ONGC CSR initiative for Skill Development of Nature Guides from major National Conservation parks through WTI

ONGC  in collaboration with the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) has initiated a CSR  project for providing training to  conservation guides and naturalists from Sultanpur National Park, Corbett Tiger  Reserve, Rajaji National Park and Titali Trust. This initiative has been  undertaken under the guidance of Director ( HR ) by the office of GM- Head  Coordination, Delhi. A total of ten conservation guides are presently undergoing training as a part  of Skill development initiative under this CSR project . This project includes training of ten  conservation guides in two phases, through Bharati Vidyapeeth Institute of  Environmental Education and Research (BVIEER), Pune and Asian Adventures,  Panghot, Uttarakhand, along with installation  of eco-friendly dustbins at Sultanpur  Birds Sanctuary and National Park in Haryana.

The  first phase of training through BVIEER,  Pune was held from 25th to 30th July, 2016. During this  training the participants other than classroom training were taken out to a  number of field visits to nearby conservation parks in vicinity of Pune. During  one such field visit the trainees were  taken to Bhigwan, a wetland near Khumbhar Gaon (120kms far from Pune). Smt Manjari Nigam , DGM (HR) from  Coordination group, Delhi and Shri Monu Bhatnagar, Chief Chemist from Corp, CSR  Delhi visited Pune, to monitor the  project and interacted with the trainees on 28th July 2016 at Khumbhar Gaon during this field visit.

environment  sustainability

Bhigwan is the backwaters of Bhima River, stretches to about 50 kms, and provide livelihood for thousands of fisherman. Backwaters of Bhima River attracts, every year, a large number of migratory birds (from North India and other countries); about 100–150 species of flamingos and cormorants are reported. During the visit, numbers of birds like Grey Heron, Pond Heron, Spot Billed Duck, Black winged tilt, Pheasant-tailed jacana, Flamingo (Agni Pankh), Coot, Lark, Moorhen were seen by the participants.

environment  sustainability

The  Forest Department appoints guides and  naturalists to accompany the tourists visiting these national conservation parks. Majority of these guides and  naturalists are members of the communities located around these protected areas  and earn their livelihoods by tending tourists and accompanying them during  their park visits. This training of these guides will provide a substantial  increase in the overall average knowledge level of participants in the areas of  ecology, wildlife conservation and sustainable tourism. It would help them to develop their skills and entrepreneurship  of Nature tourism resulting in enhancement of their income. These guides would  be passing the knowledge gained by them to the other members of their community  working in the same area with them. Thus this project will have a major impact on the communities working in this profession  near the National conservation parks,  even though the financial implication to ONGC for the project is less  than ten lakh.

During the interaction with ONGC CSR team the  participants shared their learning and experiences. They learnt about ecology of birds and  cleared their myths regarding snakes. One of the guides, said that this training was helping him to  learn about the skills which can be used to provide information about nature  and wildlife to tourists in a short duration of time. Apart from providing  information to tourists, training will be beneficial to guides in terms of  monetary benefits, since tourists prefer trained guides. Conservation guides  suggested designating paths for trekking and birding for tourists in the protected  areas.

Through this training ONGC is producing ambassadors of nature who while interacting with the tourists will also be passing the message of importance of the forests and  wildlife about its conservation thus meeting the CSR objective of environment  sustainability and protection of flora and fauna.

Team Corporate CSR