Ambulances, Caterpillars, and Adventure Camps in the East Khasi Hills

khasi hills community logo cotap

When we visited the Khasi Hills last year, we were caught off guard by how HAPPENING things were!

There was All Souls Day in the local cemetery, an intense village-on-village soccer match by the Mawphlang Sacred Grove, the Khasi Nongkrem Dance, and a bullfight on the outskirts of town. Shortly before and after our visit, the Khasi held their annual Niang Phlang (Caterpillar) Eating Festival and Shillong hosted a half marathon as well as The Hills music fest on Umiam Lake.

The action never stopped, and a great deal of it continues to be made possible by the carbon offset revenues earned by the local Khasi community protecting and restoring its forests. Here’s a roundup of recent updates about how Bah Tambor Lyngdoh and the Khasi Hills REDD+ team are investing in their local community to make it more vibrant, empowered, resilient, and prosperous!

Successful Verification Completed

SCS Global Services verified carbon offset project

The project completed its 3rd-party verification by SCS Global Services. SCS is a leading ISO 14065-accredited verifier which has verified 295 million tonnes of emissions reductions via 160 assessments on projects spanning 5 continents. Their verification report for the Khasi REDD+ project can be found in our Dropbox folder.

Over the summer, our project partner the Synjuk (Ka Synjuk Ki Hima Arliang Wah Umiam Mawphlang Welfare Society) marked its 12th anniversary by giving ambulances to 6 of its 10 indigenous governments, also known as Hima. The traditional Hima heads were honored with Spong Khor (traditional turbans) and the founding members and current members were congratulated with Ryndia tlem (traditional muffler/scarf).

Recipient Hima heads were honored with Spong Khor (turbans) and other founding Hima members were congratulated with Ryndia tlem (traditional muffler). Can you spot Bah Tambor?

Channeling Carbon Revenues into Ecotourism

During our visit, we learned about how the Synjuk is deploying its Community Development Fund (CDF) from carbon sales revenues into diversified community revenue streams such as regional eco-tourism. When we were there, we saw how they’d funded a walking trail through the Mawphlang Sacred Grove and were piloting a rock climbing and rappelling program.

Niang Phlang (Caterpillar) Eating Festival

Once again this year, the village of Umsawmat drew in regional tourists for the annual Niang Phlang (Caterpillar) Eating Festival. Not only is the fest intended to celebrate a traditional Khasi delicacy, but also to increase awareness about the importance of protecting the caterpillar’s habitat. Featured in The Shillong Times, it included traditional sports such as Mawpoin, a fashion show, and horseback riding. The Synjuk supported the creation of this slick promotional video, all in the Khasi language and aimed at tourists from Meghalaya, Assam, and beyond:

Self-Help Groups, Community Development Funds, and Adventure Camps

The Khasi Hills REDD+ Project now financially supports and advises 260 Self-Help Groups (SHG’s), to which it channels Payments for Ecosystem Services/PES from carbon offset revenues through its Community Development Fund. SHG’s are all-women groups which pool their resources to make micro loans to one another and invest in local and small-scale income generating businesses. One recent example is the “Destiny” SHG’s opening of its Riverside Adventure Camp, which seems “destined” to become a major stop on a multi-village trekking route through the Khasi Hills! Here’s the Shillong Mail’s 15 minute feature covering the camp’s Opening Ceremony on June 24, 2023.

8th Annual Self-Help Group “Meet and Fest”

Local news channel T7 covered the Synjuk’s 8th Annual Self-Help Group “Meet and Fest” on December 12, 2023. This video is also entirely in the Khasi language, so we only understood “Khublei Shibun” which means “thank you.” Still, it’s important to share as another example of the rich heritage and vibrant communities which the Khasi REDD+ Project cultivates and promotes.

At 1:32 you can see the banner that it is organized by the Khasi Hills Community REDD+ Project and the Synjuk. At 3:45 there’s a lovely SHG musical performance and dancing at 10:46. We’re not sure which SHG won the tug-of-war tournament…

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