These initiatives have been critical in promoting women’s empowerment by enhancing their role in nature conservation and decision-making, particularly in natural resource management. Since its inception, KCAP has supported 35 Mothers’ Groups and helped them secure a critical role in decision-making and management.
Starting off as a small network, the Mothers’ Groups have expanded to include a wide spectrum of activities including support for non-formal education to the older generation, and education for girls. There are cleanliness and health-hygiene programs, childcare, and initiatives to promote financial independence of women through saving and credit schemes.
The Mothers’ Groups are a model for translating the rights of the women over natural resource management into action, and provide scholarships to girls from low income families through an endowment fund of Rs5 million in each group. It supports income generation activities and provides scholarships for students, particularly girls from vulnerable households. So far, 206 girls have benefited from scholarships.
Community-based snow leopard conservation and prey monitoring has also begun in which citizen scientists have been trained to keep track of the endangered cats and their prey. This group uses a wide gamut of technologies from conventional sign surveys to camera traps, fecal DNA surveys and GPS collaring.