The current utilization of the corridors’ resources by the villagers, particularly trees for charcoal, is not sustainable and poses a threat to wildlife conservation. The ECF has been supporting Wild Survivors’ human-elephant coexistence efforts in this area since 2020. The first grant funded a study to identify the core livelihood reasons why people are using the elephant corridor and to find alternative livelihood approaches to provide household needs from other, more sustainable resources. With ECF support, Wild Survivors trialled the use of biogas to provide families with alternative fuel and reduce their dependence on firewood and conducted education workshops in local schools to educate the children who commute across the corridor. They also continued with the corridor monitoring programme to identify elephant movements and began supporting a group of 40 women who came together to form the NARI Women’s Beekeeping Group.
Building on this momentum, the ECF awarded a second grant to Wild Survivors to continue these activities. The members of the beekeeping group received beekeeping training and went on to form an apiary on a plot of land donated by the local government. The ECF also contributed to the construction of an enterprise hub – a fabricated 20-foot shipping container complete with honey processing equipment fit for the newly skilled and passionate beekeepers. It was the first women-led enterprise headquarters in the District.
In 2023, a third grant was awarded to Wild Survivors to expand the corridor protection programme to include NCA wildlife corridors. This ongoing grant is funding further development of the Women’s Beekeeping and Enterprise Centre to become a multi-functional centre, the expansion of the school workshops and the corridor monitoring programme and chilli farming in partnership with other ECF grantee, PAMS Foundation.
These projects fit into the “One Health” approach to solving HEC that recognizes that communities’ health and wellbeing needs are part of the solution to reduce conflict with elephants over limited environmental resources. This site is being used as a demonstration of what is possible to replicate for other communities suffering from HEC. Read more about the NARI Women’s Group here.