Community conservation aims at promoting the well-being of rural communities residing in the mountainous terrains of Himachal Pradesh (Parwanoo, Solan district), forested areas of Rajasthan (villages in the districts of Pali, Jaisalmer and Sawai Madhopur), indigenous enclaves of Maharashtra (rural blocks of Trimbakeshwar and Peth, Nashik district) and rural backwaters of Madhya Pradesh (Sonkutch and Tonk, Dewas district).
Apart from direct interventions, SNSF’s go-to strategy has been to route its interventions through women’s self-help groups (SHGs) to improve the quality of life in the aforementioned areas. The formation of 850+ SHGs has been as a result of SNSF’s on-the-ground activities across the states of Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra and its longstanding partnerships with the Central and State Government bodies like the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) and the District Rural Development Agency (DRDA). Group members are also provided with technical inputs to embark on micro-entrepreneurial ventures to augment their family incomes.
Experimental investments have also been made in innovative agro-projects like ultra-high density plantations of mango (~650 saplings per acre in Nashik and Dewas), which are scaled up after observing yields. The land parcels for these projects are made available by willing SHG members, who are then both technically and financially supported by SNSF to carry out these activities.
Standalone efforts as well as those undertaken with governmental support are driven by SNSF to improve the health profiles of the communities. Periodic human and veterinary medical camps and garbage disposal and collection services are the salient features of SNSF’s engagements in the villages of Rajasthan.
SNSF strives to reduce the water scarcity periods from four to seven months a year to just around a month in the tribal villages of Nashik through interventions like building check dams, deepening and cleaning of catchment ponds and digging open wells. Construction of a 40,0000-litre tank is underway at Meeno ki Dhanee, Bali block, Rajasthan, which aims to provide water to every household in this village throughout the year.
Other projects include ‘greening’ of industrial townships or clusters (Parwanoo and Gurugram) to improve the quality of life of residents living in the vicinity of these facilities. Creating and maintaining public parks with well laid-out walking tracks and sports area are some of other activities undertaken by SNSF in this regard.