One Water Source, Many Uses

“We had given up on this stretch of land. It lay there dry and bare. But now, as you can see, it is green and fertile. The new irrigation project has made all the difference. This year I planted and sold a lot of potatoes here. Our entire neighborhood has transformed because of the new water project.”

Dukmaya Tamang, Simle, Jaleswori


Generally, we run two types of water projects – drinking water and irrigation – that are separate from each other. In 2018, after learning about a new technology, we tried combining both projects into one.

We are constantly reevaluating and adapting our methodology to be the most effective we can be. We do this in part by learning from the best practices of other organizations. We visited a Multiple Use of Water (MUS) project site run by International Development Enterprise (IDE) Nepal in late 2017, which a friend of ours suggested could be a suitable technology for our projects. This visit taught us that one water project or source could easily serve multiple purposes through small modifications and minimal extra cost. We then modified what was going to be a typical irrigation project in Simle village into a locally appropriate and feasible MUS model. We finished this project in mid-2018 and are glad to hear of the success stories from the village.

Left: Our typical drinking water system. Right: Typical Irrigation Project

Dukmaya Tamang’s home is one of the 27 houses that benefitted from the new MUS project in Simle. Since the project, people are now using water in three different ways. First, it is diverted into crop fields through hand-dug canals. Second, it is used as drinking water for families via taps built next to their homes. And finally, the excess water from the household taps is being used to maintain plastic ponds near the house that irrigate kitchen gardens.

On the left: Dukmaya shows us her plastic pond. Right: Dukmaya selling potatoes to her neighbor

Dukmaya’s backyard used to remain fallow for most of the year since there was not enough water to grow anything outside of the rainy season. After building a plastic pond and a tap next to her home, she has maintained an excellent kitchen garden where she now grows a variety of vegetables for her family’s consumption. She recently expanded her kitchen garden to grow more potatoes. Due to the availability of water and the techniques our agriculture technicians taught her, she was able to grow enough potatoes to feed her family and also earn extra income.

Kumari Tamang stands in front of the newly-built tap that is just next to her house.

Since this project was originally requested by the community for irrigation, all 27 households are now using the water to irrigate their crop fields. Twelve of the 27 households are also using the project for drinking water, while 15 households are using plastic ponds to collect water for their kitchen gardens. Dukmaya’s neighbor Kumari Tamang (in photo above) is using the water in all three ways. For the 12 households, this project has helped with their acute drinking water shortage.

Structure of the MUS scheme

Local community members contributed to this project by donating their labor voluntarily. They dug the pipelines, crushed stones to make gravel, and held multiple meetings to manage the construction work. Now they have formed a water user committee, and collect a monthly savings fee of NPRs 20. They also assigned a caretaker who maintains various parts of the system. The community holds regular meetings every three months to collect the savings as well as resolve various issues facing the water system. Every household gives the system caretaker a fixed amount of produce as compensation annually.

Our Agriculture Technician Thamsari Rai teaching farmers how to use a plastic pond.

With the availability of water throughout the year, many Simle residents have now begun commercial vegetable farming. As part of our agriculture program, we also helped form a farmer’s group in Simle in 2017. Members have been reporting increased income since installing the MUS system.

Lak Kumar Rai shows us his potato plants that he started growing after the guarantee of irrigation.
Another farmer Bal Kumar Rai with his huge cabbage farm – possible only after the availability of water for his kitchen garden.
Chhatra Kumar Tamang with his plastic pond.

Since this was a new technology, we have encountered a few challenges. We can only build it where there is a large enough water source that can sustain both household water consumption and farming. While the plastic ponds are not very large, they could still pose a threat to small children who could accidentally fall in. In some instances, community members also reported mosquito breeding during the hot summer season. We now insist that each household with a plastic pond build a solid fence around it to protect kids. To prevent mosquito breeding, we have suggested that people keep the water moving and churning in their plastic ponds.

 

Due to the many benefits that communities receive from MUS, we have now expanded this model to our newer water projects. Currently, we are running two more MUS projects that will be finished in June of 2019. We have slightly modified the design to adjust for local needs, but the basic principle remains the same.

Community members digging pipeline for a new irrigation project in Bung. This will also be a MUS system, where houses with a drinking water shortage and willingness to have a plastic pond will get both of them in addition to irrigating their crop field.

We thank IDE Nepal for hosting our visit as well as our friend Michael Cook for connecting us with IDE Nepal.

To stay updated on this program and other similar work in Nepal, follow our Facebook and Instagram pages. If you’d like to support these important programs in addition to our other work in Nepal, please consider a donation today.

Counting Greens!

“We are not sure if we are making a profit or a loss when we sell our crops. We are earning some money, we know, but we never keep track. We are like people grappling in the dark when it comes to our accurate income.”

– members of Saunetham Farmer’s Group, Gudel (January 2015)

Saunthetham Farmer’s Group in Gudel

In rural Nepal, most families follow subsistence agriculture as their chief occupation. Employment opportunities are extremely limited. In recent years, this has driven a significant portion of the village youth to pursue risky jobs abroad specially in Gulf countries. Now, Nepal derives more than 30% of its annual GDP through remittance sent by these migrant workers. In our working areas in some of the most remote valleys of Eastern Nepal, outbound migration is lower than other parts of the country due to the seasonal employment provided by trekking jobs in the Everest region. However, both of these big income providers come with their own share of hardship, and challenges including family separation as well as dangerous working environments.

A porter in the Everest region resting briefly!

When we started an ambitious agriculture program in 2014 by popular and repeated demand from our partner communities, we set new income generation as one of our primary goals. Our first priority was improved nutrition, but additional income support to families by selling new cash crops would be a close second. To this end, we set a goal that at least 50% of our farmers will be earning more than USD $200 at the end of 5 years.

A simple goal of our evaluation efforts was to learn how much each farmer household was earning each year. But when we asked people how much they had made, we got answers like the ones provided by our members from Saunthem Farmer’s Group. It proved difficult for people to remember what they had sold and for how much and what volume in the past year. Stumped, we put together our head to devise a simple tool which will help farmers track their farming activities including income and expenses.

After piloting of a few tentative forms and sheets, we finally created the Farmer Record Sheet (FRS) – a small booklet like a bank passbook which is provided to each and every farmer so they can record their activities and earnings each month.

Second edition of our Farmer’s Record Sheet

There are separate columns to record which vegetables or crops were sold by the farmers, what amount and how much they earned from those sales. It also has columns to record expenses incurred for farming activities like purchase of farm tools or seeds. Farmers can also record what vegetables they have planted on that particular month as well as what they have harvested. This sheet also has a place to record any diseases or problems encountered in the kitchen garden every month.

Page 1 and 2 of the Farmer Record Sheet!
Page 3 and 4 of the Farmer Record Sheet!

These 4 pages shown above are repeated for 12 months so that farmers can enter their activities for the entire year in a single book. After a 12 month cycle, farmers can then consolidate all of their expenses, sales, crops planted and harvested – thus having a complete picture of what their household profit has been, which crops were more successful, and what their household consumed throughout the year.

Our evaluation team records their profit every three months – thus giving us the important data we need to measure the output of our agriculture program!

Distribution of Farmer Record Sheet for the second year in Sotang
Distribution of Farmer Record Sheet in Rakha.
Distribution of Farmer Record Sheet in Sungdel

 

Since more than 50% of our farmers cannot properly read or write, we have multiple approaches to make sure that the records are filled in regularly. In some farmer’s groups, we have involved the children of the household, making filling out the forms part of their daily homework. Our agriculture technicians also visit farmer’s groups during their monthly meetings and help the farmers who were unable to fill in their records. Within each farmer’s group, we also help form a sub-committee of literate farmers who checks the books of other members and help them fill these out.

Agriculture Technician Thamsari briefing farmer’s group about how to fill the records!
Farmer members discussing about Farmer record sheet during their monthly meeting in Sotang.
Members of a farmer’s group helping each other out in filling their record book.

Our agriculture income data has become more robust, reliable and organized since we replaced the household survey method with the record sheet system. This has been working well for almost 2 years now. Our latest records show that 82% of our farmers from 9 communities are earning an average income of Nrs. 18,941 (~USD 180) by selling vegetables and spice crops! There are currently 3,465 farmers within our agriculture program.

Buddi Kumari Kulung from Gudel shows us her Farmer Record Sheet and capsicum pepper that she is growing in a sack

Now, farmers like Buddi Kumari have a clear picture of what their yearly income is from farming. Based on the data that she has written down in her record book, she can make informed choices of which crops to invest in the coming years. A tool that we developed to help us understand how effective our program was, has become an important tool in helping our farmers evolve into entrepreneurs.

Chandramani Rai from Rokhola Farmer’s Group shows us her Farmer’s Record Sheet.
Farmer Record Sheet of Chandra Kumari Rai from Rokhola Farmer’s Group.
Chandramani Rai shows us an inside page of her FRS. According to the entry for this month,  she sold banana and hot pepper and earned Nrs. 1600 (USD16).

 

Pea in a Pod

After I received the pea cultivation training last year, I was very excited. So I planted about 24 kilograms of seeds. That gave me more than 300 kilograms of peas. I earned 32,000 rupees when I sold the peas. I didn’t know this was so profitable! Now I will produce 600 kilograms next year.

– Ngima Sherpa

Chairperson of Milijuli Farmer’s Group, Beuma, Sotang

Ngima (right) with her family cleaning her pea harvest

Over the past year, we have worked with 2,500 farmers like Ngima to help them raise their family income through vegetable and spice crop production.

Ngima is not the only one to fall in love with the profitable, nutritious, and easy-to-grow peas.

Debkumari Khatri poses with her sky high pea plants.

Debkumari Khatri from Rakha invited us to her kitchen garden to show her peas that “are touching the sky and grown so much taller than her.” She sold peas worth 9000 NRs (~USD90) and hot akbare pepper worth around NRs 17000 (~USD170) last year. Inspired by this, she recently expanded her plot of peas, tomatoes, and pepper.

Over the past 3 years, we have helped farmers like Ngima and Debkumari improve their family nutrition while finding an avenue of income generation through cash crops like peas, turmeric, onions, peppers.

Since early 2017, we have also piloted the post-processing of turmeric for the first time. The Creative Herbs Cooperative in Rakha, which initially formed to help our chiraito farmers create better market linkages, led this new venture. Turmeric grown organically by farmers from Rakhabangdel, Sungdel and Dipsung was collected, dried, processed and packaged in Rakha. Some of this powder has been sold to markets in Kathmandu, while most of it was consumed within the local community and the adjacent Aiselukharka market.

Turmeric processing has been just one of the many components of our program that aims to improve the nutrition and income of our partner communities.

In the upcoming year, 721 new farmers will join our agriculture program. Keep up with our journey through our Facebook and Instagram updates.

 

“For us farmers, our farm is like our mother while the soil is like our heart. We should love it. To get something from soil, we need to love it and care for it. If your heart is damaged, you cannot function. It is just like that with soil, if we damage it we cannot get anything out of it. We need to nourish this soil with good organic fertilizers and not damage it with external chemicals. I have found out recently that urine is also quite good for soil.” Our beloved Amrit Baje (Grandpa) from Chheskam shares his wisdom with us as he tends lovingly to his vegetables. Amrit is the local craftsman who has been making income through weaving natural nettle fibres, bags and other handicrafts for a long time. Recently after being part of our farmer’s group, he has also begun to sell vegetables and spice crops. We are humbled to hear his philosophical take on our organic farming practice. Amrit is among the 800 farmers in Chheskam who we helped construct eco-san toilets that recycles urine into fertilizers. #ecosan #chheskam #kulung #solukhumbu #farming #recycle #organic #motivation

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Recycling Urine as Fertilizer!

“When my neighbors come to watch TV, they gain knowledge and fun from it. I gain fertilizer for my crop!”

– Dhiraj Rai, Youth farmer from Bung

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Dhiraj Rai, 28 from Bung is a young leader farmer in his community.

The first time Dhiraj Rai, 28, from Bung tried out urine as fertilizer, he noticed right away just how good it was for the plants. He had applied it to some of his vegetables, fruit trees and to cardamom plants as trial. He saw that they were all much better compared to when he just applied regular farm fertilizer. This convinced him of just how good urine is. Now not only he uses urine from his toilet as regular fertilizer in most of his plants, he has also started using it to make bio-pesticides and insecticides.

Dhiraj is a leader farmer in his community who returned back to the village after completing his studies.  He has a Bachelor’s degree in Science. After his studies, he had worked as a teacher in Jiko Corner High School of Faplu for 3 years. While he was shaping young minds through his teaching, he says that he began to feel like ‘everybody can preach and say things but only few can practice what they preach’. He begun to form ideas about doing something himself to inspire others. At the same time, he saw how so many young people like him left their villages to go abroad as migrant labors. He also really wanted to inspire his fellow villagers to stay in the village and do something productive. And he says he realized he needed to go back home and set an example.

So he left the teaching job and came back to his village in Saddi, Bung. He started an integrated agriculture and goat rearing farm in his home. Knowing the importance of team work, he also helped form the Dajubhai Mishrit Farmer’s Group in which he is the chairperson now. Dhiraj is most busy tending to his flock of goats, but he is also equally dedicated to growing vegetables, a slew of fruits and cardamom. From his integrated livestock and farming, he now earns around Nrs. 6 lakhs (~USD 6,000) annually.

tomatoes
Tomato in Dhiraj’s farm doing excellent after urine application

It was Dhiraj’s curious nature that led him to discover the technology of using human urine as fertilizer. While visiting neigbouring communities of Chheskam and Sotang, he often heard about urine fertilizer doing wonders in farming. When Chheskam was declared the first eco-san village in the entire nation, he then proactively sought out what eco-san village meant. He learnt that eco-san village is one where every house has an eco-san toilet. Such toilets collect urine separately and this collected urine when used in an appropriate way works as an excellent fertilizer for plants. Urine contains nitrogen which is required the most by plants for growth. He also learnt that it is not only urine of livestock that can be used in farming but that human urine is an even better fertilizer. He then started to explore about alternative methods to collect human urine besides eco-san toilets as he already had a water-seal toilet at his home. He met  Jitna Janam Rai, our Solukhumbu Program Coordinator, who has gained much expertise on eco-san technology after years of his work on several toilet projects. Jitna demonstrated to Dhiraj how it is possible to collect urine by using a simple drum and funnel setup even if one did not have a special eco-san toilet. After this, Dhiraj promptly bought drum and funnel. He built another latrine under the stairs of his house just to collect urine.

urine-collection
The simple setup that Dhiraj uses to collect urine

Every night, many young people from around the neighborhood come to his home to watch entertainment and other awareness related programs on TV. He asks them and other guests to use the ‘urine collecting’ latrine.  Even for those who feel discomforted to use this, he encourages and tells them about the importance of urine. He jokingly says that it is a fruitful business of exchange between him and his neighbors. He shows them fun and useful programs in TV while his neighbors supply him with urine which is important for his farm.

photo7
Urine mixed in water ready for use after appropriate time of decomposition.

Since using urine has proven so useful, he has now started to collect urine from his goats as well. He now regularly uses urine in many of his plants. After urine treatment, his Japanese Unsu oranges have produced healthy ripe fruits on time. His cardamom seeds have produced many more sprouts which means increased number of cardamom plants he can sell. He estimates that next year he will make around Nrs. 1.1 million(~USD11,000) just from the cardamom plants which has been doing so much better after urine use.

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Japanese oranges in Dhiraj’s farm has given ripe perfect fruits on perfect time this year, thanks to urine use.
photo1
Cardamom plants have given many more sprouts after urine was used. Altogether with increased productivity, Dhiraj estimates about 95% income increment this year.

Indeed Dhiraj has practiced rather than preaching and shown us all the immense possibility of agriculture business in rural Nepal. Though Dhiraj is not directly involved with any of our agriculture programs, he was inspired to start using urine after hearing about success of eco-san toilets that we introduced in Sotang in 2012 and in Chheskam in 2014. Dhiraj has shown way for many youths in the area just what can be achieved while still living in village.

jitna-janam-rai

       Written By Jitna Janam Rai

               Solukhumbu Program Coordinator

                dZi Foundation

Eating Better, Earning More!

For the first time in my life I sold tomatoes and earned NRs 8,000 this year. From the money, I bought myself new clothes and a new shawl. I gave away so many tomatoes and cabbages to my friends and neighbors, there’s no keeping track.

Bhagwati Pariyar
Namuna Farmer’s Group, Dipsung

dipsung farmer small

Income generation is a crucial component to our Deep Development model. Supporting health, education, and culture makes a tremendous difference in people’s lives, but providing them with a means to earn money can be truly empowering. The approach to our agriculture program is simple – we listen to farmers and to nature, and we bring the markets to the farmers’ doorstep.

1. Listen to the farmers

Each year, we plan our agriculture strategy around what the farmers want to grow and want to learn. Farmers know their soils and their communities, and they are aware of market trends. We may suggest new varieties or techniques, but all of our activities start with local demand.

2. Listen to nature

We also look at which crops are feasible for which particular micro-climate and altitude. We encourage farmers to follow organic methods of controlling pests and diseases. For some of the crops whose geographical feasibility for that particular area is unknown, we introduce them as “trial crops” in limited quantity to test their viability.

3. Bringing the market home
Our partner communities and partner farmers live in some of Nepal’s most remote communities. Markets are a long ways away – often take many days of walking to reach. Our strategy is not to bring products to market, but instead to focus on products that have enough value to bring the markets into these remote areas.
This is where the farmers come in again. They know the traders, and they know what is in high demand locally. Accordingly, we have had great success with growing durable crops like onions, hot peppers, and other spices. Medicinal plants like the herb chirito and black cardamon can increase incomes for farmers in our project areas by thousands of dollars per year – without them ever having to leave their community.
Employing these three simple mantras, we have sat down with over 2,500 farmers to create a locally driven agriculture program since the mid of 2014.
Ag Program Slide 1
Impacts
We are glad to share that in a recent evaluation, we learned 98% of farmers in our agriculture programs are consuming more vegetables, and another 65% are earning new income. Over two dozen farmers have raised their incomes by more than $2,000 USD per year – nearly three times the average annual income for Nepal.
The crops that are the most popular among majority of farmers for income purpose are red onion, ginger, turmeric, green peppers, chiraito and cardamom. All of these crops can be stored for a longer time without the danger of spoiling, and local merchants often come to the farmer’s home to buy these off because they are so much in demand. Farmers here have always grown these crops but in a very limited quantity which was barely enough for their household. We gave the farmers incentive to grow these crops in large scale by giving them training on more efficient technology, be helping them select healthy and productive seed and introducing limited subsidy for the first year.
Earning Income
Nanda Kumari Rai has started making small income through selling of onions and other vegetables. She shares happily that this new income has helped her to support in the education of her children.
Bishnu Karki  had a very successful year from his “Akbare” hot peppers in 2015. He shares with us that he added some 20 plants of his own in the 30 that we supported him in the first year and earned about NRs. 8,000 from them. “Akabare” peppers are incredibly spicy, and a very lucrative cash crop in rural Nepal.
Similarly, Manmaya and Dhan Bahadur Rai sold their first ever cabbages last year worth around Nrs. 400(~USD4). Dhan Bahadur explains jovially that he distributed much cabbages freely to his friends, neighbors and relatives too. This year, the couple are earnestly waiting to harvest their turmeric which will fetch them a few thousand rupees.

ag collage
From L to R-Nanda Devi, Bishnu and the duo of Manmaya and Dhan Bahadur

Eating Better 

Another great benefit of our agricultural programs are that farmers are eating fresh vegetables when previously such were not available locally. The women members of our farmers’ groups share that it has been especially easy for them when guests come as they do not have to fret over what to cook anymore. They just have to get to their kitchen garden where a variety of herbs, spices and vegetables can be found year round.

Before our programs started, many farmers could only eat cauliflowers, broccoli, parsley, tomato, turnip, carrot and other green vegetables when they traveled to the large cities of the southern plains or Kathmandu. Thanks to our work, these delicious and healthy crops are available right there in their doorstep, growing in their yard.

Challenges

There are also many challenges and hurdles that come our way. They are what keeps us grounded, learning, and continuously on our toes. Some of the main challenges is lack of water sources for irrigation in many places. Then there are also the issues of bio-pesticides not being enough to control many harmful pests and diseases. This is a global problem with organic agriculture but we are patiently experimenting with our farmers to develop an optimal system for pest management that relies upon local techniques and ingredients. Our farmers are scattered throughout the difficult hilly terrain and it is also a challenge for our small team to regularly make house visits and monitor their vegetable plots.

Looking Forward

In response to community demand, we have set an ambitious goal – to more than double the scope of our income generation programs – thus bringing new sources of income and better nutrition to 4,000 families in some of the poorest communities in Nepal. We will be increasing the number of our farmers group, and also expand to several other neighboring communities throughout 2016 and 2017.

You can learn more about our agriculture program in detail including the challenges in our 2015 evaluation report.

छेस्कामको शान

“किसानको शान इकोसान, इकोसान भिलेज छेस्कामको पहिचान”

 

gau
 रमणिय गाउँ छेस्कामको एक झलक

कर्णाली क्षेत्र जत्तिकै विकट सोलुखुम्बु जिल्लाको चाम्लाङ हिमाल र मेरापिक हिमालको फेदीमा अवस्थित गा.वि.स. हो छेस्काम जुन सोलु सदरमुकाम सल्लेरीबाट १८ कोष टाढा छ । प्राकृतिक सुन्दरताले भरीपुर्ण भएपनि सरकारी कार्यक्रम तथा विकासबाट दुरदराज रहनु छेस्कामको तितो यथार्थ हो । राम्रो स्वास्थ्य उपचार पाउनलाई तीन चार दिनको पैदल यात्रा गए मात्र सम्भावना रहेको र यातायातको पहुँच नपुगेको ठाँउ हो । यस गा.वि.स.मा २०५६ साल तिर झाडापखाला, हैजाले धेरै मान्छेको मृत्यु समेत भएको दर्दनाक इतिहास छँदैछ । बच्चा जन्माउन समस्या भएर उपचारमा लैजादा बाटैमा उपचार नपाएर मृत्यु भएको कैयन उदाहरण घर घरको थियो । विगत २ बर्ष अगाडीसम्म सरसफाईको क्षेत्रमा समेत त्यति प्रगति भएको थिएन । विगतका समयमा यहाँका समुदायहरु चर्पीको विकल्पमा सुँगुरको खोरमा तथा खुला ठाँउमा दिसा पिसाव गरिरहेको अवस्था थियो । वातावरण प्रदुषण भएर आउ, हैजा, झाडापखाला जस्ता रोगका कारण बालबालिकाहरु बिरामी हुनु सामान्य झैं थियो । परम्परागत कृषि प्राणाली अपनाएर समुदायहरु जिविको पार्जन गरिरहेको भेटिन्थ्यो तर आज छेस्कामले मुहार फेरेको छ । मेरो गाउँ छेस्काम जो सोलुखुम्बु कै विकट भनेर भनिन्थ्यो तर मिती २०७२ मंसिर २९ मा यो जिल्ला कै १३ औ खुला दिसा मुक्त क्षेत्र तथा नेपालकै पहिलो इकोसान भिलेज घोषणा भएको छ । हामी सबै छेस्कामवासीहरुको लागि यो दिन गर्व र खुशीको विषय हो ।

ODF
बिद्यालयको अगुवाइमा खुल्ला दिशामुक्त क्षेत्र र सरसफाइ अभियान सुरु गर्दै

 

तर यो दिनै यसै आएको भने हैन । वास्तवमै समुदायको विकास र परिवर्तन हु्न चेतना स्तरमा विकास हुन आवश्यक छ । चेतनाको विकास भए पश्चात समुदाय आफु र आफैबाट परिवर्तन गर्न सक्छन् भन्ने मैले यो दुई वर्षमा सिकें । सन् २०११ देखि छेस्काम गा.वि.स.मा जि फाउन्डेशन स्थानिय संस्था नव युग एकता विकाससंग साझेदारी  गरी कार्य क्षेत्र बनाई भित्रियो । “दिगो विकास हाम्रो प्रयास” भन्ने मुल नाराको साथमा स्वास्थ्य, शिक्षा, कृषि, आयआर्जनको क्षेत्रमा कार्यक्रम सञ्चालन गर्ने क्रममा स्थानियको माग र नवयुग एकता विकास समितिको प्रस्तावना अनुसार सन् २०१४ मा इकोसान शौचालय निर्माण परियोजनालाई प्राथमिकतामा राखि सोही अनुसार शौचालय कार्यक्रम छेस्काममा शुरु भएको थियो । इकोसान चर्पी भनेको पिसाब लाई बेग्लै  सन्कलन गरी पिसाब मलको रुपमा प्रयोग गर्न मिल्ने चर्पी हो ।

Khagendra kulung chheskam 3 final for description for social media
खगेन्द्र कुलुङको फुलैफुलले सजिएको चर्पी । अब छेस्कामको प्रत्येक घरमा यस्तै पिसाबको पुनर्प्रयोग गर्न मिल्ने इको सान चर्पी छ ।

सन् २०१४ मा छेस्काम १, २ र ६ वडामा ४०० वटा र सन् २०१५ मा ३७६ वटा गरी जम्मा ७७६ वटा इकोसान चर्पी निर्माण परियोजना सञ्चालन भयो । जसमध्ये जि फाउन्डेशनले नवयुग एकता विकास समितिमार्फत बाह्य सामाग्रीका लागि एउटा चर्पी वरावर रु १६,५२५।–सहयोग गरेको छ भने स्थानियले एउटा चर्पी बरावर रु ५७,३००।– बरावरको आफ्नो श्रमदान गरेका छन् । चर्पी निर्माण फाईदा, वालीमा पिसाव प्रयोग, बिद्यालयको अगुवाईमा पुर्ण सरसफाई अभिमुखिकरण कार्यक्रम सञ्चालन गरी समुदायको चेतना अभिबृद्धि गराईएको थियो । इकोसान भिलेजको लागि गा.वि.स.मा रहेका वाटरशिल चर्पी हुनेहरुलाई पिसावको महत्व, फाईदा र प्रयोग गर्ने बिधि वारे अभिमुखिकरण गरी पिसाव संकलन ड्रम, टिटि वल, सोली समेत वितरण गरिएको थियो । २०१५ मा सोलुखुम्बु जिल्लालाई नै खुला दिसा मुक्त क्षेत्र घोषणा गर्ने लक्ष्यलाई सार्थकता तुल्याउन स्थानिय सरोकारवालासंग समन्वयन गरी कार्यक्रम लागु गरिएको थियो ।
हाल सबै घरले चर्पी निर्माण सम्पन्न गरीे प्रयोग गरीरहेको अवस्था छ । शौचालयबाट निस्केको पिसाब ड्रमबाट संकलन गरी बालीमा पिसाव प्रयोग गरिरहेको अवस्था छ भने जि फाउन्डेशनको सहयोगमा सञ्चालित कृषि कार्यक्रम अन्तरगत एक घर एक करेसावारीमा पिसावको प्रयोगले अत्यन्तै राम्रो तरकारी उत्पादन भईरहेको छ । सरसफाई प्रर्बद्धन भएको अवस्था देखिन थालेका छन् । पर्यावरणिय तथा वातावरण सरसफाईमा चर्पी निर्माण पश्चात सकरात्मक परिवर्तन भएको छ । परिवर्तन आफैबाट शुरुवात गर्नु पर्छ भन्ने भनाईलाई सार्थकता तुल्याउदै विद्यालय सेवा क्षेत्रमा वाल ल्कवको अगुवाईमा सरसफाईमा प्रर्बद्धन तथा चर्पी निर्माण गराई पुर्ण रुपमा बिद्यालय सेवा क्षेत्रलाई खुला दिसामुक्त तथा इकोसान भिलेज घोषणा गरिएको छ ।

sarala kulung
 सरला कुलुङ र उन्को श्रीमान करेशाबारीमा पिसाब मलको प्रयोग गर्दै ।

गाँउ, टोल र समुदायमा परिवर्तन आएकोले वातावरण सफा अनि सुन्दर देखिन थालेको छ । घर घरमा इकोसान चर्पीले छुट्टै पहिचान ल्याएको छ । कृषि, स्वास्थ्य, सरसफाई, पोषण, वातावरणमा सकारात्मक परिवर्तन गरी पर्यटक प्रर्बद्धनमा समेत टेवा पुग्ने बिश्वास बढेको छ ।। छेस्काम स्वास्थ्य चौकीका अ.हे.व. नरेन्द्र कठायतकोअ नुसार चर्पी निर्माण र प्रयोग पश्चात स्वास्थ्य चौकीमा बिरामीहरु पनि कमी भएको छ । समुदायमा सुङुरको खोर र खुला ठाँउमा दिसा पिसाव गर्नु हुदैन, चर्पीको प्रयाोग गर्नु पर्छ भन्ने चेतना अभिबृद्धि भएकोछ । वातावरण सरसफाईको क्षेत्रमा जस्तै बाटोघाटो, खोल्सा खोल्सी, घर वरपर, व्यक्तिगत , घरायसी र वातावरणीय सरसफाईको क्षेत्रमा समेत समुदाय लागिपरेको देखिन्छन् । जसले गर्दा पर्यावरणिय तथा वातावरणिय सरसफाईमा सकारात्मक प्रभाव देखिन थालेको छ । फोहोर व्यवस्थापन चक्रलाई अपनाउन थालेको अवस्था छ ।

Toilet
छेस्कामको मामेर्कुका स्थानिय आफ्नो चर्पी अगाडि । पोहोर नै इको टोल र खुल्ला दिशा मुक्त भैसकेको मामेर्कुमा यहाँहरुलाई स्वागत छ ।

अहिले भन्दा सजिलो भएपनि समुदायलाई परिवर्तन गर्न र कार्यक्रम कार्यान्वयन गर्न कम चुनौति पुर्ण थिएन । विभिन्न चरणमा समुदायको चेतना अभिबृद्धि हुने खालका अभिमुखिकरण कार्यक्रम सञ्चालन गरिएको थियो । अनुगमन, मुल्याङ्कन र समुदाय परिचालनमा अत्यन्तै महत्वपुर्ण भुमिका निर्वाह गरिएको थियो । समुदायको सामाजिक परिचालक भएका नाताले र शौचालय निर्माण संगसंगै अन्य परियोजना पनि लागु भइरहेकोले आफ्नो धेरै भन्दा धेरै समय वार्ड वार्ड डुल्ने काम भएको थियो । कहिलेकाँही आफ्नो दौडधुप सम्झिदा थकान महशुस हुन्छ तर आज आफ्नो गाउँ नेपालकै नमुना भइरहेको सम्झिदा भने दौडधुपको मिठो फल पाएको झैं लाग्छ ।

bina toilet
बिना कुलुङ आफ्नो चर्पी निर्वानाधिन अवस्थामा र सम्पन्न भैसके पछी ।

खुला दिसामुक्त तथा इकोसान भिलेज भएपछि गाउँको विकासमा छुट्टैे आयाम थपिने स्थानिय सबैको विश्वास छ । हाल यहाँको समुदायमा चेतना, एकता र विकास प्रतिको मोह उच्च भएको पाएको छु र यसै प्रेरणाले छेस्काम आगामी दिनमा समुदाय विकासमा झन् लम्किने छ भन्नेमा मलाई पुर्ण विश्वास छ ।

Prashant Biswokarma

लेखक
प्रशान्त विश्वकर्मा
जि फाउन्डेशन सामाजिक परिचालक र छेस्काम बासिन्दा

 

Off we went to the Lake City!

“Good morning and Organic Namaste”

namaste

This was a new method of greeting that our team learned after coming back from a fun filled 4 days trip to Kaski District in Western Nepal.

Pokhara is a beautiful city in Kaski of West Nepal, also known as the “Lake City” since the vicinity boasts of 8 or so lakes including the picturesque Lake Phewa and Begnas Lake.

In addition to being a popular tourist destination, the surrounding villages of Pokhara are also abuzz with rural entrepreneurship. We went on a 4 day visit to some organizations from which we could learn and get new ideas for our agriculture program. In particular, we were hoping to learn from successful local agri-business leaders and to get their input on how to link the farmers we support with robust markets for their products. It was also a chance for team building and bonding.

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Our team of 16 including Kathmandu and field staffs had a busy time learning, seeing, and interacting with notable individuals and groups. Our team went to the village of Bhadaure Tamagi on the first day experiencing how a rural homestay is run. We also met with the farmer’s group there, and also learned about how these groups came together to form a Cooperative for giving an organizational shape to their collective effort.

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Our team gets a warm welcome from the Women’s Group in Bhadaure Tamagi

We also met with local entrepreneurs from the Bazaar who are promoting organic products in Pokhara. The Bazaar team works with the community of Bhadaure Tamagi in promoting organic agribusiness, and have been instrumental in starting a large organic produce market in the city.

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Vegetable plot of farmers in Bhadaure Tamagi

 

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The Bazaar’s organic fresh vegetable outlet in Pokhara

Visiting the organic farm of Suryanath Adhikari who is at the forefront of organic and local seed protection movement in Nepal was a very eye opening experience for all of us. Suryanath is one of the first organic farmers in the country, and one of the very first to commercially produce coffee.

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Suryanath Adhikari briefs us about permaculture, his farm and local seed preservation

Overall, our team came away inspired and with a number of tangible new ideas to improve our work in the field. This includes a renewed focus on helping farmers work together to collectively plant and harvest crops – thus gaining access to more distant markets. We are also going to renew our focus on improving compost and manure management as a foundation of our approach, and will focus upon open-pollinated seed varieties that will give farmers the option of saving seeds and even earning extra income through seed cultivation and sales. Going very official, these are the main things that our team says they have learned and will be working on to develop in our own field areas:

  • coordination of our existing farmer’s group with related Government agencies
  • bring all the existing farmer’s group into one common umbrella network for sharing, and marketing
  • study  the local and regional market to inform farmers about plants that are more profitable
  • focus more on improving farm yard manure, and organic fertilizer situation in our field area
  • promote local food, and preserve local seeds
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Our team with another farmer’s group in Dhikur Pokhari

Then, of course, everyone took a few days off and enjoyed ourselves as tourists.

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This is our team showing “how to block the famous site that you came to visit”!
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Some serious photography going on here
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And a bit of boating in “Lake City”

Energetic as our teams are, they even made time to visit the revered “Manakamana” temple en route to Kathmandu which is believed to grant any wish that you make.

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What did the dZi ladies wish for?

We will be wishing to implement some of the things that we learned from this wonderful trip, and hold onto the spirit that we developed after seeing so many successful agriculture enterprises. We believe that we are already onto the right track, all we need is a little more perseverance. Here is a video that explains partly what we are doing in the remote communities of East Nepal

Growing chiraito-growing incomes

“There are people who have returned from Arab countries, and who have stopped going to trekking as porters because they see that chiraito cultivation enables them to earn far more money right in their home. dZi supported seed and training have only begun to show production from 2013 so many more people are now inspired to grow chiraito. We can never save enough money with potato and maize, but now we realize that we can with Chiraito. I am one of those returned from Gulf country to try my hand at Chiraito farming in my own village.”

– Lhakpa Sherpa, local farmer & trader of Chiraito, Rakha

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Chiraito (Swertia chirayita) is an herb with medicinal properties that is endemic to the foothills of Himalayas, that grows at altitudes ranging from 1,600 to 2,500 meters. It fetches a very high value, and is in demand throughout the Asian continent as an important medicinal plant.

Wild Chiraito can be found in the forests  of our working area like the tiny hamlet of Sibdu. The locals have used this as medicine for various ailments including fevers and headaches.  About a decade ago, small tradesmen came into Sibdu looking for wild chiraito. The locals assisted these traders to harvest it from their forests during the monsoon season. Overharvesting soon led to the wild chiraito becoming extremely scarce and the income stream dried up.

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The Village of Sibdu

In 2010, dZi  collaborated with our local NGO partner Creative Porter Society (CPS) to provide 300 farmers with training on how to cultivate chirito domestically – including many from Sibdu. We also distributed a small amount of free seeds to a number of households of the area to get things started.

There was initially some skepticism from local farmers who believed that wild plants wouldn’t do well when cultivated domestically. We provided support to anyone in the communities who was willing to try. The farmers that diligently maintained their crops – including Kusang Sherpa from Sibdu – realized a very lucrative harvest when the plant became mature after three years.

After the first sale of domesticated chirito, interest amongst other farmers exploded, and Kusang earned 80,000 rupees from selling seeds alone. This amount is slightly more than the current annual per-capita income in Nepal.

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Kusang’s wife Doma hugs her mature Chiraito Plant

 

Chirito helps farmers earn hard cash that is virtually unavailable in our remote project areas, and reduces the need to take out high-interest loans to cover expenses such as food, school fees, and marriage or funeral rites.  We have also set up a local farmers’ cooperative that supports bulk sales of chirito (thus fetching higher prices) and provides savings and loan facilities to the entire community. This marks a huge step forward for economic empowerment.

The cooperative Creative Herbs Group was opened in the community of Rakha by CPS in our support to assist farmers in investing in commercial agriculture ventures such as Chiraito. Through this cooperative, now 82 farmers from Sungdel, Dipsung and Rakha have obtained certification as Chiraito farmers in the District Forest Office which will ensure that they do not have to pay yearly levy to their community forest which they are doing now. This has also increased their coalition with government offices as commercial farmers.

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We have now expanded the Chiraito training and support to all our working areas, and will have over 550 farmers involved by the end of 2014.

 

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A community member shows us her harvest of seeds, and Chiraito stalk!

 

 

Cherry Dreams

Some of our field areas, such as Sibdu village of Khotang in this photo, are suitable for Cherry Tree cultivation because of their altitude and climate.

We have introduced cherry plants from Everything Organic Nursery(EVON) in Sibdu as trial in the beginning of 2014. Farmer Chyaba Sherpa fenced his entire cherry plant as a protective measure against grazing cattle. In the background is the monastery of the village.

cherry

We are amazed by how fast the cherry plants have been growing.

Within a span of about 5 months, these plants have grown from about a foot to at least 6 foot tall. Chyaba stands besides one of his plants to give us some perspective. Chyaba tells us that his whole family including wife and children water the plant on a regular basis, pull out the weeds and take extreme care. The immense love shown by the family seems to be one reason the plants have taken so well, because normally they do not grow to this huge size in the very first year.

These plants should be giving fruits by second or third year of transplantation. We are as excited as the farmers to see how these cherries will do in the coming years.

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Update as of July 2018:

As of July 2018, the cherries have not been successful in Sibdu even though the plant itself is doing well and has grown to an impressive height. Although they started flowering in 2017, three years after they were planted, they were unable to produce fruit both this year and last year.

Chyaba’s cherry trees flower but do not fruit.

We are as disheartened as Chyaba to see that cherries might not be a successful endeavor for our working area. But despair not!

There have been other crops that have proven more successful than cherry – kiwi, snow pea, broccoli are just a few examples.

Meet the very inspiring Debkumari Khatri from Rakha.~~ “You should come visit my kitchen garden to see how high my peas have grown. They are touching the sky and grown so much taller”. She shared with all of the participants during one of our recent meetings with farmers in Rakha. She sold peas worth 9000 NRs(~USD90) and hot akbare pepper worth around NRs 17000 (~USD170) last year. Inspired by this, she has expanded her plot of peas, tomatoes and pepper this year. Scroll through to see more of her vegetable garden. Also posing besides her is our young agriculture technician Tulasa who has helped farmers like Debkumari improve their farming practices for better household nutrition and income opportunities. Also follow the link in our bio to meet more inspiring women we work with in Nepal. #farming #sustainablefarming #womenfarmers #farmer #organic

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