The Story of Improved Cook Stoves

“Our neighbors helped us carry mud required to build this improved cook stove because it’s only me and my husband here. My son lives in the city. This new stove has been a blessing for us. We can cook two food items at the same time quickly, and there is no smoke. I can see clearly what I am cooking. The pots do not get as dirty. I have been using this stove every day since I built it.”

–  Lalichandra Kulung from Chheskam

Lalichandra Kulung is satisfied with the new stove!

Lalichandra’s family is one of the 1,126 families who installed Improved Cook Stoves (ICS) in Chheskam and Gudel in early 2018. ICS are often called smokeless stoves because they make the indoor area smoke free by diverting smoke outside through a chimney. This has a significant positive impact on the health of community members, especially women and children who spend a lot of the day around the fireplace. It also uses significantly less firewood and cooks faster in comparison to traditional stoves. This has been an extremely popular program. During our survey in March 2018, more than 90% of households said they were satisfied with the program.

Our field evaluation assistant Bhalakaji speaks with elderly Dalbirata Kulung during the ICS program survey in Chheskam.

ICS have an abundance of positive impacts and community members are very happy with them. We have collected some testimonials from our community members regarding ICS use in one of our past web stories, which you can read here: “Smoke-free Stoves – Healthier Homes!”

Laptansukha Kulung and her family are very happy with their ICS!

The Improved Cook Stoves have helped reduce the drudgery and difficulty of doing something simple like cooking. As a result of the program’s popularity, our partner community Bung, which borders both Chheskam and Gudel, submitted an official proposal to start an ICS program. This is their highest priority project for the year 2018-2019. Between October 2018 and March 2019, we will be working with about 300 households in Bung to install the new stoves for the first phase of program. After that, we will be working with close to 500 additional houses so that the majority of households in Bung will be indoor smoke free.

A community member and students studying an ICS informational flyer in Bung.

In a short amount of time, ICS has become one of our major programs even though it was a remote idea for us as recently as 2016. In April 2016, we brought some of our supporters to our field area to show them our projects. During this trip, we had a meeting with one of our local NGO partners and community members to facilitate a direct interaction between community members and donors.

At that meeting, a few community members expressed that they wanted to build smokeless stoves in their homes. We didn’t have the technical expertise to build an ICS. Our partner communities had never expressed this desire to us before. It was a new idea for us, and certainly one we wanted to explore. As we continued to pursue this with our partner communities, we discovered that the people of Chheskam and Gudel were really interested in ICS. Many of them had heard about the benefits of these stoves on the radio or had seen them when they traveled to other villages. This same donor group who visited our working area also raised funds after their visit to Nepal as a “trekking party fund”. They were eager to let us pilot the ICS program with this fund.

The donor visit in April 2016 that inspired Improved Cook Stove Program.

For months we collected information, conducted research, had many discussions with our partner communities, and coordinated with multiple organizations with technical expertise before we finally came up with a plan for our ICS program. At the beginning of 2017 we started our pilot program. This involved training 54 community members from Chheskam and Gudel on how to build ICS. After their training, they became ‘stove masters’. They built ICS in their own homes and we monitored the stoves for a few months to see how they would perform.

The ICS in the stove masters’ homes were a success. Many others became extremely interested in building these stoves when they saw how well they worked in their neighbors’ homes. At the end of 2017, we launched our full ICS program. Now, a year later, 1126 houses (about 70% of all households) in these two communities have built and are using ICS.

Community members in Chheskam and Gudel with their Improved Cook Stoves!

We are forever grateful to our supporters from Vitol who not only inspired us to pursue the ICS program, but have also been one of our main supporters for this entire endeavor. We are proud to be partners with such visionary communities who not only have an idea about how they can prosper, but who are also working hard toward the actualization of these ideas.

Keep up-to-date with all of our Nepal program progress by following our social media – Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. You can also subscribe to our monthly newsletter by emailing us at info@dzi.org

Smoke-free Stoves – Healthier Homes!

“These new improved cook stoves are really good for us women because we stay inside cooking for long hours. When there is no smoke in the kitchen, it is very good for our health. They also consume less firewood so they save our forests too.”

– Narita Rai, Chheskam

Narita, one of our stove masters from Chheskam, in front of her new Improved Cook Stove!

Improved Cook Stoves (ICS) is our newest program in Nepal. Like all of our projects, we started it after the community showed a lot of interest in adopting a new stove design. In 2017, after communities from Gudel and Chheskam repeatedly requested support to build smokeless indoor stoves, we launched a small pilot ICS program to determine its feasibility. We trained 40 people mostly women from these two communities to make these stoves and they became stove masters for their neighborhood. They first built stoves in their own homes following the training and used them for several months.

Traditional open fireplaces drastically impact public health across Nepal. Constant exposure to smoke can cause lung and eye disease, low fuel efficiency from cooking over an open fire leads to rapid deforestation, and kitchens require constant cleaning from excessive smoke and soot buildup.

Constant exposure to smoke from traditional open fireplaces like this one in Lidhunga drastically impact health, with women and children being the most affected.
Improved Cook Stoves use less firewood than traditional stoves, easing the burden for many community members.

 

The stove masters all had a positive experience using the new stoves for several months. They report that there is far less smoke in their homes, they have noticeably fewer headaches and eye pain, and their kitchens are much cleaner. Narita and others were also excited that the stoves use much less firewood while cooking food faster than traditional designs. They shared that it was also easier for their children to read during meal time since they no longer have to cook in the home’s common room. Community members showed growing interest in the ICS program during the pilot phase, especially after observing the new stoves in use in their neighbors’ homes.

 

 

Stove master training during the pilot ICS program.

At the end of 2017, we formally partnered with the communities of Gudel and Chheskam to help them transition to indoor Smoke-Free Villages. As part of this program, we will support the construction of 400 new ICS in Chheskam and 800 in Gudel by the middle of 2018. Our local stove masters will build all of these stoves, providing them with much needed income for a period of time.

A local stove master at work!
A stove master in Gudel in front of her new stove!
The ICS design that we adopted is based on a popular government design, which dZi technicians modified slightly to best suit our project areas.  It uses almost exclusively local materials, such as mud, sugar, and jute. The iron fire gate is simple enough that local blacksmiths can make it.

Since learning how to build her new stove, Narita – one of our stove masters from Chheskam – has helped 15 neighbors build their own. Stove masters like Narita are currently leading their community’s transition to using safer stoves, while also earning income to support themselves and their families.

With this simple intervention, Narita and her children are saving time, earning more income, and living healthier lives. One unexpected benefit remains – now that Narita can cook a hot breakfast for her children faster than she could with her traditional stove, her children can more easily make it to school on time!

We are excited to see this program unfold. Keep following us on Instagram and Facebook to see how this indoor smoke-free initiative will impact our community members in the months to come!

A young stove master in Gudel demonstrating how to use her ICS. Photo by Abiral Rai.

Water Means the World to Nepal’s Remote Communities.

Nepal has some of the most plentiful water resources on the planet, with the watersheds flowing south from the massive Himalayan chain supporting far over a billion people. Ironically, many settlements on Nepal’s remote hillsides suffer greatly for lack of clean drinking water sources. As Nepal’s population has grown, people have migrated and settled in more remote and dryer locations.

 

Villages in mountainous side of Nepal are often perched high above in ridges

The lack of a clean water source can have a profound impact upon the health and prosperity of a community. Hours are spent daily by women and children fetching water, basic hygiene practices such as hand washing laundry becomes difficult or impossible, and drinking from stagnant or dirty water sources greatly increases incidence of water-borne diseases.

For these reasons, we frequently receive requests from our community partners to construct gravity-fed water systems that bring clean water downhill from clean spring sources – sometimes many miles away. The engineering for these projects is simple in theory, but can be quite complex in practice. dZi provide technical engineering and financial support, while community members contribute large amounts of local labor for the construction and long-term maintenance of the projects.

Over the past year, we completed four new drinking water systems that have brought clean water to over 100 households, and over 500 people, for the first time. This current year, we have six more projects in the pipeline, with construction set to begin as soon as the monsoon rains end.

When we found 15 years old Nahemiya Rai from Fataksi village washing vegetables at a brand new water tap, we asked her if the water project had helped her in any way. This Grade 9 student told us that her life has been much easier after the drinking water system was completed in her village. Last year, before the system was installed, she had to spend hours each day fetching water from a distant spring. Livestock, birds, and other animals also drank water from the same open source. She was repulsed by how dirty the water was – but her family had no other choice.

Nahemiya Rai washing vegetables in one of the new taps built in her village.

Nahemiya recalls how her 3 year old baby sister had fallen ill with diarrhea. She was also often late for school after fetching water for the family in the mornings. Just getting to school for Nahemiya involved walking for ninety minutes each way, and she would often stop on the way to wash her hands and face because there wasn’t enough water at home. Washing her clothes – including her school uniforms – was also almost impossible.  “Now everything has changed, I can go to school on time, I can clean and wash myself whenever I like. And I can devote so much more time to my studies” she says.

Nahemiya and her family using the local tap in a number of ways.

We also met up with Rupdhani Rai — Nahemiya’s 87 year-old neighbor. She was busy cleaning her young grandson at the tap.  Rupdhani says that before this drinking water project, people in her village had to wake up very early in the morning to go fetch water from a spring which took at least a half hour to reach. If she arrived too late in the morning, after everyone else had already lined up, she would return home empty handed or, worse yet, be forced to fill her containers with silty and filthy water at the bottom of the puddle.  But now, with the new water project, things have changed for the better. Rupdhani says that in her old age, she has been able to use as much water as she wants along with her grandchildren. The new tap has empowered her, in her golden years, to provide for herself and her grandchildren — to stay clean without having to worry about making it to the water source early enough every morning.

Rupdhani with her grandson

 

The story repeats in the villages of  Hurlam and Thulu where we also completed projects last year. When we were visiting Hurlam to monitor the progress on the new water system, we met Mani Tamang on the banks of the Rog River – almost an hour’s walk away from her village. She was carrying a backpack in which she had brought some midday snacks and some dirty clothes – as finishing her washing took so long, that she needed to bring along her own food.

Mani Tamang with her backpack of food and dirty clothes

Mani then would make her way back to her home in Hurlam, a rigorous one hour uphill climb for her.

Before the water project, Mani had to make the rigorous one-hour climb up and down this steep trail just to fetch water.

Now Mani no longer has to go through this ordeal as a tap stand has been constructed right alongside her home.

Dhanmaya Tamang, a resident of Thulu, some 2 hours walk away from Hurlam also shared her thoughts on the new water system in her village. Although the water source in Thulu was only a twenty minute walk away from the village, it was extremely filthy and Dhanmaya often found dead bugs and animals in the water source.  Again, lacking any other options, the community was forced to use this obviously unsanitary water source.  It was bad enough that when guests from other villages came to visit, they would refrain from eating and drinking the local water for fear of getting sick themselves. Now, Dhanmaya has clean and healthy water piped from a protected spring at her doorstep.

To ensure that the water remains this way, Dhanmaya  and her community have formed a user group and each household pays a small amount monthly into a maintenance fund. They also get together to periodically clean the cement tanks and to maintain the system. With help from dZi, the community has also registered the water source and water system with the local Government – thus making the system part of the local infrastructure, and eligible for Government funds to maintain and repair. All dZi projects follow this model for sustainability.

Dhanamaya Tamang from Thulu fills her water vessel from the new tap.

 

An earlier photo from Thulu where 12 year old Radhika Tamang showed us where she fills her household water, along with close up of the source she showed us.
10 year old Manika Tamang from Thulu washes her school uniform in the new tap.
Mani and her neighbor crushing stones to make gravel required for the water tanks. This was part of their voluntary labor contribution for the project.
We make sure to involve the community in each process of the project. Here, our local NGO partner member is explaining budget details through a public audit banner in Hurlam.

We hope you’ve appreciated the stories of how something as simple as water can make such a tremendous difference in people’s lives. To learn even more about our drinking water projects, please also read our webstory “Bringing Home the Mountain Water” about the Nimchola Drinking Water Project that we constructed in 2013.

If you would like to support drinking water projects, or any of the other myriad ways in which we help Nepal’s most remote communities achieve a lasting change –  please visit www.dZi.org/donate

 

 

 

 

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

 

Bringing home the mountain water

“Old as I am, I am still so active and agile, because I drink water directly from the mountains. Our new drinking water tap has its source right beneath mountains, so I thank dZi so much for making it possible for me to have clean fresh water right in my home.”

old-lady

Nimchola is a small Sherpa village in Gudel VDC of Solukhumbu with just 24 households. It is one of the most remote settlements in the entire district – at least two, if not three, long days of walking from the nearest road. Nimchola is tucked onto a steep slope and surrounded by dense forests that run all the way up to the Makalu Barun National Park.

dZi helped our local NGO partner in Gudel construct over 800 toilets in the entire village of Gudel – including Nimchola. This allowed Gudel to become the first ‘open defecation free’ community in the entire district – a tremendous accomplishment for an area recognized as being one of the most remote and under developed.

After the Toilet Project, the community of Nimchola requested a drinking water scheme as they had dire need of drinking water. Local residents had been forced to walk for up to an hour and a half to gather water from often-dirty sources. One of the local residents related to us that “his daughters wept as they were sent to fetch water because it was so far, and their bodies would ache while carrying heavy loads of water.” In Nimchola, like many small villages in Nepal, the men primarily migrate away in search of temporary work. Here, most of the men work as porters and guides on treks in the Everest region. Accordingly, it was the women, children and young girls who were burdened with difficult household chores including fetching water.

The village of Nimchola
The village of Nimchola

Also, many households living in downstream were forced to consume polluted water as the people upstream would wash clothes, utensils and until sometimes ago defecate in the water source. This problem of water pollution led to many conflicts, and created schisms within the community. During dry months when the streams dried up, people had to depend upon water from stagnant wells (kuwa) which are dirty, and full of germs.

Because water was so scarce, people hardly used the water for any other purpose besides cooking and drinking. Bathing, use in toilets, or in vegetables was unthinkable. Without proper access to water – toilets are nearly impossible to maintain and keep clean.

Communities as small as Nimchola are nearly always overlooked by Government or NGO sources on account of their remoteness and small size. But this is exactly why their request for drinking water appealed to us at dZi. Our unique approach to development where we devise projects by collaborating with the community to match their needs has made seemingly unfeasible projects like this possible throughout our years of working in Nepal.

The Village of Nimchola is right beneath the Himalayan Range
The Village of Nimchola is right beneath the Himalayan Range

When dZi approved of this project in 2013, the community was more than willing to share their part of labor contribution. Of the total project cost, the community contributed 33% with their labor which is worth  approximately  $8,700. This ended up being a total of 1725 days of labor contributed by the community – most of which involved the hard labor of transporting supplies and burying drinking water pipe – a tremendous feat for a community of only 24 houses.

Given that the community members of such villages are typically very busy with farm and household work from dusk till dawn, this contribution shows the immense willingness of people to make the project a success. As the chairperson of the construction committee Sange Sherpa shared, “Because dZi provided supplies and hardware that we could not afford, our people are only too happy to contribute labor.”

Each house contributed about 70 days of labor
Each house contributed about 70 days of labor

Our high engineering standards required that the water pipeline be buried deep in the ground to avoid damage by livestock or landslides. This required an amazing amount of work, which the community expressed time and time again that they were happy to give. Communities like Nimchola may be cash-poor, but they have ample motivation, resilience and strength.

Now every house has a tap with water that flows 24/7
Now every house has a tap with water that flows 24/7

In our project impact evaluation, 70% of the community members reported a dramatic increase in their daily water usage after this project. Specifically, women reported that water accessibility has been very beneficial to schoolchildren who can now bathe regularly and wash their clothes – whereas earlier they were forced to attend school in dirty attire.

 

Now that the water is available regularly at each household, people have started to raise cattle near their homes, grow vegetables in kitchen gardens and to use it in their toilets. Mothers reported that their kids who earlier spent all their time fetching water now has time to study in the free time.

girl

To ensure the long-term sustainability of the project, everyone in Nimchola has contributed to a trust fund where each household donates Rs. 500 per month for maintenance and repair. They are also in the process of registering the water source with the Government thus ensuring full water rights, and access to Government funds to maintain the system well into the future.

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Update as of July 2015

The water user’s group here have successfully registered themselves with the Government of Nepal. This will mean that if any large damage occurs to the project, they will be eligible to get repair and reconstruction funds from the Government directly.