Stories written by Stella Paul

The Nagoya Protocol: A Treaty Waiting to Happen

For over 20 years, Mote Bahadur Pun of Nepal’s western Myagdi district has been growing ‘Paris polyphylla’ - a Himalayan herb used to cure pain, burns and fevers.

Vanishing Species: Local Communities Count their Losses

The Mountain Chicken isn’t a fowl, as its name suggests, but a frog. Kimisha Thomas, hailing from the Caribbean island nation of Dominica, remembers a time when she could find these amphibians or ‘crapaud’ as locals call them “just in the backyard”.

Curbing the Illegal Wildlife Trade Crucial to Preserving Biodiversity

For over five years, 33-year-old Maheshwar Basumatary, a member of the indigenous Bodo community, made a living by killing wild animals in the protected forests of the Manas National Park, a tiger reserve, elephant sanctuary and UNESCO World Heritage Site that lies on the India-Bhutan border.

Financing for Biodiversity: A Simple Matter of Keeping Promises

With governments, activists and scientists tearing their hair out over the world’s impending crisis in biodiversity, the outgoing president of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) delivered a simple message to participants at the 12th Conference of the Parties to the CBD (COP12) currently underway in the Republic of Korea’s northern Pyeongchang county: honour the promises you made last year.

Lack of Accountability Fuels Gender-Based Violence in India

On a bright March morning, a 17-year old tribal girl woke as usual, and went to catch fish in the village river in the Chirang district of India’s northeastern Assam state.

Conflict Keeps Mothers From Healthcare Services

Twenty-five-year-old Khemwanti Pradhan is a ‘Mitanin’ – a trained and accredited community health worker – based in the Nagarbeda village of the Bastar region in the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh.

When Land Restoration Works Hand in Hand with Poverty Eradication

Tugging at the root of a thorny shrub known as ‘juliflora’, which now dots the village of Chirmiyala in the Medak District of southern India’s Telangana state, a 28-year-old farmer named Ailamma Arutta tells IPS, “This is a curse that destroyed my land.”

Lack of Toilets Keeps Women Out of Politics

Nine months after she was elected head of her village council, 36-year-old Krupa Shanti has overseen some significant changes in this rural outpost of Mallampeta, 570 km away from Hyderabad, capital of the southeastern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.

India’s ‘Temple Slaves’ Struggle to Break Free

At 32, Nalluri Poshani looks like an old woman. Squatting on the floor amidst piles of tobacco and tree leaves that she expertly transforms into ‘beedis’, a local cigarette, she tells IPS, “I feel dizzy. The tobacco gives me headaches and nausea.”

Indian Girls Break Taboos on Menstrual Hygiene

Fifteen-year-old Nasreen Jehan, a student in the eastern Indian state of Bihar, proudly flaunts a yellow and red beaded bracelet encircling her wrist. This humble accessory, she tells IPS, is her most treasured possession.

And Not a Drop to Waste

As the mercury soars above 40 degrees Celsius, ground water level across India is dropping, making it difficult for farmers to cultivate their fields. This is the season when farmers make a special effort to save their crops from wilting. Failure would see them migrate to the city to search alternative livelihood.

No Choice But To Work Without Pay

The southern Indian city Hyderabad is witnessing a construction boom as it prepares to become the joint capital of two states - Andhra Pradesh and the soon to be formed Telangana. Buildings are coming up in almost every neighbourhood.

India Finds Fishy Ways to Fight Malaria

Thirteen-year-old Sampreeth Monteiro’s neighbours are suddenly taking his advice seriously. “Buy a Guppy fish, it will eat all the mosquito eggs in your house. You will not get malaria again.”

Conflict Fuels Child Labour in India

Early in the morning, 14-year-old Sumari Varda puts on her blue school uniform but heads for the village pond to fetch water. “I miss school. I wish I could go back,” she whispers, scared of being heard by her employer.

Sun Shines on Forest Women

Chintapakka Jambulamma, 34, looks admiringly at a solar dryer. It’s the prized possession of the Advitalli Tribal Women’s Co-operative Society- a collective of women entrepreneurs that she leads.

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