OREANDA-NEWS. April 16, 2014. Starting in April 2014 and throughout the coming year approximately 5 million rubles will be provided to support beginning entrepreneurs of the Altai and Kamchatka regions. Small businesses in these regions help conserve nature and prevent poaching.

The project is intended to help ensure the financial stability of local residents, to assist them in promoting their products on the regional and national market, and to establish reliable distribution channels.

The Citi Foundation has cooperated with WWF Russia in this project since 2011. The number of participants in the project in Altai and Kamchatka in previous years has reached into the thousands. They include those who received direct financing to develop their businesses, participants of numerous training seminars as well as those who benefited from the new opportunities that come with the new jobs created through the project. The best cases can be found at www.wwf.ru.

The project is aimed at preventing poaching, which is the only source of subsistence for many families. The main objective of the project is to change this situation and make it possible for local residents to earn a living in a legal manner.

“In the Altai region in certain villages the level of unemployment reaches 90%,” says Alexander Bondarev, Head of the Altai-Sayan division of WWF Russia. “The low standard of living fosters poaching activities and illegal trade of wild plants and animals. We are confident that this project will make it possible to partially solve the problem of employment of the population, supplement family budgets, improve tourism facilities, and create of the proper conditions for catering to visitors. But most importantly it will provide local residents stable and legal sources of income in places which are home to the wild argali mountain sheep of Altai and the snow leopard.”

“In Kamchatka the project will have its own special features,” says Sergei Rafanov, Director of the Kamchatka/Bering ecoregion division for WWF Russia. “In contrast to the Altai-Sayan region, where entrepreneurs receive interest-free microloans, on the Kamchatka peninsula we will continue to offer assistance in the form of microgrants which do not need to be returned. The project also foresees providing assistance in Kamchatka to entrepreneurs who are engaged in the creation and development of production, deep processing and sale of forest nutritional products based on sustainable and ecologically sound forestry practices.”

More information and case studies are available here: