We are pleased to bring you this news from our partner in Nepal!
Our partner in Nepal, Partnership for Rhino Conservation (PARC/Nepal), has been diligently working on an educational project that enables local communities around Chitwan National Park to share conservation messages and achievements. Much progress has been made, and we are excited to share this update with you!
Strengthening rhino conservation through education and networking
Recognizing a need for local people to communicate conservation achievements and best practices, PARC/Nepal leader Suman Bhattarai developed the idea of setting up several “conservation cupboards” as a way to disseminate information among a network of local groups to influence a larger area.
These informal libraries have been recently set up specifically for the Chitwan National Park Buffer Zone communities, for the purpose of making vital conservation information available to schools and forest user committee offices. The conservation cupboards contain booklets, leaflets, documentaries, CDs, research reports, and other papers about CNP and rhino conservation issues produced by researchers and organizations from around the world.
Although many organizations have been publishing useful progress updates and best practices about rhino conservation, these learning opportunities were previously limited to websites and project offices.
Thanks to the library project, this information is now accessible at the local level, where it can influence the communities directly.
Mr. Bhattarai explained the importance of accessible conservation libraries.
It is critical that such information reaches the Buffer Zone communities and forest user groups.
By establishing a communication platform that is easy for everyone to use, successes and learning can be shared across a larger network of local communities. The conservation library and networking project is a way to reach those communities and have a big impact with minimum expenses.
In addition to the libraries, both local and international conservation networks, focusing on the Buffer Zone communities and forest user groups, have been established.
These networks have successfully connected grassroots efforts to each other, and have also increased the international visibility of PARC/Nepal among conservationists, researchers, and organizations.
Establishment of “conservation cupboards”
In order to provide consistent conservation information at the grassroots level and motivate local people and students to participate in conservation programs, five libraries – “conservation cupboards” – were established among Buffer Zone user committees, NGOs, community radio, and schools.
During the next two months, three additional libraries are going to be set up in three different locations.
These informal libraries consist of conservation books, articles, journals, reports, and other publications. Both free and subscription-based materials are available. This provides a platform for conservationists, researchers, and organizations to disseminate their publications directly to the local communities.
Posters are also displayed at the conservation cupboards:
The conservation libraries are being implemented as a pilot program in this initial stage. The progress will be evaluated, and then likely to be extended.
Conservation networking at the local level
The networking portion of the project has strengthened conservation activities by connecting journalists, schoolteachers, students, and community representatives at the local level and empowering them to take action for conservation.
At the local level, a ladies’ conservation song competition was presented by the Rastriya Lower Secondary School. The objective is to educate women and empower them to raise their voices for conservation.
Also, a teachers’ forum, “Environment Conservation Teachers’ Forum”, organized the Rhino Conservation Essay Competition. This project was fundamental in laying the foundation for a conservation network among schoolteachers and students. The forum holds monthly meetings to discuss conservation issues and develop strategies for carrying out conservation activities in their respective schools.
Additionally, the radio program, “Conservation Campaign”, has been broadcast since 2007.
Conservation networking at the international level
PARC has successfully developed ties to the international community by partnering with US-based Saving Rhinos LLC (savingrhinos.org) since 2009. It was the discovery of PARC/Nepal’s website (rhinonepal.org) via online research that made it possible to reach international contacts.
Saving Rhinos LLC has supported the networking project by publishing articles regarding PARC’s activities, as well as updates about the greater one-horned rhino in Nepal, on the blog (rhinoconservation.org) and website. As a PARC partner, Saving Rhinos also generates some funds for PARC by selling rhino t-shirts online (cafepress.com/savingrhinos).
Check out the articles:
- Grassroots Rhino Conservation: Nepal’s New Generation is Leading the Way
- Rhino Conservation Awareness Event Reaches Over 5,000 People in Chitwan, Nepal
- Teachers and Students in Nepal Celebrate World Environment Day with Rhino Conservation Event
Recently, Mr. Bhattarai brought the need for a “Rhino Rescue Center” to our attention.
Tragically, orphaned rhinos in Nepal often become casualties, due to the current lack of a rescue center and veterinary care.
In order to bring attention to this urgent matter, one of the first steps was to publish the following article Orphaned Rhinos Highlight Need for Wildlife Rescue Center in Nepal here on the Saving Rhinos blog. The article was widely circulated on Facebook® and also posted on the Bush Warriors blog.
Besides publishing, we are also reaching out to larger institutions on behalf of PARC/Nepal, to establish the framework for developing the first “Rhino Rescue Center” in Nepal.
Grassroots rhino conservation
Thanks to the Conservation Based Networking and Library Establishment Project, conservationists, researchers, and organizations now have the opportunity to disseminate their materials and publications at the grassroots level, providing these local communities with vital information on a regular basis, to ensure long lasting contributions to rhino conservation in Nepal.
To contact Suman Bhattarai directly and learn more about how you can help, please visit the PARC/Nepal website (rhinonepal.org).
You can also help PARC/Nepal by purchasing one of our rhino t-shirts.
We look forward to keeping you updated!
Source: Suman Bhattarai, Partnership for Rhino Conservation, Nepal
Images courtesy of Suman Bhattarai