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WWF and CITI Foundation Small Business for Altai Biodiversity Program

23 may 2011
Micro - grant Programme for the local people in snow leopard and argali habitats.

Poaching has become the number one threat to endangered species in Altai Republic. Local residents who share the landscape with these endangered animals live on tiny incomes derived from cattle farming or use of natural resources. So people are engaged in poaching as one of the main sources of income. At the same time, Republic of Altai is facing tremendous growth and pressure from tourism thanks to its beautiful remote landscape and interesting flora and fauna.

Over the past year, Altai- Sayan Programme of WWF and CITI Foundation implemented “Small Business for Altai Biodiversity Program” along with the local organization Assistance Foundation of Micro – Credits operating in the settlements located on and nearby Protected Areas and habitats of endangered species.

Considering low level of business skills the experts’ group organized a number of workshop for the local communities to teach them evaluate their ability and risks. 580 local people living in the habitats of endangered species are trained in sustainable livelihood development and basics of small business as the results of a numerous workshops and meetings.

First round of grants applications are discussed by the local Grant Commission consisting of respected, professional and intelligent local residents. Reasonable and perspective applications chosen by the Commission members are given to the experts’ team. 130 grant applications from local community were received and 32 grant applications were approved.

Developing small enterprises in the field of ecotourism program, souvenirs, crafts, food catering and local products processing will engage the local community in sustainable economic development and help diminish hunting, fishing and plants gathering for subsistence and sale.

Workshops for local residents
© WWF Russia / T. Pakhaeva