24 March 2018
Ms. Chhali Maya Thami of the Sorung Kohla community has been conferred with the "Leadership Award for Community Resilience."
The award – sponsored by UNDP and the Himalayan Consensus Initiative -- is offered to a collective project that reaffirms a community's ethnic identity—in this case the 30,000-member minority Thami community in the Dolakha home district of Nepal – which is economically disenfranchised, and successfully tests and promotes a new approach to environmental resilience.
The award was co-presented by Renaud Meyer, Country Director of UNDP Nepal and Laurence Brahm, Founder of the Himalayan Consensus Initiative during the opening day of the 2018 Himalayan Consensus Summit on 23 March 2018.
The award highlights the efforts of a community to establish and manage an integrated approach to production and distribution of "cardamom," a plant that has a deep and widespread root system that maintains moisture and saves the soil. Importantly, when processed, cardamom can also become a highly profitable flavoring used today in masala and chai latte. It is therefore an agricultural product that boasts a large, growing market both in the region and globally.
"For UNDP it is very important to highlight the direct link between sustainable management of the environment, community empowerment and local economic development. This link needs to be supported by policies and promoted by institutions. Only when these three elements are ensured can countries achieve the SDGs and deliver on their commitment to Agenda 2030," said Meyer.
"The cardamom project and the work of the Himalayan Consensus are both aligned with the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goals and highlight in a tangible way the positive expression of community integration and empowerment," said Brahm.
"I am highly pleased to receive this award. This has demonstrated that there are many women in Nepal who can take the leadership roles for the greater good of their community despite the odds. I feel further encouraged to work towards building resilience of the economically backward community," said Thami upon receiving the award.
The award was decided by an independent jury comprising of experts from UNDP and Himalayan Consensus.