WWF helps local communities of Tien Shan to develop in harmony with nature
"The four-years existence of Local Development Funds activities in the Central Tien Shan is a very clear proof that by investing relatively little money, you can not only involve the local population in practical conservation activities, but create real conditions for raising their standard of living, increase their own level of economic planning and social responsibility”, - Olga Pereladova, the scientific adviser of the WWF Russia Central Asian Programme comments. “The councils of jamaats themselves decide which projects to supply with the funding, and which part of the common profit to allocate as gratuitous assistance to orphans and large families.”
The head of the LDF from Akshyrak settlement Cholpon Turganbaeva conducted a training on organizing jamaats, and also shared her experience in evaluating the activities of eight communities from Akshyrak and Enilchek villages. The five-point assessment system includes the following criteria: environmental, social, cultural, environmental sustainability and friendliness criteria. According to the results of the training, residents of Tash-Bashat village and staff of the Naryn State Reserve created three jamaats, passed official registration and approved their Statute regulation.
It could be useful to remind here, that on 21 of October an annual meeting of the LDF local development fund was held in Enilchek. Jamaat leaders reported on the progress of work and discussed the problems of snow leopard conservation and sustainable development. The results of the year showed great success in the work of the LDF. The meeting was also attended by representatives of the new jamaats from the Naryn region.
LDFs in the villages of Akshyrak and Enilchek of the Central Tien Shan have been operating since 2014. With the support of the WWF, 500 thousand soms (10 thousand dollars) were allocated to these villages on a grant basis for the creation of an LDFs. Over four years, the funds provided by the Fund have doubled on average, while 59 families (270 people) received the Fund’s support in the form of low-interest loans to develop their activities; Besides that e.g. in Enilchek 60,000 soms (about $ 1000 USD) of social assistance was provided. Thus, Local Development Funds have proved their high social and environmental efficiency.
Besides the fact that the WWF project helped the local people to solve a number of socio-economic problems, it attracted attention to the issues of adaptation to climate change, sustainable economic development of local communities and strengthening community cohesion. Project participants learned how to create jamaats and develop alternative income-generating activities. In addition, such development funds help residents of territories, adjacent to nature reserves, to realize the importance of preserving the snow leopard, and helped the communities to develop sustainably in harmony with nature.