The success of ecosystem management interventions in Rauta VDC of Udaipur gained the attention of the organising committee of the World Environment Day 2016 of Government of Nepal which recognised the Dumri Thumka women’s group with an appreciation letter and a cash reward of NRs 25,000. The recognition was presented to Mrs Kumari Alle, head of the Dumri Thumka women’s group by Honourable Minister Mr Agni Sapkota, Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation, Government of Nepal at a national event in Jawalakhel on 5 June 2016. The gesture by the Government of Nepal for small scale action research in Udaipur was seen as an inspirational message to the women of the region.
As part of the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development’s (ICIMOD) Rural Livelihoods and Climate Change Adaptation in the Himalayas (Himalica Programme), multidisciplinary teams from ecosystem services are supporting action research on ecosystem management in Rauta. The team has been working with Bird Conservation Nepal (BCN) based in Kathmandu and Nava Prabat Nepal based in Gaighat, Udaipur for last two and half years. The action research interventions focus on: ecosystem management through promotion of ‘zero grazing’; ecosystem management through promotion of erosion control and rehabilitation of erosion prone areas; reducing pressure on ecosystem through introduction of locally prepared low cost improved cook stoves; and introducing and promoting kitchen gardening for nutrient supply and additional income.
The three year action research has shown many positive changes with the Village Development Committee (VDC) where local communities lead by women’s group have convinced villagers to opt for a ban on open grazing by domestic animals, to change the landscape with new plantations leading to erosion control, to promote smokeless chulas reducing 40 percent of fuelwood consumption, and campaigning for home gardens to supply vegetables for domestic use as well as selling commercially. The action research also strengthened the alliance between the line departments actions within the VDC.