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Creating sustainable partnerships and financing for the Kanha Pench Corridor (KPC)

Published: 25 September 2018
Last edited: 28 March 2019
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Kanha Pench Corridor (KPC) is a vital ecosystem spread on 9,000 sq km, linking two Protected Areas (PA) - Tiger Reserves of Kanha (60-80 Tigers) and Pench (40-50 Tigers). The KPC is a mix of PA, non-PAs, revenue and private lands and provides livelihood to over half a million indigenous people who reside within it. It also provides services like regulating hydrology and sequestering carbon. Over recent decades, the KPC has faced severe fragmentation/degradation due to anthropogenic activities and climate change. In 2010 RBS Foundation India (RBS FI) began working in the KPC and over time realized that collaboration and pooling resources was pivotal to ensure the long term well-being of KPC and its dependent communities. RBS FI took a leading role in bringing the key stakeholders (government+ civil societies) together on the same platform and ensured sufficient resources (USD 10 mill, inc. USD 2.56 mill from Adaptation Fund) for KPC.


South Asia
Scale of implementation
Forest ecosystems
Rangeland / Pasture
Tropical deciduous forest
Gender mainstreaming
Habitat fragmentation and degradation
Indigenous people
Sustainable financing
Sustainable livelihoods
Climate Challenges (Hazards)
Erratic rainfall
Land and Forest degradation
Loss of Biodiversity
Ecosystem loss
Ecological Challenges
Lack of access to long-term funding
Economic Challenges
Sustainable development goals
SDG 1 – No poverty
SDG 10 – Reduced inequalities
SDG 13 – Climate action
SDG 15 – Life on land
SDG 17 – Partnerships for the goals


Mandla, Madhya Pradesh, India | Balaghat, Seoni, Madhya Pradesh, India
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  • Creating a long term & conducive partnership with Forest dept is critical yet difficult due to frequent officer changes and related variations in orientation, priorities etc
  • Collaborating with ideologically strong civil society partners and guiding them to work together to adopt a consistent approach for achieving the objectives. To ensure there is flexibility in a rigid system. 
  • Managing inter and intra community conflicts since the project is being implemented at a landscape level.
  • To design interventions that create a balance between the environment and socio-economic aspects. No socio-economic interventions (e.g. agriculture, livestock development) promoted should harm the ecological integrity of the KPC, and vice versa.
  • To facilitate pooling of resources from diferent sources and prevent overlap. Ensure implementation, reporting and monitoring requirements of the donors including environmental and social safeguards.


The project reaches out to 21,500 families in 252 villages settled in the KPC. Over 70% of the beneficiaries are indigenous, mainly Gonds and Baigas (categorized as particularly vulnerable). Main livelihoods include agriculture, livestock, and NTFPs.

How do the building blocks interact?

Working together requires all stakeholders to collaborate through a platform for a common goal. Working Together requires the group of organisations part of this solution to understand and meet each other requirements. To work in large landscapes and address community/ conservation issues requires a long term commitment and intensity; - this requires financing. Thus, sustainable financing is critical to ensure stakeholders work together, . 


In this solution, RBS FI has brought multiple CSOs, government agencies and other stakeholders on one platform to interact and implement activities on conservation and livelihoods adopting the approach of EbA. RBS FI has taken a lead role to establish a Project Steering Committee and through its own funds and from AF's support it has ensured sustainable and varied sources of funding. By partnering with the State Forest Department and Animal Husbandary Department and NABARD, RBS FI has ensured financing is received from government programmes to this solution. 


Community contributions are another critical source of financing which ensures sustainability of initiatives at the village level and provides a corpus which is used as a coping mechanism  by the community. 


Main outcomes realized/ in progress

- Pooled resources of USD 10 million: ¬ USD 2 million -RBSFI, USD 2.56 million -Adaptation Fund, ¬USD 3 million-Civil Society, ¬Govt dept USD 2.5 million for KPC

- Comprehensive mapping of KPC, including socio-economic profile of sample villages for improved understanding of the landscape dynamics. To be put in pubmic domain.

- Enhanced capacity of the community is 252 villages/¬21,500 families to take collective action on conservation, livelihoods and other developmental issues through robust local institutions. 

- Improved participation on women in decision making, with 30 percent representation and gender focussed activities being implemented with ¬600 women self help groups. 

-Improved community governance on over ¬20,000 hectares of village woodlots, commons and water bodies in KPC

- Eradication of invasive species from ¬2,500 hectares common and private lands

- Reduced grazing and fuelwood pressure on the KPC by an average of ¬5,000 tonnes per annum and ¬10,000 tonnes respectively

- Atleast 20% increase in gross incomes by improved management of natural resources

- Atleast 50% increase in gross incomes of 10,000 families by promotion of improved agriculture, livestock, skilling and market access.

-Knowledge Dissemination to the community and other stakeholders to scale learnings/models in KPC and similar landscapes


JSW-Times of India-Earth Care Awards 2015

We at RBSFI (promoted by the Royal Bank of Scotland), work on promoting sustainable livelihoods with vulnerable communities residing in ecologically critical landscapes of India. Initiated in 2007, we have created shared benefits for 125,000 families and 21 ecological units within the country. We started our work in KPC in 2010 with 15 villages, in partnership with the CSO - FES. The project developed promising models of community governance on commons and natural resource management. 'In one project village, Atarchua, the only source of livelihood was cutting trees, making and selling charcoal; the villagers now conserve around 200 hectares of village woodlots'. These stories of change gave us the confidence to expand our work in the KPC. 


In 2013 we  expanded our support to 175 additional villages and brought in another CSO partner, PRADAN, to work in KPC under the project. We continued to build our relationship with the State Forest Department (SFD), and created a Project Steering Committee. This PSC has members from SFD, other govt agencies, CSOs, academics and community members.

In 135 villages, PRADAN focused on gender mainstreaming, and promoted livelihoods with women through self-help groups/ federations. Women started getting recognized as farmers and for their economic contributions to the household. In 2015, the project won an award and the Minister of Forest & Climate Change, India presented it to a woman beneficiary from a project village. The beneficiary, Shanti Tekam, a gond tribal from one of the most remote parts to the country - in a venue full of intellectuals, bureaucrats and politicians - stood in a New Delhi 5 star hotel with confidence and said that 'I AM A FARMER TOO'. It was such a strong message, which gave us the motivation to do more for the KPC.


In 2015, we formalized our partnership with the State Forest Department in order to secure more financial resources to implement a holistic KPC project. We submitted a joint proposal to the Adaptation Fund. AF approved the project in 2016 and through the Steering Committee allowed us to reach out to 64 more villages in the KPC. The project builds on the value of Working Together and reaches out to over 250 villages and 21,500 families over an area of 8,000 sq km. The project involves 15 organisations, including SFD and multiple CSOs and is working towards ensuring a functional KPC ecosystem.

Contributed by

sen abhinav

Other contributors

RBS Foundation India
RBS Foundation India