ROTARY CLUB OF CALCUTTA MAHANAGAR
RTN. ASHOK AGGARWAL
Sundarbans - Conservation through Community Economic Development
Application for a Global Grant through AoF Environment
Restoration of Mangroves requires behavioural change through community economic development. In Sunderbans, India, with a density of 830 people/km2, a strategy of community diversification in livelihoods will reduce pressure on the mangroves(1). This impact is positive, measurable and sustainable. A 3-year pilot project with this approach is envisioned with a field project partner, Bandhan Konnagar(2).
Create Community Action Groups (CAG) in 2 Gram Panchayats (village councils) which comprise of 20 villages each (approximately 2000 people per village) in North 24 Parganas and South 24 Parganas Districts of West Bengal, India.
Year 1-3: CAG will select beneficiaries for training and running Apiaries as income generating model - Target 300 apiaries in 3 years.
Year 1-3: CAG will create extensive awareness of embankment protection, plastic menace to mangroves and importance of mangroves. This will be 20% of the project focus.
Year 1-3: Creating a plastic brick making unit (4) to generate income to sustain the CAG activities, as well as create a way to reduce plastic. Waste increased in the area after disaster relief (3). Note the economics of plastic waste conversion becomes impractical with distance.
Year 2-3: Nurseries of Nypa fruiticans (Nipa), one of only two palms that grow in mangroves have been drastically impacted in the Indian side of Sundarbans. This palm has medicinal and other uses, and can be used to strengthen embankments. Nurseries of Nypa and Phoenix paludosa (mangrove date palm), which also has a moderate to high salt tolerance, are planned to strengthen embankments as well as community resources.
Using Bandhan's upskilling programs, CAG members will be given opportunities to become entrepreneurs after the 3-year pilot program.
The program will be handed over to the CAG at the end of project period. Brick making units and apiaries will be able to sustain the CAG.
Budget $200,000 (3 years)
iRotree (App for Project Impact Reporting by ESRAG)
The main components of the project will be entered into iRotree, and systematic PIR will be generated. A mobile app makes it easier for community members to enter data at field level and analysis done in a non Relational Database System makes it user friendly. Impact of Plastic Cleanups, Tree Planting, Awareness Programs, can all be handled by this app.
Sustainable alternate livelihood programs with interventions in plastic waste management. This is a scalable model.
Honey has a huge demand and the apiaries can be scaled up. The supply chain is already established so scalability is possible.
Entrepreneurial ventures for youth and alternate livelihood options lead to less climate migration and could lead to a slow retreat from mangroves.