Small Business for Altai Biodiversity
Small Business for Altai Biodiversity Program in Altai Republic was implemented by WWF with support of Citi Foundation in 2011. The Programme was aimed to provide the local dwellers with the knowledge, skills and finance for developing small business enterprises as the alternative to the traditional source of income (hunting, fishing, plants harvesting). The Programme in 2011 resulted in supporting 30 projects from local people. All projects were evaluated as sustainable by experts of the Assistance for Biodiversity Fund, (local NGO, the Programme‘s implementer in Altai Republic). Fifty nine new jobs for local communities were organized; total cost of goods produced by new businesses in September-December 2011 was 751,000 rubles ($25,000).
In 2012 WWF and Citi Foundation announced the start of the second phase of the Programme to reduce poverty in biodiversity rich regions with high level of unemployment – Land of Snow Leopard Homestay Program. The people living in snow leopard and argali habitats will receive the financial and informational support for development of homestay programme for tourist coming to Altai. This year the form of financial support was changed from grants to micro-loans (credits).
By June 2012 forty applications for micro-credits received from local people were granted. The total budget of micro-loans amounts up to $60,000. The financial mechanism for the effective money circulation was worked out by the experts to ensure the money repayment (return). The villagers applied for such business initiatives as homestays development, souvenirs making, catering, ecotrails constructions etc.