Biotechnology as an emerging area has immense potential to improve the lives of people specially the socially and economically disadvantaged sections of the society. The Department of Biotechnology has recognized its importance and therefore, dedicated organizations working at the grass-root level in various resource based, village based and rural based activities, which have made substantial contribution to the community in various aspects of healthcare and hygiene, avenues for livelihoods and in empowering the people.
This year, Department has recognized Himalayan Environmental Studies and Conservation Organization (HESCO) Dehradun, Uttarakhand for their pioneering work for creating livelihood options for rural community in Himalayan region.
Himalayan Environmental Studies and Conservation Organization (HESCO), Village – Shuklapur, Dehradun, Uttarakhand is an NGO working since 1979 focusing on economic and developmental needs and encouraging society to tap local bio-resources for self-reliance. For the last 37 years HESCO has been applying knowledge of the environmental and bio-sciences and propagating simple technologies to bring consistent development to the rural villages of the Himalayas. The mission of HESCO is to promote innovative and ecologically-sound solutions in the Himalayan region for sustainable utilization of local bio-resources and ultimately help the community development through their sustainable livelihood.
HESCO has been a motivator to create awareness and training programmes in various income and employment generation activities. They have played a major role in coordinating and networking of shrine-committees of Vaishno Devi, Badrinath and Gangotri Temples, to allow offerings, which are made from the local crops and resources. In horticulture major emphasis was on food preservation and fruit processing and has been instrumental in developing good market and employment to hundreds of women in villages. This creates hundreds of employment opportunities for village craftsmen and youths across the country. HESCO has organized women “WISE” (women’s initiative for self-employment) which is an excellent platform for women entrepreneurs to generate self employment, market and other related issues.
Awareness towards ecology and local rural economy has been major thrust of the organization. Their innovative and ecologically sound solutions so far have yielded outstanding results in their target regions. The organization is armed with advanced bio-knowledge of low-cost technology and has been working on economic empowerment of rural community by converting local bio-resources into economically deliverable products for local self-employment. HESCO, by tapping several undeveloped natural resources of mountain regions, has inspired and trained around hundreds of village families to develop sustainable small enterprises such as fisheries, organic farming, animal husbandry, beekeeping etc. HESCO also developed and installed a technologically advanced version of a watermill into any mountain streams of Himalayas, which generate electricity and serve various agro-processing for thousands of villagers.
HESCO is working on agriculture related interventions for socio economic upliftment of the community and also for relief and rehabilitation of flood affected area of Uttarakhand. The organization is also actively promoting women self-help-groups for empowerment leading to economic security. It has large network of people’s organization and institutions and has served more than 10000 villagers directly spread in various villages across the Himalayan states.
The success reaching the needy population is reflected in the newspaper and media coverage and the awards received by the NGO. Socio-economic upliftment of the rural community in Himalayan region including women empowerment with use of appropriate technology makes the NGO (HESCO) most suitable for the Biotechnology Social Development Award 2016.
In their dedicated contribution, HESCO is facilitated with a Cash Award of Rs. 5.00 Lakhs along with a citation and a trophy.