Keyed To Conservation
Singh was offered this special opportunity as a member of the Community Based Anti-Poaching Unit (CBAPU) of Mahadevpuri CFUG. CBAPUs are groups of dedicated locals who take turns to patrol the forests and inform authorities about suspicious or illegal activities, and Hariyo Ban is supporting the formation of many CABPUs. As an incentive to the youths of Mahadevpuri’s CBAPU who are committed to curb wildlife crime, Hariyo Ban is supporting skill-based training for them as well as youth members of the Family Planning Association of Nepal (FPAN) to further enlist their support and build their capacity. The Computer Training Center at Mahadevpuri, Banke is one of these initiatives. The Center, which was inaugurated on 28th January, 2014, began formal classes on 1st February, 2014.
Excluded and vulnerable members of CBAPUs are prioritized as trainees at the Computer Center. “The CBAPU members have selflessly taken part in conservation activities in their respective CFUGs. As a token of appreciation for their contribution, the members of CBAPU, or their children, can enhance their computer skills at this center at highly subsidized rates. While taking the course elsewhere would cost them Rs. 2,000 to Rs. 2,500 per month, we offer it to them at Rs. 650 per month,” explains Narayan Upadhyaya, a member of the CFCC. The six-month training course was developed by members of the Mahadevpuri CFCC with support of the Hariyo Ban Program. Subsidies are provided to qualifying candidates after the CFCC evaluates their involvement in conservation activities, motivation for personal growth, and recommendations of their CFUGs or other organizations. Since Banke National Park was established in 2010, the role of local CBAPUs is more important than ever.
The institute has five computers, four of which were provided by the Hariyo Ban Program through WWF Nepal and the other by FPAN. Thanks to the computers, the students have now picked up basic skills such as typing, MS Word and MS Excel. This will ease their entry into the field of technology. As they enhance their skills, the trainees can hopefully also apply their new-found technological knowledge to the field of conservation, for example by recording data and documenting activities of their CBAPUs. “We also have plans to appoint the best students here as trainers, which will help enhance their livelihoods in the future, “adds Upadhyaya. The youths taking part in the training are aware of its importance. “This is the era of information technology, and everyone should have access to it!” exclaims Hira Singh. His dream is to buy a computer some day and make the best use of it.
The engagement of youths in the center brings double benefits: they are becoming techno-savvy which will certainly enhance their livelihood prospects; and they have new enthusiasm for anti-poaching and conservation activities. As Upadhyaya says, “Youths must be adequately equipped with awareness, skills and the latest knowledge so that they can be actively involved in conservation and also move ahead in this competitive world. This is just our first step towards it, and there is so much to be done.”
By Jyoti Shrestha, Communications Associate, WWF Nepal, Hariyo Ban Program
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Disclaimer: The Hariyo Ban Program is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents of this article are the responsibility of WWF and its consortium partners and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.