About aranya solutions
Aranya Solutions specialize in creating systematic place-based solutions through participatory planning to enhance the daily lives of people. We serve as a bridge to resources and necessary infrastructure to bring meaningful livelihood, economical vitality and sustainable living.
Our method is to assist communities to implement environmentally friendly building and regenerative agricultural methods, carbon sequestration, life-skills workshops, local business development, leadership training, education initiatives, and capacity building amongst stakeholders.
Aranya Solutions collaborates with a web of partners, such as Rotary International and local partner organizations in each location to provide access to assets that bolster cultural resilience, sustainability and livelihood. We work internationally, often serving the underserved.
What Aranya Means
Aranya means “Abundant Forest” in Sanskrit. We have an ecological mindset in our approach, where we think and act like a forest ecosystem, identifying where the levers for support are needed and bring resources to fulfill the needs – pollinating like bee’s creating a web of support systems.
The inspiration for developing a nonprofit came during Katrina Zavalney’s international travels in 2017 doing research on the international community development field. She wanted to do work aligned with sustainable land use and utilize her skills as a coordinator and community organizer. Aranya means “abundant forest” in Sanskrit, signifying plenitude, generosity, resourcefulness and prosperity. She recognized that her skills and network is full of resources that can be used to help coordinate people and lands to be self-sustaining and contribute to their larger communities’ livelihoods.
Recognizing how hard it can be for start-ups to find the resources available, she began to envision Aranya Solutions as a nonprofit serving as a framework for organizational support for sustainable community development. Aranya Solutions provides education in administrative and organizational skills, and could become a forum to accept donations for scholarships and needs. We are collaboration-based, working in partnership with organizations and local institutions including schools, the Government and International Nongovernmental Organizations (INGO’s). Katrina shared “As I talked with locals, it became clear that there is a need for smaller more agile organizational support with local-level projects. This is where Aranya Solutions fits, by understanding and being responsive to local needs by being a bridge to resources and organizational support.”
The first project was identified in Nepal, Dingam Village, that fit our criteria and is a community in dire need where no other organization’s were working, thus our impact will be significant. It quickly became apparent that we need to have our own nonprofit to properly coordinate the first and many more projects focused on community and sustainability development for long lasting sustainable solutions. We developed a calendar of activities to meet the needs of the village assessed for the next 4 years for agriculture, education, health, leadership and community development. Now is the time where we can create an organization to have tremendous impacts with people in need.
This nonprofit was formed to fill an important niche of working directly with the community in collaboration with local organizations and providing leadership development skills for long term public health and sustainability. The purpose of having a nonprofit in the USA is to raise funds from the States to bring to places that are in greater need, as a direct channel for fundraising efforts for maximum impact. Ethos is to serve the under served, starting our work in Nepal after seeing the needs for more support on the ground and fundraising. Aranya Solutions serves organizations and communities dedicated to making the world a better place. We create and facilitate strategies for efficiency.
In 2019 we took on more local and international projects related to regenerative agriculture working with Starhawk and Rotary International. As we are about creating an abundant forest it is very aligned with our mission to focus on regenerative practices.
Who We Are
Katrina Zavalney – Executive Director & Board President
Katrina Zavalney is based in the San Francisco bay area and is a mover and shaker where she has worked with grassroots to corporate and is passionate about community development and connecting people to resources. She is a systems thinker with a Masters in Organization Development, with over 15 years of experience she is skilled in community organizing, sustainability, producing events, strategic planning and permaculture. Katrina likes to take on impactful projects such as greening Burning Man in 2007, leading a huge grassroots movement in sustainability and inspiring the theme of the event to be the “Green Man”. She also greened Disney by writing environmental policies companywide, namely the paper policy in 2012.
In the community organizing realm Katrina was the revitalization coordinator for a whole town in the Mississippi Delta, Clarksdale, where she got the farmers market going again as a true community hub! Katrina earned her chops as a core member of the community building organization, City Repair, in Portland, OR since 1999 where there was a focus on localization, placemaking and neighborhood development.
Katrina founded Aranya Solutions in 2018, a nonprofit dedicated to enriching the quality of life within economically challenged areas and developing systematic changes with a focus on localization, service as a bridge to resources, providing necessary infrastructure. Katrina has joined forces with the Rotary Club to support village livelihood programs in Nepal and Africa along with board member and dear friend Barry Cogbill.
Katrina excels in creating programs based on the needs in the community and identifying resources and partnerships to support and build out the programs, events and activities. She is a natural networker and connector, finding ways to empower other people’s passions. Katrina spent this last year in Nepal, where she has been supporting village livelihood programs that focus on agriculture, leadership, economic stability and women’s empowerment.
Katrina loves to dance – anywhere, anytime, any type of dance! She teaches Zumba and mindful movement. Katrina believes in the power of living healthy and loves to do theater & improv… and likes to have FUN a whole lotta FUN! She loves to collaborate, so reach out and have fun!
Barry Cogbill – Board of Directors
Barry Cogbill, International Projects Chair for the Rotary Club of Santa Rosa East in California, helps support the fundraising efforts and supplies knowledge and resources for this project.
Through his involvement in Rotary International, Barry collaborates on humanitarian based solar projects in Africa, Nepal, and now Puerto Rico.
Barry is an clean energy consultant, regarded for his solar and energy efficiency expertise, collaboration with government and industry specialists and excellence in managing and implementing clean energy projects. Barry is an energy writer, speaker and educator.
It is his priority to bring clean energy resources to Digam Village in subsequent scopes of work, utilizing the power of Rotary International’s Global Grants program.
Kathia Castro Laszlo – Board of Directors
Kathia Castro Laszlo, Ph.D. is Principal and Chief Creative Officer of Magenta Wisdom, offering executive coaching, consulting, design and facilitation services to leaders and organizations committed to develop their collaborative leadership and innovation capacities for social impact.
Kathia designs and facilitates strategic and learning processes that lead to organizational effectiveness, cultural healing and regeneration. She believes that “sustainability is an inside job” and her work on evolutionary leadership develops individual and collective capacities on systems thinking, feeling, and being for transformation from the inside out.
Kathia has been a faculty member in academic and professional development programs including Saybrook University, Meridian University, and the Cross Sector Leadership programs of the Presidio Institute. She has taught leadership, organizational development and strategy in the sustainability MBA programs of Presidio Graduate School (San Francisco), Bainbridge Graduate Institute (Seattle), Dominican University of California (San Francisco), EGADE Business School (Mexico), and Universidad del Medio Ambiente (Mexico).
Kathia is the co-founder of Syntony Quest, Global Leadership Lab, and The Journey Network and has been advisor to multiple educational enterprises including Mycelium School and Novamaya University. She is in the early stages of creating an institute exploring the intersection of money, love and meaning. Her work integrates feminine, multicultural and experiential ways of knowing and relating. She is an explorer of ethical business and organizational models and – through her understanding of adult learning, group creativity, mindfulness and dialogue – she has facilitated numerous transformational processes in business, academic, nonprofit and community contexts in North America, Latin America and Europe. She is working on her book Education at the Edge of Possibility which is the result of 20 years of research and experience on the design of evolutionary learning communities.
Kathia is from Monterrey, Mexico where she earned a BA in Marketing and a M.Ed. in Cognitive Development. She came to the US as a Fulbright Scholar to earn her PhD in Human Science with specialization in social and institutional change at Saybrook University. Kathia is a certified executive coach in the Leadership Circle ProfileTM and is fully fluent in English and Spanish. She is a mother, yoga practitioner, Reiki master, and nature lover and shares her perspectives through her blog www.magentawisdom.net
Karri Winn – Board of Directors
Karri’s bio to come. Check out her website: www.karriwinn.com
Our Partners and Funders
Rotary Mission Statement – Rotary is where neighbors, friends and problem solvers share ideas, join leaders and take action to create lasting change. The main principal of Rotary is “Service Above Self”.
We have partnered with Rotary to support community, economic development, increase capacity, health and nutrition in deprived areas in the world by multiplying funds raised through Rotary International to increase impact. The International Projects Committee of the Rotary Club of Santa Rosa East, California developed these projects in collaboration with the host Rotary clubs in Africa and Asia and their local communities. Through our friendships with Rotarians in developing countries, we are able to create lasting change for the people we serve.
See more details at www.Pathways4Thriving.org
Starhawk’s Regenerative Land Management Program
We are working with mentors, land, farms and ranchers around the world for internship placement. We also help raise funds for diversity scholarships.
This new long term program (2 years) in Regenerative Agriculture and Land Management led by Starhawk, Charles Williams and many other guest speakers and mentors. It’s based around two ten-day intensives, short internships, a longer-term apprenticeship and many shorter courses, all guided by a personal mentor who will help tailor the program to participants’ goals and needs. Internship sites will be sought across North America and internationally, so that students can learn from a variety of enterprises, approaches and gain exposure to land management practices and challenges in different cultures. The goal is to develop pathways for more farmers, ranchers, organizers and businesses that are focused on regenerative land management. 20-30 students per course, this new long-term program is designed to give the skills, experience and confidence to run a farm, ranch, retreat center or urban farm in ways that heal damaged ecosystems and sequester carbon. The student often become teachers and leaders who will pass this knowledge on.
Abundant Earth Foundation
Abundant Earth Foundation (AEF) was formed as a way for the global Permaculture Movement to unite and better support one another. AEF funds projects around the world that are using permaculture, regenerative agriculture, and social entrepreneurial efforts to make a great impact at local and global levels. Aranya Solutions partnered with AEF to represent the Weaver Network at the East Africa Permaculture Convergence in Uganda in May of 2018. Weaver Network is an online platform to share stories and projects, list Wants/Needs/Offerings/Requests, connect and share information with others who hold similar passions, and learn about permaculture trainings and courses.
With the aim of changing lives and changing societies, the Institute of Cultural Affairs (ICA) Nepal was established in early 1998 in Kathmandu, Nepal. Since its establishment and following its philosophy: ‘every individual has a capacity to bring change in his/her situation’, ICA Nepal has continuously worked for human capacity development, and hence, has emerged as one of the leading organizations in training and facilitation in Nepal. ICA Nepal believes that no sustainable development or change is achieved without considering existing cultural dynamics and pluralities. Thus, it is dedicated to creating an environment, in which the opportunity of participation, and the building in of sustainable change and development is foremost.
See more details at www.ica-nepal.org
Pollination Project funded us to put on a storytelling workshop to gain skills in presenting our organizations story. The Pollination Project seeks to unleash Goodness and expand Compassion all over the world. They make worldwide daily seed grants to inspiring social changemakers who are committed to a world that works for all. #SeedsofChange
See more details at https://thepollinationproject.org/
World Peace Through Technology
World Peace Through Technology has been a funding partner since our inception, we are grateful for their support, advise and friendship. The World Peace Through Technology Organization purpose is inspiring peace through technology via education, art, music, and dance.
See more details at www.wptt.org
The Relief Trust
Local partner in Nepal to support life skills programming and connections to government officials. This partner does trauma relief work through counseling and leads trainings in communication and emotional intelligence work for community development.
See more details at www.TheReliefTrust.org