After 10 years of ASRI’s healthcare and community programs, household participation in logging in GPNP had dropped by 88%. The remaining loggers were completely dependent on logging and knew no other way of making a living. That’s why ASRI launched a business development program in 2017 called Chainsaw Buyback: to help former loggers find a livelihood other than illegal timber. This is how the program works: in exchange for their chainsaws, loggers and their families receive seed money, mentoring, and business planning assistance from ASRI staff. They get everything they need to successfully transition to small business entrepreneurship. So far over 100 logging families have “sold” ASRI their chainsaws and switched to a sustainable livelihood!
Some former loggers are being trained in efficient organic farming techniques. Others are raising livestock like chicken or catfish. Thanks to this compassionate approach, and support from the local community, more loggers have been coming forward, wanting to switch professions. This has changed the landscape in more ways than one. As more families participate in Chainsaw Buyback, we’ve seen improvements across the board in quality of life, the local ecosystem, and the local economy.