Providing alternate livelihood to communities living on the fringes of protected forest goes a long way in supporting wildlife conservation. Women on Wings’ partner PashooPakshee generates income for these communities by creating wildlife inspired souvenirs which reduces their dependence on the forests that they live in. Wildlife related home décor, accessories and apparel are handmade by -mostly- women and sold in souvenirs shops at national wildlife parks and online.
Wildlife conservation provides livelihood
Tribal communities living near the periphery of protected forests live below the poverty line with little access to opportunities and negligible incomes to exercise their choices. With only the forest to take from, many of them are forced to exploit it despite strictly enforced bans. Earning an income from alternative livelihoods like these wildlife inspired products, changes the outlook of people living in protected forests towards wildlife conservation as a path to prosperity rather than a hinderance. Where the communities would be in conflict before with the wildlife because wild animals would attack their cattle or destroy crops, they now see that wildlife conservation through livelihood initiatives benefits both man and the wild.
Artisans bring wildlife to tourists
The products that PashooPakshee produces are designed in-house by its designers and craft experts. Local artisans from marginalized communities living in ‘wildlife conflict areas’ make the products, which include stuffed toys, T-shirts, stoles, papier maché idols, key chains, and more, all with a wildlife design. PashooPakshee’s constant endeavour is to make maximum utilization of local art and crafts and create products that are relevant to its customers. Products are sold at souvenir shops at India’s wildlife and nature tourist destinations, such as Jim Corbett National Park and Kanha National Park, and via e-commerce.
Women on Wings and PashooPakshee
PashooPakshee believes in creating self-sustaining livelihood models by offering sales and marketing support and product improvements based on market feedback. It nurtures local entrepreneurs who can manage the supply chain right from procurement of raw materials, manufacturing, inventory management, quality control up to the supply of finished products to points of sale. The social enterprise from Mumbai and Women on Wings have started collaborating on their joint goal of creating extra jobs and livelihood opportunities for women in rural India.