Developing livelihoods by creating sustainable ecotourism opportunities in Mandi District, Himachal Pradesh header image

Developing livelihoods by creating sustainable ecotourism opportunities in Mandi District, Himachal Pradesh

Project Partners: Development Alternatives, NMHS

Developing livelihoods by creating sustainable ecotourism opportunities in Mandi District, Himachal Pradesh 

Areas of implementation: Thatta, Bhanuthi-Shikari, Kalang, Lagshal of Mandi District 

Project Donors & Partners: Development Alternatives; National Mission on Himalayan Studies (NMHS) project

Project Type: Non-government 

Duration: February-July 2021 (6 Months)

About Project:

The focus of the project was on uniting conservation, communities and sustainable development through the means of travel. It focuses primarily on experiencing and learning about nature, its mountain landscape, flora, fauna and their habitats, as well as socio-cultural heritage, cultural artifacts, indigenous knowledge from the locals. Empowering local grassroots and creating a self-sustaining, income-generating, resource management model by taking ecotourism as a tool for this challenge is the need of the hour.

We came together with Development Alternatives (DA), the world's first social enterprise dedicated to sustainable development, in a collaborative effort to generate livelihoods by creating sustainable ecotourism opportunities within Thatta, Lagshal, Kalang & Bhanuthi-Shikari villages in Mandi district of Himachal Pradesh. The initiative has been funded by National Mission on Himalayan Studies (NMHS), working towards protecting the unique Himalayan ecosystem in a sustainable manner.

NotOnMap came forward to tap into the rich potential of these villages, to develop Rural, Responsible & Sustainable Tourism, and to nurture self-sufficiency within the village community. With the aim to preserve and promote the rich elements of these villages, we developed an extensive series of capacity-building training programmes for the community members, spread across various modules- like Health and Hygiene, Waste and Environmental Management, Culture and Heritage Preservation, Biodiversity Conservation, and many more. We worked at the grassroots level and gathered collective local participation from the village men & women, youth & children, with senior citizens included.

Active and close involvement of females of the villages has been ensured through our training programmes. These programmes focused on women empowerment and helped create a women-safe environment for all. Women local guides and champions have been identified and properly trained in order to equip them with specific skills related to sustainable eco-tourism.

Impact generated:
  • Restored and onboarded different types of homestays from these identified Hidden Hamlets, and are still counting.
  • Preserved the rich Pahadi architecture in these homestays through proper restoration and development.
  • Conducted 20+ training sessions and workshops with the village locals, focusing on community development activities.
  • 300+ local people have been impacted and benefited, through our combined efforts and intervention through training programmes and workshops.
  • More than 100 girls, women and children have been empowered through our training programmes.
  • Around 15 individuals have been identified as local champions and guides from the village communities.
  • 50+ artisans and farmers have been impacted and supported through our efforts. 
  • Creating employment opportunities within the villages for the youth and taking steps towards self-sufficiency.
  • Installed 100+ dustbins made from reused tin dabbas outside every household and at regular intervals in all the villages.
  • Around 5 cleanliness drives actively initiated by the village locals like kids, youths, women, etc.
  • Creating a proper & systematic drainage system and soak pits system in the village. 
  • Creation of 100+ posters & signages focusing on unique local experiences, occupations, talents & sustainability mechanisms, to add to the village identity & bind the people together.