picture Georgetown: On October 22, 2009, WWF signed a grant agreement with the North Rupununi District Development Board (NRDDB) for a sum of G$ 7,066,200.00. This grant agreement aims to support the NRDDB’s project to promote sustainable community based livelihoods with butterfly production in Guyana. This project is also supported by the Iwokrama International Centre (IIC) as a collaborative partner.

The project follows on the heels of the recently concluded three year Darwin Initiative funded project entitled “Biodiversity and sustainable development of butterfly production in Guyana”, which ended in June 2009. The current project is expected to build on the achievements of the Darwin project which included as the main collaborating partners the IIC, NRDDB, University of Warwick and University of Guyana.

 


The NRDDB Executive Director, Mr Vincent Henry, noted that it was expected that sustainable utilization of the natural resources will improve the socio economic situation in Region 9 and will promote local peoples’ desire to keep their natural environment intact; including that wish to keep their natural environment free of chemicals such as pesticides and fertilizers which are common threats in many areas.

The butterfly farm and house Kawa Amazonica , located in Fair View village within the Iwokrama Forest, will serve as a hub for community based butterfly export businesses, a training centre and tourist attraction, and are meant to benefit the livelihoods of the communities in the North Rupununi.

This project is considered important to the North Rupununi, where there is a need to conserve local biodiversity, particularly in its wetlands. Developments in this region are occurring rapidly and the recent opening of the Takatu Road Bridge and continued improvements of the Guyana – Brazil Road will open the area to various environmental impacts. Changes such as these will have ecological consequences for these areas. Many communities are self sufficient relying on livelihoods such as subsistence farming, fishing, gathering and hunting. However, with increased expectations for their children’s education and increased material needs such as improved non-traditional housing and transport, many young people leave their communities for employment and often engage in activities such as logging, mining or the service industry.

It is expected that the butterfly project can promote an alternative and sustainable livelihood option in the region.
alt The main goal of the project is to improve employment opportunities for interested communities of the North Rupununi by enhancing their capacity to manage their businesses with the sustainable utilization of butterflies. One major expectation to arise from this project, is the export of butterfly pupae, which can serve to generate income from overseas markets. It is also expected that the butterfly farming activities here will promote ecotourism and related butterfly crafts in the region.

To the left: Patrick Williams, WWF Country Manager, handing over grant documents to Mr Vincent Henry, Executive Director of the NRDDB, also present is Dr Raquel Thomas representing Iwokrama.



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Read more on the work of WWF Guianas, Iwokrama International Center (IIC) and North Rupununi District Development Board (NRDDB) by following these links.

Read more on the first book of Guyanas butterflies in the Guyana Chronicles here.{jcomments off}