Narmada : Zari village, located in the Narmada district of Gujarat, has a high migration rate of over 50%. This is due to the fact that most of the villagers are farmers who rely on rain for irrigation. As a result, they have little opportunity to farm throughout the year.
In order to address this issue, SBI YFI Fellow Dennis Jose helped set up the ECO Village in Zari village. The ECO Village offers an experiential rural setting for urban families to visit and enjoy the joy of staying connected with nature. It offers boat rides, amusement activities, interaction with the locals, and traditional food like Hunamanda and Tukhaliyamanda.
Through sustainable efforts to promote tourism in the region, the villagers now stand empowered to generate alternate income through various activities of the Eco Village.
Over 600 tourists visiting the farm for leisure purposes, the Eco Village provides for an apt picnic and outing spot for people from surrounding regions who explore the Eco Village in Zari for a change from the hustle bustle of life. Winters call for more people to visit given the fresh air and sunlight that the village set up offers to enjoy.
The Eco Village has helped generate alternate livelihood income for the locals of the land. Through various activities like Boating and cooking local food for the visiting tourists, the locals are able to generate an approximate income of INR 40-45,000 annoually through boating and about INR 25,000 through food offerings.
The ECO Village is a shining example of how sustainable tourism can be used to address the challenges faced by rural communities and provide employment and livelihood generation opportunity to the locals. It has provided the villagers with an alternative source of income, improved their educational opportunities, and helped to preserve their culture.