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Harvesting Seabuckthorn
Harvested berries
Cleaning Seabuckthorn berries
Processing Seabuckthorn
Focus Areas

Economic Empowerment

Spiti, with its unique high-altitude cold desert ecosystem and a homogenous Buddhist community of a little over 10,000, was a remote isolated region till about two decades ago. A form of subsistence agro-pastoralism existed here till very recently. The
local community had devised systems of living in harmony with the frugal resources that were on offer and formed social systems that ensured conservation of these resources. However, with the advent
of globalisation, far-flung and remote regions such as Spiti have also witnessed a rapid transformation in their socio-economic structures.

From a subsistence-based economy Spiti is now transitioning into
a cash-based economy. The impacts of this transition are amply evident, most emphatically on the agricultural practices of the region. These agricultural practices are also the mainstay of the economy. However, due to changing weather conditions, lack
of availability of irrigation sources, drop in the productivity of agricultural crops and a dearth of livelihood options, there is
urgent need to provide the locals with sustainable alternatives
to meet with their economic needs.

The development of sustainable livelihoods is the core area of intervention and requires a concerted effort from the members of
the enterprise and the local community. These livelihoods must
be in harmony with the ecology and culture of the region and substantially contribute to the economic empowerment of the local community, in particular the women as they are the ones most affected by environment degradation. Our initiatives range from the propagation and commercialisation of Seabuckthorn (a plant with immense medicinal, economic and ecological value), to eco-tourism and the promotion of traditional (organic) agriculture.

With Spiti undergoing a transition phase it is imperative that
efforts are made to preserve the traditional practices and livelihoods. Ecosphere Spiti is a small attempt to bridge the gap between the traditional and the modern, to ensure the development of sustainable livelihoods for the inhabitants of this unique cultural and ecological microcosm.

Nature guide training session in progress
Nature guide training session in progress
Local youth participating in nature guide training
The direct beneficiaries of all activities of Ecosphere are the local community of Spiti.

Economic Empowerment through Seabuckthorn - There are over 500 women members from 33 villages benefiting from the Seabuckthorn initiative. The women groups have been trained
in all aspects pertaining to the commercialisation of the plant, ranging from harvesting, cleaning, processing and local marketing. This has provided employment opportunities to the local community on the one hand and an additional crop for the farming community on the other hand.

The local communities have been trained on the various aspects of travel-oriented services (nature guide trainings, etc), fruit processing, accounting, office management, etc. This has helped in generating diverse employment opportunities for the locals, thereby enabling their economic empowerment.

Naturalist Guides Training - Local youth have been given Naturalist Guide Trainings, which has enabled them to offer guide services to Ecosphere Spiti clients along with other travel agents in the region, thus providing them with an additional source of income.