Towards Developing a Center of Excellence in Development and Practical Application of Rural Development Strategies

Starting Date: May 1, 2009
Ending Date: September 30, 2010
Location: Nepal
Donor(s): blue moon fund
Implementation Partner(s): N/A
Budget: 89,503 USD

The main goal of the project, in the long term, was to develop ANSAB as a Center of Excellence in the development and practical application of rural development strategies in relation to biodiversity conservation and economic development in Nepal and biodiversity-rich, rural settings in Asia. As a center of excellence, ANSAB aims to be established as an organization dedicated to true and effective rural development initiatives that provide more sustained policy, planning and management solutions balancing social, economic and environmental concerns. For this, it was essential to consolidate ANSAB’s successful experiences of work in field facilitation, policy engagement, and service delivery at multiple levels.

Towards achieving the long term goal, ANSAB together with bmf designed an initial project and set the following goals for this project:
a)    To systematize and solidify its approach, improve replicability and prepare its activities for dissemination on a wider level, and
b)    To lay down the necessary connections for ANSAB to operate at the national level and affect top-level policy.

The proposed immediate outcomes of the project were to:
1)    Prioritize and prepare important toolkit modules to facilitate replication of ANSAB’s approach,
2)    Develop ANSAB Resource Center for delivery of its standardized services, and
3)    Network with government agencies and other development partners to develop programs and influence policy.

By implementing the planned activities, ANSAB has generated all the outputs planned under the immediate outcomes and achieved a full success in meeting the goals and objectives laid out in the proposal.

The successful development of all eight prioritized rural development toolkits for promoting sustainable forest management and integrating community enterprises into value chains offer a solid base for the first goal. These toolkits offer us an opportunity for further planning and strategic interventions for biodiversity conservation and pro-poor economic development in the context of climate change.  The ANSAB Resource Center (ARC) is strengthened through the development of 5 most needed service packages.  A strategic document for the next two years is also prepared along with five marketing brochures for effective promotion and delivery of the services. The eight toolkits and five training packages along with the ARC marketing strategy provide a foundation to systemize ANSAB approach and better prepare for its application and dissemination.

Through the course of the project, we have networked and established connections with various government and other organizations, agencies, leaders and personnel. We provided expert inputs through paper presentations, brief notes, discussions, review feedbacks, and discussion papers on most important national initiatives including the development of readiness plan for Reducing Emission from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD), national forestry strategy and National Adaptation Plan of Action (NAPA) and the implementation of economic development projects and, most importantly, the facilitation of policy reforms. Two Nepal NTFP Network (NNN) meetings and a policy makers’ field visit organized by ANSAB provided exposure to senior government officials and other stakeholders on major policy issues related to sustainable production of natural products and development of small and medium forest enterprises (SMFEs) and non-timber forest product (NTFP) marketing in Nepal.  ANSAB was approached by two organizations – Ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation (MFSC) and National Trust for Nature Conservation (NTNC) – to establish a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and to collaborate in program development and implementation.  These outputs helped ANSAB to contribute knowledge, innovative ideas and influence high level government officials and other stakeholders laying down the necessary connections for ANSAB to operate at national level and influence top-level policy.