Alternative Livelihood to Support Forest Communities (ALSFC)

The main objective of ALSFC component is to improve and diversify non forest-based livelihoods opportunities of the poor forest dependent households in select forest communities near the planned afforestation areas and existing forests and plantations which will contribute to lessening of pressure on the forest and hence the sustainable use, conservation and protection of forest resources.

Arannayk Foundation (AF) implements ALSFC component in partnership with two NGOs – Young Power in Social Action (YPSA) in Chittagong and Cox’s Bazar districts and Uttaran in Noakhali, Lakximipur, Feni, Barisal, Bhola, Patuakhali and Barguna.

Across the project area, the ALSFC component covered 6000 ALFSC participants from 200 villages through a well-designed transparent and inclusive process. The targeted households were selected among the poor and extreme poor households in the selected villages with greater priority given to highly forest dependent people. The 6000 selected households include 1634 female headed households and 321 households from indigenous communities. 86.1% of the AIGA members are female. The ALSFC beneficiaries have been organized into 200 primary groups (Forest Dependent Groups – FDG) under 55 Union Federations of the FDGs in 32 Upazilas. Each FDG consists of 30 members on an average, formed with one adult male or female member per selected household as nominated by the respective household.

As an initial start-up AIGA activities, Arannayk Foundation distributed 16 types of vegetables seeds (in 3 seasons), 4-5 chickens/ducks and 5 types saplings of quick growing fruits to the FDG members in 2014 and early 2015. It enabled many of the FDG members to earn some cash income within a short period of time from selling of surplus production of vegetables aside from increased family consumption of the same which happened in almost all FDG households.

In order to reduce fuel wood consumption of the FDG households, improved cook stoves were provided to 5,530 FDG households by July 2015. By the use of improved cook stove the savings of fuel wood onaverage per day per house is around 1.45 kg. It also reduces the cooking time by 44 minutes per day and 338 gm ashes per day.

AF initiatedthree major activities under this component by AF. This includes: (1) community mobilization and sensitization on climate resilience issue, (2) community based institution building – Forest Dependent Groups (FDGs), (3) introduction of locally appropriate livelihood interventions to reduce forestry dependency and promoting participatory forest management.

To implement the above activities AF accomplished a lot of tasks under component 2 and the impact of the activities is evident. Diversification of livelihoods, community savings, access to credit and social capital building are indicative of improved ability of the FDG members to cope with external shocks to their livelihoods, especially those that are poised by climate change. The FDGs adopted different climate resilient coping mechanism including agro-forestry with fruit yielding and commercial trees and climate resilient agriculture practices. One of the key features of the AF’s community mobilization process is consciously promoting common assets based support system to FDGs. This already started giving benefits to FDGs with a greater sense of ownership and inclusiveness.