nepal
Published: 24 September 2021
Last edited: 24 September 2021
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Summary

The lowland hilly ranges in Nepal are geologically young and tectonically active, posing a huge issues of geo-disasters such as landslides, soil erosion and environmental degradation. The area is also home to tribal communities who along with living at risk of environmental hazards experience a range of livelihood challenges shaped by historic socio-economical marginalization.

In order to mitigate natural disasters such as floods and landslides which are frequent in the hilly terrains, this nature-based solution aims to plant Broom Grass and  Bamboo on degraded lands and landslide prone areas, to save the households at risk communities while also addressing their economic issue by training them on social enterprise and finding the market for the produced goods from, those planted cash crop.

Broom grass and bamboo are able to mitigate landslide and  pose a huge financial potential as their byproducts such as brooms, bio fuel, papers and handicraft are in huge demand in global market.

Classifications

Region
South Asia
Scale of implementation
Local
Ecosystem
Agro-ecosystem
Agroforestry
Cropland
Theme
Access and benefit sharing
Disaster risk reduction
Erosion prevention
Food security
Indigenous people
Mitigation
Sustainable livelihoods
Traditional knowledge
Challenges
Avalanche/landslide
Land and Forest degradation
Loss of Biodiversity
Erosion
Unsustainable harvesting incl. Overfishing
Infrastructure development
Lack of access to long-term funding
Lack of alternative income opportunities
Lack of food security
Unemployment / poverty
Sustainable development goals
SDG 1 – No poverty
SDG 2 – Zero hunger
SDG 8 – Decent work and economic growth
SDG 10 – Reduced inequalities
SDG 11 – Sustainable cities and communities
Aichi targets
Target 1: Awareness of biodiversity increased
Target 4: Sustainable production and consumption
Target 7: Sustainable agriculture, aquaculture and forestry
Target 18: Traditional knowledge
Target 19: Sharing information and knowledge
Target 20: Mobilizing resources from all sources
Sendai Framework
Target 1: Reduce global disaster mortality by 2030
Target 2: Reduce the number of affected people globally by 2030
Target 3: Reduce direct disaster economic loss in relation to GDP by 2030
Business engagement approach
Direct engagement with a company
Direct engagement with associations

Location

Makwanpur District, Narayani, Nepal

Challenges

The main challenges that we faced were

 

Environmental: The plantation areas had to be done on terrains where landslides were frequent and soil was loose, posing the danger of work accidents. Therefor the plantation had to be done very cautiously. 

 

Social: Because the solution required the beneficiaries to spend couple of months during plantation and some weeks in capacity building workshops, it deprived them of the earnings they could have made doing manual labor works during that time.

 

Economic: Since this is a multi-year project, done by the newly created organization/group, raising funds was challenging.

Beneficiaries

The tribal communities living in those areas who have been historically marginalized both politically and economically. Most of the beneficiaries live under the poverty line. While conducting the project female-led households were given priority.

How do the building blocks interact?

The organization facilitating this solution plays a vital part in linking these bulding blocks and making them co-dependable. 

During the pilot phase of the project, Community Sensitization was done on large scale to interact and enroll the beneficiaries in the project and creating alliances. The beneficiaries and the implementing organization worked directly with these alliances on various levels to ensure their direct involvement in the success of this solution. The co-operative committee that was formed before the implementation phase for planning, management, implementation and marketing of the products conists of the beneficiary community as well as the alliances.

Impacts

Impacts created through the implementation of this solution in the pilot phase are:

  • Mitigation of geo-disaster such as landslides, flash floods, soil erosion and overall environmental degradation
  • Improvement of livelihoods of tribal and marginalized communities living in the proximity of the area through the sale of products from the cash crops 
  • Promotion of the tribal and indigenous knowledge 

Story

Bighnaharta Nepal

The gentelman in the photo inherited some land after the demise of his parents. Since he was young at the time of the allottment, he was given the degraded part by his elder brothers who took away the arable land. Because of the loose soil his land had frequent landslides and was not suitable to plant anything. He enrolled in this project and learned about broom grass plantation through the workshop given by this organization and started planting broom grass on his land to combat degradation. There have not been a single instance of landslide since and he was able to produce and sell brooms in the market earning an income. Through his plantation the soil became less loose and its properties improved. 

Contributed by

Gomesh Singh Upreti Bighnaharta Nepal