Sustainable livelihood program is conducted using a sustainable livelihood framework to understand the complexities and principles of poverty. The framework provides a guiding action to address and overcome poverty to become self-reliant, placing the rural poor at the center of inter-related influences that affect their creativity of livelihood for themselves and their households, by identifying constraints and opportunities. Focusing on the link between food insecurity and gender based violence, WOREC has been addressing the need for sustainable livelihoods with the promotion of bio-intensive farming systems. The concept of bio-intensive farming system is based on the agro-ecological principles of sustainable organic agriculture system and participatory rural development. These principles include the scientific crop rotation, mixed farming system with specialized crop and/or livestock/agro-forestry enterprise(s), optimization of organic recycling, participatory and sustainable management of natural resources (land, forest, water, and plant/animal biodiversity), participatory research and extension, and higher degree of economic self-reliance of farm households against external techno-economic shocks. The concept mainly focuses on empowerment of people’s organizations, conservation and utilization of PGRs, eco and health-friendly rural system, equitable access to natural resources and public service and sustainable technology.
In promoting sustainable livelihoods for farmers, WOREC applies an approach entitled ‘Model Eco-Village,’ where various aspects of the traditional village are addressed alongside livelihoods and income generation.
What is an Eco-village?
Eco-village is a rural human settlement with all members committed to sustainably managed locally available natural resources with integrated comprehensive human rights based approach to meet their social, spiritual, psychological, physical (including technological) and economic needs without any negative impact on natural ecosystems, resources, climate and health. Eco-village thus addresses the social, spiritual or cultural, ecological and technological and economical discrepancies and instabilities through sustainable community based structures, practices and concepts from holistic rights-based perspectives. Eco-village covers social, physical, and cultural aspects. Each system has subsystems that interact with each other.
Currently, WOREC has been implementing 3 livelihood-focused projects in close coordination and collaboration with district/regional/national level GOs/NGOs across 6 of the 75 districts of Nepal. With the project interventions, the communities have got better exposure to bio-intensive farming system, new agricultural technology and inputs. As a result, low remunerative cereal based farming system has been changing towards remunerative commercial cash crop production. These changes have been witnessed in the form of intensification of natural resource (through the use of local seeds, compost and bio-fertilizers) use in general and in relatively accessible areas, in the form of commercial orientation of vegetable farming. However, the causes of concern have persisted or new issues have emerged as the challenges to agricultural sustainability and household economic security of the people. These issues call for further support to the communities to bring about sustainable transformation of agricultural systems from subsistence-oriented economy to more efficient market-oriented system in existing as well as in other needy areas of the working areas.
Criteria/standard of model eco village
The situation in a village should meet the following criteria:
- Substantial reduction of all forms of violence against women
- Substantial reduction of all forms of discrimination between male and female children as well as violence against children
- Ensured access to education for all
- Ensured access to primary health care for all, and society free from malnutrition
- Specific health needs of women adequately addressed
- Active participation of community in natural resources and conflict management
- Optimum use of renewable RE
- Commercialization of BIFS
- Conservation of the ILC
- Protection and promotion of indigenous knowledge and traditional technology
- Active participation of community to address the impact of climate change and ecological variation
- Model (exemplary) society with collective leadership and social justice
At present, WOREC is working to transform 15 traditional villages in Udayapur, Siraha, Dang and Salyan into Eco-village. Danuwar community in Baireni village of Udayapur district has already been declared as Eco-village.