This is part of an ongoing process aimed at the capacity building of the local in nature based tourism. There is a niche opportunity to develop the Assi Ganga valley in the border district of Uttarkashi (Uttarakhand) as a birding destination. In October 2018 we organized a nature guide training for the local youth in collaboration with the reliance foundation.
The training was conducted at the base camp of Nanda Devi Institute of Adventure Sports & Outdoor Education, which is located in the same valley. The Nanda Devi Institute sponsored 12 participants from the Assi Ganga valley. As a follow up to the training, the Institute is now planning to organize a bird count event in late December 2018.
The basic idea is to promote Assi Ganga valley on the world birding map and simultaneously develop the capacity of the local youth in nature guiding. There are few camping facilities in Assi Ganga valley who will also benifit from this initiative. This might help in arresting the large scale out migration which these economically poor but rich natural capital based regions are facing presently. So far Nanda Devi Institute and it's parent organization Mountain Shepherds Initiative has been sponsoring these initiatives but due to limited cash flows not in a position to continue the process during this season.
The amount requested will be used for buying binoculars, guidebooks and making logistical arrangements for the bird count exercise. As a follow up to the winter bird count event, birding festivals are planned during late January- February. The birding fests will be commercial events planned under Community Owned Tourism Initiative.
With our almost two decades of tourism advocacy experience, we hope the footfall of responsible tourists will increase in the valley. Apart from creating livelihoods we hope the initiative will also help in creating sustainable tourism destination for the responsible travellers and an outdoor education center for the urban kids.