COMMUNITY FOREST PROGRAMME Details
WATCH’s Community Forestry Programme has been successfully facilitating the organization of women’s and community groups to regain control over the protection, management and utilization of forests from the District Forest Office (DFO). A key component to the success of this program has been the confidence building activities (camps, trainings, literacy classes, etc.) among the rural women. These lead them to become more involved and to assert their decision-making rights in the community forestry development process. WATCH has organized 50 Community Forest User Groups and is working on forming more groups. WATCH has also organized 11 leasehold forestry groups. Leasehold forestry is done for the poorest people who do not own or have access to any land. The government leases land to them for livestock activities and other agricultural income-generating activities. WATCH provides agricultural and forestry information to these groups and emphasizes putting greenery into the areas, training the farmers on how to do so.
WATCH’s involvement in forestry also includes various educational activities and research, which are important for developing and sharing innovations in the field. Together with the support of various other organizations, WATCH has held training workshops and seminars, conducted case studies, and produced various educational materials. WATCH has been involved in dialogue and discussion regarding formulation of the act and legislation of community forestry. It has participated in lobbying parliament members for the introduction of changes against those provisions, which were found to be unfriendly for users. WATCH has been doing similar action for any proposed revisions. WATCH feels it is its duty to safeguard users’ rights of forest management.