We are very pleased to announce that we have today confirmed an agreement with project partners for a new and exciting major environmental project as we restore a community forest at Bhatighadi, Dhanusha District, south Nepal.

Today ChoraChori confirmed the terms of an MOU (Memorandum of Understanding), a tripartite agreement with our partners The Gemma and Chris McGough Charitable Foundation CIO and Nepalese NGO The Mithila Wildlife Trust (MWT) in a new major environmental project for Nepal. Over the next two and a half years we will work alongside the Divisional Forest Office (DFO) in restoring 32 hectares (0.32 square kilometres) of forest, clearing scrub and planting almost 17,000 saplings. The total project budget is £191,732 with just over two thirds of that provided by The McGough Charitable Foundation. Most of the remainder will be from the DFO, including the provision of all the saplings for free, part of the Nepal government’s commitment to reforestation.

This development will be a case of win, win, win. It is an obvious benefit to the rich flora and fauna of the region and the restored forest will connect with wildlife migration routes that run through the Chure forest strip to the north. The planting of trees will support the local economy through providing immediate work to day labourers who have been rendered jobless because of COVID and longer term through ecotourism. The community will be able to draw upon the forest for a cornucopia of products to support their families and create livelihoods. The trees will make a contribution towards preventing flooding arising from the uncontrolled run-off of water from the Himalayas (in 2017 the region was devastated by floods). And of course there is no better way of hoovering CO2 out of the atmosphere than the forests that offer a lifeline to future generations.

The project needs to be formally approved by the Social Welfare Council of Nepal, but we have been promised a quick and positive turnaround of our application. Meantime the DFO has already engaged local people in scrub clearance and in installing a water supply, water tank and toilets as a central facility. These day labourers, pictured today, were overjoyed at having such worthwhile work – and an income – during these desperate times.

This development will be a model that can be replicated elsewhere in Nepal – one of a community in harmony with and treasuring its natural environment for both local upliftment and the benefit of mankind.