The Central Himalayan regions of Uttarakhand have seen severe environmental degradation over the last century. Almost two-thirds of the state is designated as forest area; in reality, it is limited to about 46%. The loss of forest cover has resulted in soil erosion and reduced agricultural productivity. Barely 15% of the geographical area is cultivated and landholdings on an average are less than one hectare. Consequently, people find it increasingly difficult to gather basic resources such as food, fuel, fodder and water. The problem is compounded by the heavy out-migration of males in search of employment, leaving the burden of labour on women.
The Himmothan Pariyojana, initiated by Trusts in 2001, attempts to target the root causes of under development in the Central Himalayan region of Uttarakhand, mostly related to developing sustainable community institutions working for ecologically and environmentally sustainable livelihoods, in a natural resource-rich state. A MoU with the state government of Uttarakhand was jointly signed in May 2004 for a period of ten years, under the umbrella of which the initiative substantially expanded its rural development programmes in collaboration with partner non-government organisations, community institutions and state bodies. In March 2014, the MoU was extended by a further period of 10 years.
Currently, Himmothan focuses on the following three initiatives: (a) Central Himalayan Livestock Initiative (b) Central Himalayan Microfinance Initiative, and (c) Central Himalayan Education Initiative. The Himmotthan Society (Himmothan) co-ordinates / implements the Himmothan programme.