Protecting nature and opportunities for place-based systems change is the mission of Anita and Kalyan Paul, founders and directors of the Pan Himalayan Grassroots Development Foundation and of Women on Wings’ partner Mahila Umang. Anita Paul shared her experiences at the ChangeFest19 gathering in Mt Druitt, New South Wales, Australia on November 20-22, 2019.
Himalayan Forces of Change
Anita was invited by the ChangeFest organization, to share best practices from her work in the pan Himalayas. There, local communities work by default in favor of nature, following the rules of climate and seasons. With support of e.g. the Pan Himalayan Grassroots Development Foundation, local farmers have changed their way of working to keep crops growing in the changing climate. Anita Paul presented Himalayan innovative solutions as best practices at the ChangeFest19 event, stressing that there is an urgent need to work differently globally to protect nature and bring about systems change.
Developing rural hill communities
The Pan Himalayan Grassroots Development Foundation is a voluntary organization in India which works in central and western Himalayan states of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh to promote sustainable, self-reliant development at the village level. The emphasis is on self-help participation working across the integrated issues of water & sanitation, renewable energy, community forestry, sustainable agriculture and enterprise development. Mahila Umang is such an enterprise. Since December 2016, Women on Wings has worked with the Mahila Umang team on various occasions in growing the organization to a next level. Mahila Umang is a for-profit Producers Company with 2,000 rural women shareholders engaged in sustainable livelihoods improvement efforts, such as knitting and processing fruits and herbs which are being sold in own stores and at exhibitions.
ChangeFest is a place-based social change movement that is committed to making Australia a better place for all citizens, seeking systems change, recognizing First Nations first within strong diverse and sustainable communities, ready to celebrate what has been achieved, motivated about what’s possible and strengthening connections with passionate change makers striving for similar outcomes.