Traditional Gond communities living at Pench usually live on the fringes of its protected areas. These tribals are economically compromised, and resort to subsistence farming and labour to sustain themselves.
However, uncertain monsoons and the destruction of their crops by wild herbivores make survival on agriculture difficult. So in 2014, CWT conducted a study to understand the needs of the locals.
Methods to generate income that are sustainable were identified and economic models of self-help groups have been created.
Skills are being imparted and ways to link them to the market continue to be established. Currently there is a stitching school where women tailor clothes, paper production to create innovative products, and village-based tours that are curated. All of these are marketed under the CWT brand Tiger Tribes.
As an ongoing process of livelihood intervention, there will be several upcoming projects to look forward to as well.
CWT has established “silai” or stitching schools in Kolitmara, Dahoda and Satosa gram panchayats in Pench, Maharashtra and MP.
The school, in collaboration with Usha International Limited, runs a tailoring program that has a beneficiary population of close to 90 women in the three village clusters.
The trust is working on establishing market links for the women workers to ensure that they receive a steady income. The trust hopes that such skills will inspire entrepreneurial endeavours in the long term.
CWT also partners with PashooPakshee where women from the Silai school in Khamrith make Khadi soft toys (Leopard and Sloth bear), bag charms.
Women from these villages are currently being taught to make handmade paper, bags and products from the fabric waste of a textile mill.
By encouraging thoughtful and sustainable ways of creation, the result is an original upcycled product.
The goods embody a contemporary, global aesthetic, and not only are the women empowered financially, they are even changing the perception of recycled materials since waste is being used to create an asset.
Community-managed rural tourism is a way for traditional societies to earn an income as well as feel the incentive to conserve their environment and way of life.
A unique program under the Tiger Tribes brand has been created with some partnerships. The Gond tribal villagers are taught entrepreneurial and management skills to help them manage hospitality businesses. And the tours that they conduct are designed to showcase their ancient lifestyle, stories, art and surrounding nature.
Visitors to Pench have a variety of ways to immerse themselves in local ways:
A short walk through a tribal village where a guide showcases the traditional lifestyle and housing. Tourists can purchase local produce and merchandise at the end of the tour.
Visitors will be taken through defined routes in the buffer zone, where the village guides share their lore on animals and plant life. It includes an education in the biodiversity, geology, geography and ecology of the region.
VILLAGE LIFE IMMERSION
Here’s a chance to experience the life of a local with daily chores such as chopping wood, learning traditional cooking, tending and milking cattle, drawing water from the well and more.
Learning hands-on techniques and practices for growing grains, vegetables and fruit using traditional practices.
TEA ON A MACHAAN
Constructed above the ground from local materials, a machaan platform offers wide-angle views of the forest, and is the perfect spot for visitors to sip on traditional village tea and snack on sumptuous savories.
Find out more about booking a Tiger Tribes trail.
A project proposed in the villages of Ghoti, Kolitmara and Khamba found much acceptance and enthusiasm among the community members leading to its implementation. Thus far the project has been implemented successfully with much enthusiastic participation of the village communities.
The communities of the project villages have over a long period of time faced various economic, environmental and health issues. In their preliminary studies of the villages, Clea and Alex, of The Permaculture Way found that many of these problems are connected to the land and how they use it. Their “Forest Floor Method” was the best suited solution.
Permaculture imitates the forest ecosystem. It is a tree based farming system which resembles and functions like a forest. It not only provides ample food for everyone but also gives income through multiple sources.
Through permaculture our vision is to create ‘food forests’ that allow for less human-wildlife conflict by providing the tiger with a more familiar ecosystem while simultaneously providing nutritional and economic benefits to the village communities through the plantation of high value fruit, nut, medicinal and vegetables bearing plants.
• Increased income
• Improved health
• Improvement in the quality of soil
Started with an intention to help revitalize traditionally occurring kitchen gardens attached to the homes of the village community.
Using permaculture principles, CWT aims to assist in the farming of vegetables to suffice the daily needs of a family. Equally important is the fact that the kitchen gardens will provide and reinforce a healthy, nutritionally balanced diet.
With the loss in diversity of food, when forests communities are stopped from the practice of foraging in the forest, their diets are nutritionally imbalanced leading to chronic ailments like anemia. Surplus produce will be sold to neighboring hotels with an intention to provide an additional income.
In June 2016, we began a handmade paper making venture with Pranav Gajjar of Industhan. Two years on, our venture is going strong and continues to grow. Textile waste from Morarjee Textiles Limited is used to create paper for a niche market.
This ensures that the community in the village of Ghoti continues to earn a steady income all year round, and also the sustainable and lucrative management of waste generated from textile production.
This Tiger Paper venture has engaged 20 families in Ghoti village and provides them a supplemental income in excess of Rs. 12,000 per year. With time, we hope to slowly and steadily grow this promising venture to include more members of the community in Ghoti village.
The women supply paper to Pashoo Pakshee for their artwork kits.