The joint project of WWF-Russia and Citi has been prolonged
The project is aimed at improving the socio-economic environment and living conditions in remote villages by creating new legal jobs as an alternative to grey- and black-market jobs, like poaching. It intends to create economic instruments to involve local residents and decision-makers into biodiversity conservation and sustainable nature resource consumption.
In Altai region the project leans towards ecotourism development in the snow leopard’s habitat. Remote villages of the Altai-Sayan region will receive info-support on the Internet websites green-altai.com and зеленыйалтай.рф this year.
“The joint project of WWF-Russia and Citi Foundation runs for five years in Altai already. We have supported financially more than 130 projects in the field of “green” tourism. The project is approached rather enthusiastically by both local government and communities. The number of participants is constantly growing. Our next step is to make a documentary about the results of the project. Also we plan to improve the websites, which host content about guest houses, restaurants, museums and main travel routes,” says Natalya Trofimova, the head of Altai-Sayan Ecoregional office of WWF-Russia.
As for Kamchatka, the joint project here is aimed first of all at support of small family businesses, which are oriented towards collecting non-timber forest products (such as berries, mushrooms and herbs). Entrepreneurs will receive financial support and will have a chance to improve their knowledge in marketing and legal niceties.
“Marketing is the main obstacle for many small businesses in Kamchatka,” thinks Sergey Rafanov, the head of Kamchatka/Bering Sea Ecoregional office of WWF-Russia.
“Entrepreneurs can’t satisfy the needs of large dealer networks when they act separately. Together with local government and NGO’s WWF-Russia is working on a plan to integrate non-timber forest products producers into Association. This Association is assumed to become in charge of marketing development in and outside of the region, business-plan competitions conducting, providing financial support for winners and eventually encouraging the development of production facilities.”
“It’s obvious that there is a lot of time needed for system changes. That’s why Citi Foundation and WWF-Russia considered the joint project as a long-term one,” says manager for corporate and social responsibility of Citi Foundation in Russia Tatyana Avramenko. “We didn’t expect quick results. However, the progress achieved in the past several years is remarkable. The number of the project participants is close to one thousand. Businessmen learned smart ways of work-planning and efficiency calculations. They started cooperate with each other in order to achieve mutual goals. The progress made on the way to sustainable development is undoubtful.”
About $250 000 will be spent on necessary equipment and workshops conducting. Another important part of financial support is that it will help small entrepreneurs certify their products. The process of certification, usually the most difficult and expensive for beginners, turns out to be a key-stage for many businessmen.