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The Dalit Alliance for Natural Resources (DANAR) plays a vital role in endorsing the equitable use of community forest. The organization specifically protects the forest rights of the most marginalized communities in Nepal. DANAR's Community Forest Land Allocation (CFLA), in particular, contributed to forest recovery, as well as capacity building and livelihood improvement of many Dalit communities in Nepal.
Life on Land
Dalits, or the “untouchable”, are the members of the lowest social status group in the Hindu caste system. For this reason, in Nepal, most Dalits face extreme poverty conditions and discrimination. Women are particularly affected by this system, as they face double discrimination outside and inside their caste tradition.
In order to fulfill their subsistence purposes, Dalits are putting high pressure on forest natural resources. Simples activities, such as firewood collection for cooking or selling purposes are resulting in increased deforestation and forest degradation.
The Dalit Alliance for Natural Resources (DANAR) in Nepal is a non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring the rights of the Dalit community. DANAR was founded by Dalit activists, environmental activists, and women activists from poor and marginalized communities in Nepal.
In order to address the challenge of deforestation as well as Dalit marginalization, DANAR focuses on implementing sustainable environmental solutions, as well as capacity building for Dalit communities. In this regard, DANAR's Community Forest Land Allocation (CFLA) program is working on two fronts:
(1) Allocation of barren land to economically marginalized populations for livestock and vegetables’ cultivation purposes; and,
(2) Plantation of trees for forest and biodiversity recovery
In addition, DANAR identified more than 25 women, who had been previously excluded from the community, in order to improve their capacity for income generation activities.
DANAR has played a crucial role in endorsing the equitable use of community forest. It also worked to protect the forest’s rights of the most marginalized communities in Nepal. In fact, the Nepali Government had recognized the work of the Community Forest Land Allocation program and endorsed its guidelines in 2009 and its forest policies in 2015. Since then, the program has expanded into other districts, and it is now coordinated by the district forest office of the Nepali Government.