Promoting nature-based solutions and alternative livelihoods through introduction of bamboo handicrafts for Norbugang NWFP Group
Promoting nature-based solutions and alternative livelihoods through introduction of bamboo handicrafts for Norbugang NWFP Group
Norbugang Non- Wood Forest Products (NWFP) Management Group is made up of 28 members covering Norbugang chiwog under Norbugang Gewog, Nganglam Dungkhag. The group comprises of a Chairman, a secretary and an accountant who are elected through vote every after 3 years by the NWFP members. Due to increasing illegal harvesting of NWFPs, the group was formed and established formally in 2015 facilitated by Department of Forests and Park Services (DoFPS) and manages 11 species of NWFPs including Cane and Bamboo approved by DoFPS for sustainable management and income generation. These resources are collected from 15 collection sites with a total area of 238.13 Hectares under Norbugang Chiwog. However, there is no or limited income generation and livelihood sustenance due to limited community capacity in product diversification and value chain management. The main source of income for these people currently is from the sale of oranges where these people earn on an average of Nu. 50000 annually. However, due to the recent mass dying of orange trees in the south eastern side, the means of earning income has been severely affected.
In order to address the above problem, the project aims to increase the income opportunity of the communities through nature based solution (NbS) initiative making cane and bamboo handicrafts/products for sale through replication of UNDP GEF SGP’s successful programs initiated in other areas like Bjoka and Phongchelo villages under Zhemgang district in 2019 and 2020. The group aims to produce around Nu. 100000 worth of products in the initial phase. For the sustenance of the project, the committees at different level will shoulder the responsibilities for the initiation of the activities efficiently with constant support from project experience in Pongchila and SGP. Further, the group will continue raising group fund through annul membership fees contribution and sale of products. The Committees will also ensure proper record keeping for any expenditure incurred. The details of procedures will be elaborated during the framing of marketing strategies and By-laws for the group. To ensure resources sustainability, the group will follow the management plan developed based on resource assessment and will be monitored by Norbugang Forest Range.

Project Objectives and Expected Results
Problem statement/challenge: Though, there is an interested and committed community group to sustainably manage the NWFPs (Cane and Bamboo), due to limited community capacity for product diversification, the group can hardly earn from it. So, there is a high chances of these people returning to their traditional livelihood (poaching).

The following objectives/strategies and their expected outcomes through activities mentioned in the following paragraphs are formulated to address the issue concerning the community’s livelihood and conservation of natural resources:

Objective 1. Build Community capacity to formulate and implement projects
Outcome 1.1: Capacities of the community to formulate and implement projects enhanced
Outcome 1.2: Community capacity enhanced through engagement in sustainable management and conservation of Cane and Bamboo
Outcome 1.3: Community capacity to develop products enhanced


Objective 2. Improve community-led biodiversity friendly practices and approaches
Outcome 2.1: Enhanced community-led biodiversity friendly practices that contribute to ecological and social resilience.


Objective 3. Enhance knowledge management and lessons sharing.
Outcome 3.1: Knowledge from the project experience managed and shared

These approaches also has a clear alignment with GEF-SGP, UNDP strategic objectives and country priorities such as: 1) Poverty eradication and inequality reduction, 2) Healthy ecosystem maintained, 3) Gender equality promoted and women and girls empowered, 4) Economic diversification and productive capacity enhanced, 5) Carbon neutral, climate and disaster resilient development enhanced.

The MoAF is the primary organization engaged with natural resource management. The mandate and objectives of the MoAFs has direct link with this project’s focal areas. They are the following:
• Management of natural resources for sustainable utilization of ecosystem goods and services enhanced.
• RNR marketing and value chain development enhanced.
• RNR sector contribution to national economy increased.

Description of Project Activities

Objective 1. Build community capacity to formulate and implement projects

Outcome 1.1: Capacities of the community to formulate and implement projects enhanced
Activity 1: Consultative meeting, drawing agreements and common consensus among the stakeholders. This will be carried out at Norbugang Community Lakhang ground for 2 days as soon as the projects gets approved. It will be led by Norbugang NWFP group chairperson, Secretary and accountant facilitated by Norbugang Forestry Range official and local government representative. An official agreement drawn unanimously by the NWFP group will be ready which will keep the group members in track towards achieving the project goal. Following this, the Geog Ranger, Norbugang NWFP Chairman, Secretary and Accountant (executive members) will conduct a preliminary visit to Bjoka and Pongchelo NWFP groups so that a good communication link is set up with the experienced persons from those successfully implemented similar projects. This will help consult on important matters during any project activity implementation based on their experiences.
Activity 2: Training on proposal formulation, project management and financial management. The project beneficiaries will be trained on project proposal formulation, management and the financial management (book and record keeping) by PGFD and local government at Norbugang Community Lakhang. It will help community build capacity to formulate and implement the project.
Activity 3: Supply of equipment including product dying materials. This activity will be carried out by the project beneficiaries led by the chairperson, and accountant. It will be bought from available market. Supplying the equipment will enhance the community capacity to product development and diversification with the markets demand.
Activity 4: Training on bamboo and cane cultivation, propagation and harvesting to members including nursery development. The training will be conducted by 3 official from PGFD accompanied by Norbugang Forest Ranger for a duration of 3 days (theory at Norbugang Community Lakhang and practical in Norbugang NWFP collection areas) to the NWFP group members which will contribute to sustainable harvesting, management and conservation of the NWFPs used.
Activity 5: Establish Community weaving centre. This activity will be carried out by the project beneficiaries led by the chairperson under Norbugang chiwog in close consultation with the local government and PGFD. It will be completed in 2 month and will be carried out after the nursery development. The weaving centre can be used for storing the group materials and products apart from weaving. It can be also a meeting point for the group to discuss and carry out any trainings.
Activity 6: Project administration (inceptions, marketing of products) and review meetings. This activities will be carried out by the NWFP members which will be closely guided by SGP National Coordinator and PGFD.
Activity 7: Development of marketing plan and by-Laws. This activity will be carried out after exposure trip visit to successful similar project implemented sites (Bjoka and Phongchelo). The marketing plan and by-laws will be developed in 2 days at Norbugang community lhakhang which will be led by the chairperson with support from PGFD thereby enhancing community capacity for better value chain management.


Outcome 1.2: Community capacity enhanced through engagement in sustainable management and conservation of cane and bamboo.
Activity 8: Resources (Cane and Bamboo) assessment in partnership with PGFD. It will be led by Norbugang Forest Ranger along with 5 Forestry official from Nganglam Forest range accompanied by Norbugang NWFP Group members. The assessment will be carried out in Norbugang NWFP group NWFP collection areas (238.13 Hectares) approved by DoFPS which will be completed in 1 month with an evidence based document of the resources available for sustainable management.
Activity 9: Capacity building on conservation awareness (NWFPs) to members. This activity will be conducted by Norbugang Forest Ranger and 2 officials from Nganglam Forest Range at Norbugang community Lhakhang for a duration of 1 day to the NWFP members. And this activity aims to highlight the conservation significance of NWFPs towards a climate resilient livelihood.
Activity 10: Develop Project Exit Strategy and implement the strategy. This activity will be carried out prior to project end date and will be facilitated by PGFD in close guidance by National SGP coordinator.

Outcome 1.3: Community capacity to develop products enhanced
Activity 11: Advance training of weavers on handicraft (Bangchung, Dappa, Dzem, Baskets, trays, etc) weaving skills by hiring experienced craftsman from well-established groups with close consultation with handicraft association of Bhutan (product diversification). An experienced craftsman/craftswomen 2 each from Bjoka and Phongchelo handicraft group will be invited to Norbugang and will train for a period of 3 weeks on an alternative days to accommodate the needs of women/mothers/farmers. The work for transportation of these hired crafts man/women will be done by Norbugang Forest Ranger and Norbugang NWFP chairperson. Those with the weaving skills from the locality will also be invited.
Activity 12: Training on dying (beautifying) woven handicrafts. This training will be carried out together with activity 12 with aforementioned hired crafts men/women in that 3 week period at the new weaving centre involving youths, senior citizens and people with disabilities by demonstrating innovative socially-inclusive rural approaches. After this training, weaving test will also be conducted to ensure the participants have learned the required skills. To encourage women, youth, men to be part of this project, a certificate of participation will also be issued.


Objective 2. Improve community-led biodiversity friendly practices and approaches

Outcome 2.1: Enhanced community-led biodiversity friendly practices that contribute to ecological and social resilience.
Activity 13: Nursery development for Cane and bamboo for plantation (conservation) and educative purposes. It will be led by Norbugang NWFP group chairperson, secretary and accountant with technical support from PGFD. The activity will be completed in 1 month after activity 5 and will be constructed under Norbugang Chiwog where the group weaving centre is planned to be constructed with project signage which will contribute to ecological and social resilience by meeting the seedlings demand for propagating in their private registered lands especially in the erosion prone sites. Planataion activities will also be carried out in critical areas selected by Geog official during Social Forestry Days.
Activity 14: Citizen science training to group members for promoting nature (flora and fauna) conservation and promoting bird watching in the NWFP Group collection areas. The NWFP members will be trained on the basic fauna and flora identification and familiarize on the IUCN and national significant species found inside the NWFP collection areas. They will also be encouraged to use various citizen science based species identification platforms (facebook groups, wechat groups,etc). And with a potential for ecotourism in the site and the growing popularity for bird watching, Norbugang NWFP members will also be trained on the basic bird watching in their NWFP collection areas. This activity will be conducted by PGFD and is planned for one week (theory and practical) and will be carried out after Activity 6 which will enhance community-led biodiversity friendly practices.

Objective 3. Enhance knowledge management and lessons sharing.

Outcome 3.1: Knowledge from the project experience managed and shared

Activity 15: South - south cooperation, learning program and visits to successful similar project implemented site within Bhutan (Joka and Phongchelo). It will be facilitated by Norbugang Forest Ranger and will be conducted after Resource assessment. The group will first visit Bjoka and then Phongchelo in a duration of one week. The group will then present on the new innovative ideas learned when reaching back thereby enhancing knowledge and lessons sharing.
Activity 16: Awareness on sustainable utilization of NWFPs by members to non-members. This activity will be carried out after the group members sell their first bamboo handicrafts which by then, the members would be fully trained on the sustainable use and conservation significance of the NWFPs. It will be carried out for 3 days at Norbugang, Menchu and Gashari chiwog under Norbugang geog especially setting an example to other NWFP groups in close consultation with PGFD and local government.
Activity 17: Visual documentation of the project progress. This activity will be conducted by Norbugang NWFP group chairperson and PGFD from project start date to end date with close consultation with GEF SGP coordinator to enhance knowledge management and lessons sharing. A group Facebook page will also be created where all the project activities, knowledge gained through project experience will be shared for encouraging people to take similar projects and also diversify knowledge through remarks from different people through that forum.
Activity 18: Project visibility: Installation of signage under Norbugang chiwog near the project nursery and handicraft weaving centre. This work will be conducted by the chairman of the group in consultation with the GEF SGP Coordinator, local government and PGFD. The work will be carried out after the weaving centre and nursery is completed and will take 1 day after receiving the signboard which will be ordered in the market thereby sensitizing good practices.
 
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Project Snapshot

Grantee:
Shingman Group
Country:
Bhutan
Area Of Work:
Biodiversity
Grant Amount:
US$ 27,000.00
Co-Financing Cash:
Co-Financing in-Kind:
US$ 8,311.00
Project Number:
BHU/SGP/OP7/Y2/CORE/BD/2021/15
Status:
Currently under execution

SGP Country office contact

Mr. Tenzin Wangchuk
Phone:
009752322424
Email:
Mr. Tshering Phuntsho
Phone:
009752322424 (ext:330)
Email:

Address

UN House, Peling Lam (Street), Kawajangsa, Thimphu, P.O. Box No. 162
Thimphu, Bhutan, 11001