Vasundhara has attempted to help communities organise collective enterprises around the financially gainful procurement, processing and marketing of non-timber forest produce (NTFP). Communities engaged in the gathering and sale of forest produce find them at a disadvantage in the market place, as each brings in very small quantities of the produce. The pooling of produce and bulk disposal of it was likely to be more profitable. But the more challenging task was in accessing to the mainstream finance for working capital support to enhance the collective business.
Looking to these, Vasundhara has tried to bridge the gap by creating a revolving fund namely Community Enterprise Revolving Fund (CERF), that would cater the need of the collectives for accessing working capital. Vasundhara is anxious that the CERF not overshadow its advocacy and other interventions with communities living in and near forests. Therefore, even as it hopes to build the CERF for use by local communities effectively, it will take all steps necessary to ensure that CERF is not a corrupting influence on the local community leadership, and that it is used for the larger benefit of local communities, and to ensure that local communities are significant players in the local markets.
When providing financial assistance from the CERF, Vasundhara hopes for the following results, in each case:
To ensure that communities living in and near forests nourish and manage them, and have access to and control over them in a socially just, ecologically sound, and gender sensible manner; and ensuring that communities dependent on the forests for their livelihoods organise themselves to increase their income from such livelihoods, in a sustainable, financially equitable, and democratic manner.