Community conservation aims at promoting the well-being of rural communities in the mountainous terrains of Himachal Pradesh (Parwanoo, Solan district), populace around wildlife habitats of Rajasthan (villages in the districts of Pali, Jaisalmer and Sawai Madhopur), tribal residences of Maharashtra (rural blocks of Trimbakeshwar and Peth, Nashik district) and rural households in Madhya Pradesh (Sonkutch and Tonk, Dewas district).
Apart from direct interventions, SNSF’s main strategy has been to route its interventions through women self-help groups (SHGs) to improve the quality of life.
The 850+ SHGs formed through SNSF’s on-ground facilitation across the states of Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra has been the result of its long-standing partnerships with the central and state government bodies, viz., National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) and District Rural Development Agency (DRDA). Group members are also provided with technical inputs to initiate micro-entrepreneurships to augment their family incomes.
Experimental investments have also been made in innovative agro-projects (viz., Ultra-High Density Plantation (UHDP) of mango, i.e., approximately 650 saplings per acre in Nashik and Dewas), which are scaled up after observing the yield. The land would be made available by willing SHG members, who are then both technically and financially supported by SNSF to undertake this special type of plantation.
Stand-alone efforts as well as those with the government’s support are driven by the foundation to improve the health profile of the communities. Periodic human and veterinary medical camps and garbage disposal and collection services are the salient features of SNSF’s engagement with the villages in Rajasthan.
Enhancing the access to drinking water is another key activity of SNSF under this vertical. It strives to reduce the water scarcity period from 4 to 7 months in a year to just around 1 month per year in the tribal villages of Nashik through interventions, such as building check dams, deepening and cleaning of catchment ponds and digging open wells. Construction of a 40,000 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’ to improve the quality of life in industrial townships or clusters (Parwanoo and Gurugram). Creating and maintaining public parks with well laid-out walking tracks and sports area are some of the activities.