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Equator Initiative Case Study – Shashwat

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Shashwat is a grassroots initiative that was developed in response to the displacement of Koli Mahadeo, Thakar and Katkari tribal communities by the construction of the Dimbhe dam, which submerged 11 villages and destroyed cropland in another 13. The organization helps local communities develop small-scale fishing activities in the dam reservoir, and improve agricultural production on the remaining cultivatable land, much of which is on steep slopes. The dam reservoir has been stocked with fish and the local population is supported to obtain fishing leases, boats, and nets. Fish size and abundance have increased, as have local incomes.
Tribal farmers have been supported to cultivate small paddy terraces on steep slopes in the local catchment area. The organization also supports local farmers with land tenure securitization, through securing official ownership documents. Other Shashwat activities include education and healthcare programmes focussed on women and children. The Equator Initiative brings together the United Nations, governments, civil society, businesses and grassroots organizations to recognize and advance local sustainable development solutions for people, nature and resilient communities. As local and indigenous groups across the world chart a path towards sustainable development, the Equator Prize--issued biennially by the Equator Initiative--shines a spotlight on their efforts by honoring them on an international stage. This project was awarded the Equator Prize in recognition of its contribution to local sustainable development solutions.

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