In memory of Raj Dai सम्झनामा राज दाई

Raj Dai

नेपाली समवेदनाका लागि तल जानुहोला ।

We write this with the heaviest heart. We recently, and unexpectedly, lost a dear colleague of ours – Raj Bahadur Rai. Raj Bahadur was our Civil Technician, and had worked with us for 7 years –  4 years as a consultant and then the other 3 as a full time employee. He was responsible for all of our locally appropriate designs in our infrastructure projects, and was the brains and the vision behind all of our earthquake safe schools. It was on his suggestion during his first days with dZi that we decided to retrofit all of our previously built schools and community buildings. Before that, we used local masons and local technicians for all our building construction. Rajbahadur taught us that latest technology of earthquake safety could be embedded well with rural designs of stone and mud building too. He has been responsible for bringing innovative, cost affordable technology in all of our construction projects and to create a culture of learning and growing and always striving to do better. Be it the child friendly water taps and furniture in the local schools or the Multiple Use of Water (MUS) system, all of our projects were more efficient and locally appropriate due to Raj’s  engineering genius and his unique insight into local context.

Raj was more than just an engineer though. He was highly passionate about rural agriculture and associated technologies. He was responsible for designing and installing solar dryers in our partner communities. He served as a technical consultant for the agriculture program even though it was not under his organizational job duties. Raj had many quirky and useful inventions such as modified solar lamps, and improved cook stoves which he would share with local community members as a personal outreach without any prompting from the organization. We cannot count how many times he has been a free personal consultant technician while community members have been building their new homes, cattle sheds, kitchens, or any other design related work. As he was visiting from one partner community to next, people would be waiting for him to counsel on a variety of their personal design issues and sometimes even for personal crisis and philosophical musings.

What we will remember Raj most for is his outlook to life and his philosophy of living. He was the most kind, compassionate, thoughtful and wise person that most of us has ever known. A soft spoken person who spoke slowly and only when he thought speech was required, people often mistook his quiet nature as nonchalance. But he was the most caring and attentive person around. Even though he never made noises or drew attention towards himself, he was deeply aware and sensitive towards others. He was a mentor for most of our team members here in Nepal, and was always ready to listen to any and all life crises that we might be facing. His wise anecdotes and past life experiences often helped us put things into perspective. He was always encouraging us to think beyond just the regular grind, and to lead a meaningful life. He was deeply concerned about the natural environment around us, and despite living in the urban outskirts of Kathmandu, he reared animals, grew all kinds of vegetables organically and recycled almost everything to support his urban farm. This was just one example of how truly devoted he was to minimizing his impact upon the environment. He walked most of the distance between his home and our Kathmandu office every day – which took nearly an hour. He personified the adage “Simple Living, High Thinking” more than anyone else we know.

We are still grappling with the loss of Raj. We feel it every minute emotionally and even stronger when we are often clueless about how to drive our projects forward. We know that we will find other technicians to fill the post, but we can never find another Raj.

Someone with such a holistic perspective, so deeply attuned to the need of rural communities, so concerned with ethics informing designs – and not the other way around, yet still able to  fill a room with laughter from dozens of quiet stories, who is as empathetic as he is knowledgeable is impossible to replace. Raj will live forever in our hearts, and in the many structures, inventions and philosophies that he has so lovingly and thoughtfully created in so many communities. And within ourselves.

Raj is survived by a wife and two children.

Some farewell words from some of our team members

For the love of Science, technology, philosophy and community work, Raj Bahadur Dai (big brother) will be in my memory as long as I live.

– Rupak Maharjan, Program Officer

Raj dai had that extraordinary combination of a sharp intellect and engineering skill while being able to relate directly to people in communities. He really believed that the village life was superior, and emulated this in his life. This was his genius, and crucially important for Nepal.

I remember when he impressed an American reporter (Abe) for Bloomberg news by comparing not curing concrete properly to “having a baby and leaving it on a rock.” His humor was something that we all appreciated and I miss his laughter immensely.

– Ben Ayers, Executive Director

I first met Raj dai in 2012 when I was a college student. I traveled out to Nahima for several weeks to learn more about the school, and Raj dai was working there at the time. I don’t remember talking to him too much there, but I do remember his massive smile.

Fast forward more than 4 years later and I join the dZi team in Nepal for a few months. One of the first days we were all eating lunch and I hadn’t really spoken much to Raj dai yet. Someone was introducing me to the team and he said something that I didn’t understand. When I asked someone to translate it they said he told me: “I remember you from Nahima, but your face was much fatter then.” Everyone started laughing – it was so true! My mukh was much more moto then. It was the perfect Raj dai welcome to dZi. Raj dai saw the world in a very special and genuine way, and though I couldn’t always understand what he was saying, I always knew it was from the heart. And he always made me laugh. He was one of the most thoughtful and caring people I know and I will miss him greatly.

– Julia Van Raalte, Development Coordinator

I’m a forgetful person. Maybe I will forget the gifts I receive, the pains that I’ve endured, the successes I’ve gained. As I run along in this crazy race of life I might forget the emotional, intellectual, mental and physical support that have been bestowed on me. But as long as this forgetful person should live, I will always remember you. Even if not every day of the year, I will remember you on April 30 for sure. A portion of the cake that I will cut on my birthday will always be yours. Happy Birthday Raj dai.

– Jhanak Karki, Logistics Officer (Jhanak shares his birthday with Raj on April 30. He wrote this eulogy on his birthday)

Raj dai felt most happy when he could get to work in development of remote corners where not even the shadow of an airplane passed by and when he was advocating for agriculture. His wish was that even when he was gone, the skills that he imparted would live forever and that dZi remained working. We will try our best to fulfill your wish dai.

– Jitna Janam Rai, Solukhumbu District Program Coordinator

I never though that the moments I spent with Raj dai laughing and dancing during our picnic would be the last time I would see him. The moments of laughter turned into tears so soon. His sound advices and counsel was most valuable for both my organizational work and personal life. We two would often envision a retired life somewhere in the plains of Nepal. It is so hard to accept that he just left us like that. Now all we have left of him are memories and photos. I still feel tears when I see his photos. Farewell Raj dai.

-Gyan Bahadur Bhattarai, Khotang Program Coordinator

Raj dai we argued on an almost daily basis. It was not because we were polar opposite. It was because our philosophy was so much similar. I felt the easiest while confiding in you because I knew you would understand what I was getting at. It was only the side benefit that I got to tease you so much through the veil of argument. Thank you for the cake fight.  I hope that you are now residing in higher purer places – the type of place that you always longed to be in. I will miss you forever.

– Heema Rai, Evaluation & Outreach Officer

हार्दिक समवेदना राज दाई

यी समवेदनाका शब्दहरु लेखिरहँदा हामी एकदमै दुखित र भावविह्लल छौं । हाम्रा प्यारा सहकर्मी राजबहादुर राई  ४७ बर्ष को अल्पायुमा यस संसारबाट बिदा लिनु भएको करिब २ महिना भएको छ । हाम्रो प्रमुख प्राविधिक भएर राज दाई ले जि फाउण्डेशनमा काम गर्नुभएको ७ वर्ष भएको थियो जसमा पहिलो ४ वर्ष परामर्शदाताको रुपमा र पछिल्लो ३ वर्ष पुर्णकालिन कर्मचारीका रुपमा रहनु भएको थियो । हाम्रा सबै निर्माण परियोजनाहरुमा स्थानिय वातावरण सुहाउँदो प्रविधि लागु गर्नमा वहाँको नै हात रहेको छ । हामीले निर्माण गर्ने भुकम्प प्रतिरोधी विद्यालय तथा अन्य संरचनाहरुको योजनाकार र इन्जिनियर पनि वहाँ नै हुनुहुन्छ । राज दाई जि मा आवद्ध हुने वित्तिकै पहिलो सुधार भनेको हामीले विगतमा स्थानिय कर्मी मात्रै प्रयोग गरेर बनाइएका सबै भवनहरु भुकम्प सुरक्षित बनाउनका लागि रेट्रोफिट गरिएको थियो । राज दाई जि मा आउनु अगावै स्थानिय ज्ञान नै प्रशस्त हुन्छ भनेर हामीले हाम्रो निर्माण परियोजनाहरुमा भुकम्प सुरक्षा कै लागि केही विशेष प्रविधि प्रयोग गरेका थिएनौं । यस्तो प्रविधि खर्चिलो र हाम्रो कार्यक्षेत्र जस्तो विकट ठाउँमा अवलम्बन गर्न पनि सकिंदैन होला भन्ने हाम्रो भ्रमलाई पुर्णतयाः चिरेर राज दाईले गाउँघर मै बन्ने ढुंगा माटोको भवनमा पनि थोरै खर्चमा भुकम्प प्रतिरोधी प्रविधी हाल्न सकिने कुरा देखाइदिनु भएको थियो । त्यसै अनुसार गत केही वर्ष देखि हाम्रा सबै भवनहरु पुर्ण रुपमा भुकम्प सुरक्षित रहदैं आएका छन् । यति मात्रै नभएर हाम्रो सबै निर्माण परियोजनाहरुमा नौलो, कम खर्चिलो तर धेरै प्रभावकारी प्रविधीहरु पनि वहाँ कै निर्देशनमा शुरु भएको थियो । हाम्रो कार्यक्षेत्रहरुमा बाल सुलभ खानेपानी धाराहरु, कम खर्चिलो तर बाल मैत्री फर्निचरहरु, पानीको बहुउपयोगको प्रविधी यिनीहरु सबै राज बहादुर कै प्राविधिक ज्ञान र ग्रामिण भेगको गहिरो बुझाई बाट शुरु भएका थिए ।

तर राज दाईको परिधी प्राविधिकभन्दा धेरै फराकिलो थियो । कृषि खासगरी ग्रामिण कृषि र त्यो संग सम्बन्धित प्रविधीहरुमा पनि राज दाईको गहिरो लगाव थियो । यही लगावका कारण वहाँ हाम्रो कृषि कार्यक्रमको पनि अनौपचारिक सल्लाहकार झैं हुनुहुन्थ्यो । खोटाङमा हाम्रो साझेदारी संस्थाले शुरु गरेको बेसार प्रशोधनका लागि पनि वहाँले नै सोलार ड्रायरहरु डिजाइन गरि निर्माण गर्ने सिप सिकाउनु भएको थियो ।

कृषि र भौतिक निर्माणका बाहेक पनि वहाँ व्यक्तिगत रुपमा नै पनि केही न केही नौलो कुराहरु बनाइरहनु हुन्थ्यो । सौर्य बत्तीहरु, सुधारिएको चुलाहरु, सुधारिएको रक्सी पकाउने यन्त्र जस्ता वहाँका किफायती आविष्कारहरु हाम्रो समुदाय सदस्यहरुले मात्रै नभएर जि कै अन्य कर्मचारीले पनि धेरै नै प्रयोग गर्ने मौका पाएका छौं । संस्थागत कुनै दायितव नभए पनि गाउँमा रहँदा यस्ता धेरै प्रविधिका कुराहरु वहाँ गाउँलेहरुलाई विना कुनै स्वार्थ विशुद्ध सेवाभावले सिकाउनुहुन्थ्यो । समुदाय सदस्यहरुले नयाँ घर बनाउँदा होस् वा नयाँ गोठ, भान्सा होस् वा अन्य केही सामान्य निर्माणका कुराहरु होस् राज दाईले आफ्नो बहुमुल्य प्राविधिक दृष्टिकोण र सल्लाह दिएर मद्धत गर्नु भएको घटनाहरु अनगिन्ती छन् । कामका सिलसिलामा एक ग्रामिण समुदायबाट अर्को समुदाय घुम्दा वहाँलाई पर्खिने मान्छेहरु धेरै हुन्थे कहिले आफ्नो व्यक्तिगत निर्माण कार्यका लागि त कहिल व्यक्तिगत समस्यामा वहाँको सल्लाह लिन मात्रै पनि ।

राज दाईको असाधारण व्यक्तित्वमा हामीले सबैभन्दा धेरै वहाँलाई सम्झना गर्नुपर्ने वहाँको प्राविधिक पाटो नभएर दार्शनिक पाटो हो । वहाँले जिवनलाई जसरी बुझ्नु भएको थियो र जसरी हामीलाई जिवन भनेको सार्थक बनाउन कोशिस गर्नुपर्छ भनेर दिइरहने उपदेश नै हामी सबैलाई सबै भन्दा बढी सम्झना रहनेछ । हामीले चिनेको मध्ये शायद सबै भन्दा दयालु, उदार, बुद्धिमान र शालिन व्यक्ति राज दाई नै हुन् । सानो स्वरमा शान्त भएर ढिला बोल्ने राज दाई बोलीको आवश्यक पर्दा मात्रै बोल्नुहुन्थ्यो । अन्तर्मुखी जस्तो लाग्ने वहाँको स्वभावका कारण कतिपय व्यक्तिहरु पहिलो भेटमा वहाँलाई घमण्डी भनेर पनि झुक्किन्थे । तर त्यसको ठिक उल्टो वहाँ  विनयशिल र नम्र हुनुहुन्थ्यो । अरुहरुको धेरै नै स्याहार संभार गर्ने र माया गर्ने स्वभाव थियो वहाँको । कसैलाई केही समस्या परेमा आफ्नै जस्तो गरि सहयोग गर्न खोज्ने र विभिन्न ज्ञानगुनका कुराहरु बाँडी हतोत्साहित व्यक्तिलाई पनि फुल्याउन सक्ने क्षमता थियो वहाँमा । त्यसै कारण धेरै अन्य सहकर्मीका लागि वहाँ एउटा अभिभावक झैं हुनुहुन्थ्यो । हामी सबैलाई हरदम दैनिक उठबस भन्दा पर जिवनको औचित्य हुने गरी बाँच्नका लागि प्रेरणा दिइरहनुहुन्थ्यो । र यो प्रेरणा फगत बोलीमा नभएर वहाँ आफैले व्यवहारमा अभ्यास गरेर दिइरहनु भएको थियो । काठमाण्डुमा वहाँको बसाइ बाहिर वस्ती पातलो भएको ठाउँमा बनाउनु भएको थियो जहाँ वहाँले प्रांगरिक तरिकाले खेतीकिसानी गरि दैनिक उपभोग गर्ने  तरकारी सबै आफै उत्पादन गर्नुहुन्थ्यो । शहरमा बसेपनि गाउँ जस्तैं सुंगुर कुखुरा पालेर बस्नुभएको थियो । हरेक कुराहरु पुनप्र्रयोग गर्ने र केही पनि नफाल्ने, आफ्नो दैनिक जागिरे जिवन भएपनि तरकारी उत्पादन गरेर घरायसी खपत मात्रै हैन विक्री समेत गर्नुहुन्थ्यो । वहाँको बासस्थानबाट काठमाण्डु कार्यालय करिब आउन मात्रै एक घण्टा लाग्थ्यो तर वहाँ गाडी चढ्ने भन्दा पनि प्राय हिंडेर नै ओहोरदोहोर गर्नुहुन्थ्यो । कतिपय बेला कार्यालयमा पाक्ने तरकारी वहाँकै बारीबाट आउने भएकाले दुई हातमा गरुह्ङो झोला बोकेर पनि कार्यालय आइरहनुहुन्थ्यो राज दाई कुनै झन्झट नमानी । ‘सादा जिवन उच्च विचार’को कोही प्रतिक हुनुहुन्छ भने शायद राज दाई नै हुनुहुन्थ्यो होला ।

राज दाईले हामीलाई छोडेर जानुभएको कुरामा अझै पनि अविश्वास लागिरहन्छ । भावनात्मक रुपमा पलपल पिडा भइ नै रहन्छ । वहाँको सम्झना त झन् त्यति खेर टड्कारो हुन्छ जब हाम्रो दैनिक कार्यालयका कामहरुमा हामी कसरी अघि बढ्ने भनेर शुन्य हुन्छौं । हाम्रा हरेक उल्झनहरुमा राज दाईले गाँठो फुकाइदिने गर्नुहुन्थ्यो । अब राज दाई हामी माझ नहुँदा हरेक मोडमा हामी वहाँलाई धेरै सम्झन्छौं । वहाँको पदपुर्तिका लागि हामीले अन्य सहकर्मी त पाउनेछौं तर वहाँ जस्तो विशिष्ट दृष्टिकोण भएको, ग्रामिण समुदायको सेवामा समर्पण भएको, परियोजनाको डिजाइन मात्रै नभएर नैतिकतामा पनि उत्तिकै महत्व दिने, घण्टौ पनि कथा र टुक्काबाट सबैलाई हसाइ हसाइ काम लगाउन सक्ने र जति प्राविधिक सिप छ उति नै भावनात्मक गहिराई पनि भएको व्यक्ति भने अब शायद नै हामीले पाउँछौं । राज दाई यस संसारमा नरहनु भए पनि हाम्रो मनमा भने सदा बस्नुहुनेछ । अनि वहाँ बस्नुहुनेछ सदा सदाका लागि वहाँका निर्माणहरुमा, भवन र खानेपानीहरुमा, गोठ र भान्साहरुमा जुन वहाँले मेहेनत र लगावका साथ बनाउनु भएको छ नेपालको कुना कन्दराका वस्तीहरुमा ।

राज दाईलाई केही बिदाइका शब्दहरु

जबसम्म म बाँच्नेछु राज दाईलाई वहाँको विज्ञान, प्रविधी, दर्शन र सामुदायिक कामप्रतिको मायाका लागि सदा सदा सम्झिरहनेछु ।

– रुपक महर्जन, कार्यक्रम अधिकृत

राज दाईको असाधारण कुरा भनेको तिव्र बुद्धि, इन्जिनियरिङ सिप र समुदायका मानिसलाई गहिराईबाट बुझ्ने तिनवटै प्रतिभाको संगम थियो । ग्रामिण जिवन सर्वश्रेष्ठ छ भन्ने वहाँको विश्वास थियो र यही विश्वासलाई आफ्नो जिवनमा पनि उतार्नु भएको थियो । यो सिद्धान्त नै वहाँको सबैभन्दा ठुलो बुद्धिमानी हो र यो नै नेपालको लागि पनि महत्वपुर्ण छ । मलाई सम्झना छ एकचोटि वहाँले एक अमेरिकन पत्रकारलाई चकित तुल्याउनु भएको थियो जब वहाँले ढलान गरिसकेपछि सिमेन्टमा सही क्युरिङ नगर्नुलाई नानी जन्माउने अनि ढुंडामा सुताउने भन्ने उदाहरण दिनुभएको थियो । यो वहाँको ठट्टा पनि थियो र सही पनि थियो । वहाँको हसाउँने शैली एकदमै भिन्न र विशेष थियो । वहाँको हाँसोलाई सबै भन्दा धेरै सम्झिरहनेछु ।

– बेन एयर्स, कार्यकारी निर्देशक

राज दाईलाई मैले पहिलो चोटि २०१२ मा म विद्यार्थी हुँदै भेटेको थिएँ । वहाँ कार्यरत कृषि फार्म नाहिमाको बारेमा थप जान्नका लागि म त्यहाँ केही हप्ताका लागि बसेको थिएँ । वहाँ धेरै बोलेको सम्झना नभए पनि वहाँको मुस्कान भने मैले याद गरेको थिएँ । त्यस भेटको ४ वर्ष पछि मैले जि फाउण्डेशनको टिममा केही महिना नेपालमा काम गर्ने मौका पाएँ । त्यहाँ शुरुको केही दिनमा राज दाईसंग त्यति बोल्ने मौका मिलेको थिएन । हामी दिउँसोको खाना खाँदै थियौं र मलाई अरु पनि कर्मचारीको परिचय दिइदैं थियो । राज दाईको पनि परिचय दिइयो तर वहाँले विस्तारै बोलेको कारण के भनेको मैले बुझिनँ । अर्कोसाथीले अंग्रेजीमा उल्था गर्दा वहाँले मलाई जिस्काउँदै तिमी नाहिमा आएको मलाई याद छ तर त्यतिखेर तिम्रो अनुहार धेरै मोटो थियो भन्नुभएको रहेछ । अनि हामी सबै हाँस्न थाल्यौं । र यो सत्य पनि थियो किनभने त्यो बेला मेरो गाला धेरै ठुलो थियो । हँसाएर अनि जिस्काएर दाईले मलाई स्वागत गर्नुभएको थियो । दाइको संसारलाई हेर्ने दृष्टिकोण एकदमै विशेष थियो यद्यपि वहाँले के के भन्नुहुन्थ्यो मैले सधैं बुभ्दिनथिएँ । तर मलाई थाहा छ जे भन्नुहुन्थ्यो मनबाट भन्नुहुन्थ्यो । अनि वहाँ जहिले पनि मलाई हँसाइरहनुहुन्थ्यो । मैले चिनेको मध्ये सबैभन्दा बुद्धिमान र दयालु मानिस राज दाई नै हुनुहुन्छ जस्तो लाग्छ र म वहाँलाई सदा सम्झिरहनेछु ।

– जुलिया भान राल्टे, विकास संयोजक

म भुलक्कड हुँ । सायद संसारमा मैले पाएका कुनैपनि चिज, मैले भोगेका पिडा साथै हात पारेका सफलता, समयको माग अनुरुप दौडने प्रक्रिया, हरेकले म प्रति दिएको भावनात्मक, बैचारीक, मानशिक साथै शारीरीक सहयोगलाई कुनै पनि बेला भुल्न सक्छु । यो भुलक्कडको प्राण रहेसम्म हरेक बर्षको एकदिन (एप्रिल ३०) मा कम्तिमा तपाँईँको सम्झना आउनेछ ।सायद मेरो हरेक बर्ष काटिने केकको केहि हिस्सा यहाँको हुनेछ । ह्याप्पि बर्थ डे राज दाई ।

– झनक कार्की, लजिस्टिक्स अधिकृत

जहाँ हवाइजहाजको छाया नपर्ने कुना कन्दरामा बिकासे काममा तल्लिन रहदा र सदा सर्बदा कृषिको वकालत गर्न पाउँदा खुशी हुनु हुने राज दाइ । म नरहे पनि मैले प्रबाह गरेको सीप प्रयोग भैइरहोस र जि फाउण्डेशन जिबन्त रहिरहोस भन्ने उच्च मानसिक्ताको खानी हुन राज दाइ ।

– जित्न जनम राई, सोलुखुम्बु कार्यक्रम संयोजक

राज दाइ सँगको रमाइलो अन्तिम क्षण रहेछ । यसरी यति चाँडो आँसुमा परिणत   हुने त कसैले सोच्न पनि सकिएन । वहाँको सल्लाह र सुझाव मेरो लागि संस्थागत र ब्यतिगत रूपमा अति उपयोगी थिए । म र  राज दाईको त   भविश्यमा तराई बस्ने र रिटायर लाईफको योजनाको पनि धेरै कुरा हुन्थ्यो। तर अहिले वहाँको बिगतको  हरेक क्रियाकलाप तस्बिरमा सिमित भए । तस्बिर हेरेर आँशु  बगाउन बाहेक केही केही सकिएन ।

– ज्ञान बहादुर भट्टराई. खोटाङ  कार्यक्रम संयोजक

राज दाई र म हरदम एक अर्कासंग वादविवाद गरिरहेको जस्तो हुन्थ्यो । तर हाम्रो कुरा नमिलेर हैन मनले एक अर्कालाई जितेर त्यस्तो गर्थ्यौं । राज दाईसंग जे कुरा भन्न पनि मलाई धेरै सजिलो महशुस हुन्थ्यो किनभने वहाँले मेरो हरेक कुरा बुझ्नुहुन्थ्यो । वहाँसंग तर्क गरेको जस्तो गरेर जिस्काउनमा छुट्टै रमाइलो थियो किनभने वहाँ पनि हाँस्न र जिस्किन खुब रुचाउनुहुथ्यो । वहाँसंग चलिरहेको केक युद्ध सधैं सम्झनेछु । राज दाई आशा गर्छु तपाइ अब तपाइको मन पर्ने शान्त सुन्दर र स्वच्छ हिमाली भुभागहरु अनि प्राकृतिक वातावरणमा राज गरिरहनु भएको होला । तपाइलाई कहिले भुल्ने छैन ।

– हिमा राई, मुल्याकंन अधिकृत

Raj dai (5th from front) among the team members doing project feasibility study in Sotang in 2014
Raj and Gautam taking a break under a Peepal tree during their field visit in 2014.
Rajkumar (L) consults with Chhatra during the early days of earthquake 2015. He successfully saw to the completion of 40 learning centers in 40 damaged schools within 3 months after the quake.

 

Raj dai with Deputy Country Director Ang Chokpa Sherpa with the first Memorandum of Understanding (Mou) we signed with Government of Nepal for reconstruction of 9 schools. September 2015.
Raj with the local construction committee member during the construction of Yuba Jyoti School in Dipsung in 2016.
Raj dai orienting community members, construction committee members and dZi team about earthquake safe building during our first phase of reconstruction in November 2015.
Raj dai directing a small skit during our annual retreat in Junbesi.
Raj with dZi team members while visiting the village of Dimbul to asses damaged school there in 2016
Raj dai (L) was among the 3 team members voted as “Employee of the Year” in 2018
Raj develops new way to carry pots during our picnic in Chheskam in 2018.
Raj dai and his team wins “dZi Idol” contest during our staff summit held in Chheskam.
Rajkumar hosting Employee of the Year 2018 during dZi picnic held in March 2019.
Group photo of dZi Nepal team members. The last one with Raj dai in the frame.
In Rakha Bangdel Khotang, our NGO partner Creative Porters Society remembers Raj in their office.
In Sotang Solukhumbu, our NGO partner Solukhumbu Development Society and our staff remembers Raj
In Maheswori Khotang, our NGO partner Prayas Nepal remembers Raj
Lighting butter lamps in Kathmandu office for Raj

 

Youth Trip 2018 – Adventures and Achievements!

In the first week of August, 8 of our 30 and under youth team members in Nepal team embarked on an adventure travel. It is an unconventional way to keep our staff motivated and improve the efficiency but again, that is what we do – working in an unconventional way. Because of personal reasons, two of the team members could not attend it and hence eight of the teams members made the first ever youth trek of the organization during the month of August.

After the trek, each of them have created something based on their experience. Here we have collected all of those outputs in one place – click in the directed links to see each of them in detail

Rupak, our Program Officer, made a video based on the first leg of the journey. Check out in the link below

Mansu, our Social Mobilizer for Sotang (and now headed to our newest working area in Bhojpur) has written about her experience of visiting the Women’s Center in Nangi. She has become inspired and motivated by the achievements accomplished by the women of Nangi.

Read more about her learning experience at this post, Inspired by Women Entrepreneurs!

 Prashant, our social mobilizer for Chheskam, wrote a beautiful poem of the whole journey.

Enjoy the whole poem here, http://dzi.org/nepali-poem/

Saroj Bhujel, our agriculture technician for Sungdel and Sitaram Thapa, our newest team member and driver together created an awe-inspiring photo story of their journey. Click through the link or preview to see the entire photo story.

साहसिक युवा भ्रमण by dZi Foundation on Exposure

Nirmala, our Kathmandu Office Assistant and Chef Extra Ordinaire recounted her adventure in her popular food blog. Click on the link to see her full blog post.

Saroj Kulung, our Field Supervisor for Gudel (and now off to our newest working area in Bhojpur along with Mansu), wrote a travelogue about Nangi which was published by a regional Nepali news portal.

To read the full article, follow the link http://www.sagarmathaonline.com/33299/2018/08/14/

Meanwhile, Jhanak, our Logistics Officer, compiled the best fun photos and breathtaking landscape shots from everybody in the entire team to upload in our official facebook page. Check out our facebook page for the virtual tour. Meanwhile here is just a glimpse of Jhanak during the trek looking impeccable even while he was managing all the logistics required for the trek. We wouldn’t have expected any less from him, who also happens to be a part time Nepali film actor and music video model.

Besides these creative outputs, all the members of this trip also made a commitment to improve oneself as following in order to transform oneself into butterfly.

यात्राको पल

जि युवा भ्रमण अन्तर्गत १० दिने म्याग्दी र मुस्ताङको यात्रापश्चात साविक छेस्काम गाविसमा कार्यरत हाम्रो युवा कर्मचारी प्रशान्त विश्वकर्माले रचना गरेको कविता ।

सारङ्गीको बेदनायुक्त धुन संगै शुरु भो यात्रा हाम्रो
प्राकृतिक अनुपम सुन्दर बेनी बजार कति राम्रो ।
काली खोला सुसाई संगै अति राम्रो मल्ल दरबार
म्याग्दी जिल्ला जलजलामा छ है मल्लदरबार ।।

 

घुम्न जाउ है नागी गाउँ सामुदायिक एकता र सम्भाव्यताको राम्रो ठाउँ
प्रबिधिमा इन्टरनेट ,टेलिटिचिङ, टेलिमेडिसिन नेपालको नमुना गाउँ ।
भिन्न भाषा, सँस्कृतिको बिम्ब संगै सजिएको मगर बस्ती
स्वास्थ्य, शिक्षा, सञ्चार प्रबिधि विकासमा महाविर पुन हस्ती ।।

 

 

मुस्ताङ, जोमसोम, मार्फाको स्याउ बगान राम्रो
तातोपानी कन्चन झर्ना दगं भो मन हाम्रो ।
लोमान्थाङ राम्रो साँस्कृतिक सम्पदा र हिमालले
प्रसिद्द छ गुम्बा, गुफा अनि चाइनाको सिमानाले ।।

हिमालको टाकुरामा मोटर साइकल के सारो गुडेको
तामाङसेलो, भोट, हिमाली सँस्कृति कान्छी नानी के राम्रो नाचेको ।
डाँफे, मयुर, कस्तुरी र चौरी च्याँङग्रा लेकमा
प्राकुतिक अनुपम सुन्दरता पाइन्छ  है हिमाल पारीको मुस्ताङमा  ।।

 

मुक्तिनाथ मन्दीरमा एकसय आठ धारा
देश बिदेशबाट दर्शन गर्न आउदा रहेछन् सारा ।
पोखराको फेवा तालमा माझी दाइले ख्याए ढुङ्गा सरर
साराङकोटको हावा सँगै प्यारागलाइडिङ गर्दा मन भयो फरर ।।

 

– प्रशान्त विश्वकर्मा

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.

Visioning – Shared Dreams For A More Prosperous Community!

At dZi, development is something our partner communities initiate. In order to work hand-in-hand with these communities, we ensure that there is complete community participation in all of our programs and that community members are the principal players at all levels.

First, a community invites us in if they think our model fits with their beliefs around community development. Next, they create a plan and send us proposals for what they hope to accomplish by working together. Once we raise enough money to fund the proposal, the community leads implementation of the projects. After the projects are complete, they will also be responsible for maintaining and repairing them in the years to come.

A community member from Jaleshwori participating in our first visioning session.

Starting last year, we added a new step to our Deep Development model to improve the process of community participation in all of our work. Before we actually begin working, we sit down with community members and dream up a shared vision for the future. Together, we map out what a more prosperous future might look like for them. This collaborative exercise provides us with a plan for how we will spend the next 8 to 10 years in that specific community.

First ever visioning meeting at Jaleshwori.

In January 2017, we completed our first visioning session in our newest partner community, Jaleshwori. After spending 2 full days with more than 40 community members from all of the villages in Jaleshwori, we drafted a set of common dreams detailing what we would like to achieve together. We also wrote and signed a letter of understanding that holds dZi, the community, and our local NGO partner accountable to a mutually agreed-upon set of principles, which includes transparency, inclusion, ethics, putting the neediest first, etc. You can read through our detailed contract here.

Our first visioning session was a success! The community loved that they had the opportunity to create a plan for how dZi can help them on their own terms. This year, after we decided to partner with a new community, Bung, we began our partnership by conducting a visioning session with the community. We completed this visioning session in December 2017.

Community members in Bung signing the letter of understanding that we reached at the end of the visioning session.
Community members, local NGO partner members, and dZi staff with the final letter of understanding and common dreams for Bung, which will serve as our road map for future work here.

Enjoy this short video that showcases major highlights from our visioning session in Bung.

Salvation at Salpa

“You won’t want to miss one of the most important landmarks of our working area while you are in Gudel”.

These words of my colleague, Heema, kept me going. After 5 hours of uphill walking my legs were shaking, struggling with every step. Panting and trying hard to catch my breath, the devastatingly steep, never-ending stone stairs were starting to fade away from my vision as everything became blurry. To add more agony, my shirt was getting heavier with a continuous stream of sweat.

I sat down on a large stone and rested my head on my walking stick. I started to doze off immediately. I was so tired.

DSC00104
Ishwor walks on unfazed by the steep uphill steps

“Rupak, are you all right?”  came the words from my colleague and traveling companion, Ishwor Dai, bringing me back from my dream.

“I am fine.” I said weakly. “Just give me a few minutes.”

“I think we should keep going. We are in the middle of nowhere.”

“Please keep walking. Seeing you go on will force me to walk too.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes.”

He started to walk slowly while I was still trying to pull myself up. Everything was dark and weak. I could hear my heartbeat pleading for me to stop this torture. I searched for a strand of energy to lift myself up on to my feet, a flash of motivation.

‘We wouldn’t want you to miss one of the most important landmarks of our working area.’ The words thundered in my head again. “Yes, this is hard. Really hard. But this won’t kill me,” I muttered to myself in a cracked voice. I stood up with every last bit of strength I could muster and started to walk again.

After about an hour of climbing, to my great relief and joy, Ishwor Dai up ahead of me shouted enthusiastically with a beaming smile: “Here we are!!!!”

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One of the many scenes that greeted us en route to Salpa Lake

I slowly raised my head from the stone steps and saw some large stones and a pinnacle of a Chaitya just where the uphill path ended. A sigh of relief. The excitement to see Salpa Lake came back stronger. It was this very mystical place which my colleagues had been prodding me to go see since I came to Gudel. I had heard enough tales about the mystical powers the lake held as well as about its beauty.  I wanted to run and lay my eyes on the holy lake. But my legs deceived me. I dragged myself to the Chaitya assuming the lake must be around it.

As soon as I climbed the few steps up to reach the Chaitya, I started looking around frantically.

“Where is the lake?”

There was nothing but a couple of small wooden huts.

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“This is where we take a tea break!”

“This is where we take a tea break. We still need to walk 20 minutes from here, cross another ridge to reach the lake.” Ishwor Dai explained to me, sympathetically observing my disappointment.

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Ishwor Dai sympathizing with Rupak

“20 minutes? Are you serious? I cannot walk a single step ahead.” I laid down in a wooden bench near the Chaitya.

“I have ordered some tea. Tea will make you feel better.”

“Let’s hope so.” I said.

It was 10 AM and that was the first hotel we had found since we started walking in the morning. We waited for a few minutes and were served a steaming, sweet cup of tea with some biscuits.

“Shall we start walking?” Ishwor Dai said as soon as we finished tea. I nodded, stretched myself out and picked up the walking stick. We started to walk through a tiny, narrow ledge along the edge of a cliff with such a plunging drop I had to avert my eyes. Thick fog rolled over the landscape once in a while hindering our visibility and giving us a chill. After the walk through the cliff was over, we came across a sprawling green meadow with what looked like a deserted market.

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The cliff opened out onto this wide meadow that serves as temporary market two times a year.

After that, we walked through a dense rhododendron forest with gentle uphill slope for about 5 minutes and reached a small pass. The pass opened onto a small bowl shaped valley just beneath it.

As soon as I set foot on the pass, and looked down, I was taken aback by awe. I saw a deep green serenity called Salpa Pokhari- the Salpa Lake. It was right at the center of the valley, at the foot of the impressive Silicho peak. It was a treat for my eyes after hours of blurry and unclear vision due to exhaustion. Because I had heard enough about shamans practicing meditation and puja here, I felt like the air was full of healing and meditative aura. ‘6 hours of uphill walk? What? When? What are you talking about?’ I forgot my exhaustion in an instant, and ran down to the lake.

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The pass opened onto a small bowl shaped valley just beneath it. This is the Salpa Lake, and the massive cliff at the background is the Silicho Peak.

I sat next to Ishwor Dai, staring deep into the green pond. I felt the mysterious pond staring back at me. It was a little chilling, but glad that it was mutual. It was waving in the rhythm of wind but at the same time there was something which was calm and unmovable. Something that was so fulfilling yet makes you feel empty. Something alive and vivid but something that cannot be seen and touched.

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Ishwor gazing at the deep green water of Salpa Lake

“So, this is where the spirits of the ancestors dwell?” I broke the silence.

“That’s what the legend says.”

I closed my eyes. Laid down. Took a deep breath.

“Are you all right? How are you feeling now?” my traveling companion asked.

“Never better.”

12356740_1107836999234894_4295780228063928326_oWritten by Rupak Maharjan

Program Officer

Dai : Nepali word for big brother

Chaitya: a religious Buddhist structure. In most of our working areas, they are made out of stones and are about 1-2 meters in height.

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A triumphant Rupak poses in front of Salpa Lake

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Incense burned by pilgrims visiting the lake.

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The final pass before Salpa Lake. This photo was taken in a different season.
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A view of the Himalayas that can be seen from the top of Silichu Peak.
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Salpa Lake and Silichu Peak during the winter.

Seasons change.

We are proud of our mistakes. They are what help us learn to do even better. 

At dZi, we go to extra lengths to listen to community members, to learn from our past experiences, and to troubleshoot before we begin any project. However, despite this we still make mistakes. Sometimes a lot of them.

As we see it, the most important aspect of working with a community is to devote the time and resources necessary to identify these mistakes, and to fix them.

“It is so hard to close the windows of the school. We cannot do it alone; we need two people just to shut the doors and windows, because they are all warped”

— Female Teacher at Chitre Primary School – speaking about challenges they faced after some of the wood used to construct a school building wasn’t adequately dried before use.

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Everything in our projects – as with most human processes – is in flux. A late monsoon can severely lengthen the time it takes to move construction materials, a drop in exchange rates can raise budgets significantly, political instability can halt all staff movement.

We strive to be a true learning organization, and to be flexible and agile so that we can respond to changes as they occur. Our greatest teachers are the members of communities we work with – they have learned to thrive in tremendously difficult terrain, and to create highly-functional societies despite great poverty. Our long term partnership has built a level of trust where community members are equally eager to point out our mistakes as they are to support our efforts to correct them.

We continually fine tune our methods to improve our impacts, and we spend enough time in each community to know the people, resources, and challenges in depth. This allows us to come up with solutions that are local, grassroots and community driven.

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      Being part of the community is the first step of our “deep development approach”

This year, we made a massive organizational change to address a need that community members were voicing subtly over a number of years. As a US-based organization, it made sense to pin our fiscal year to the Gregorian calendar – starting on January 1st. This made financial record keeping and yearly auditing much easier on the US side, and we aligned our Nepal office records to match.

Accordingly, our projects all broke ground in January – right in the middle of the dry season. This then only allowed for five months of good weather before the monsoon rains began – not enough time to complete a major construction project like a school.

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Our original fiscal year was such that the monsoons interrupted the construction season

One unintended consequence of this short timeline meant that the wood used for construction often did not have time to properly dry after it was cut to specifications. This led to warped window and door frames which would only close with great effort.

Monsoon is also a time where community members are extremely busy working in the fields to plant their annual rice harvest. Asking for local contribution to projects during this time would put undue pressure on local families, not to mention the fact that working in the rain is miserable.

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                                      Monsoon is the busiest time for farmers.

Travel and transporting materials during the monsoon is extremely dangerous due to flooding and extremely slippery trails. Projects that carryover into the monsoon put local community members at greater risk of injury while contributing local materials.

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                         Commuting in monsoon is perilous, to say the least.

One of the major sources of learning for us is our project evaluations. We evaluate each project and collect community feedback to understand impacts, challenges, and what we could do better next time. When looking at our evaluation data, we noticed that 70% of evaluations noted that the timing of projects was a significant challenge.

In response to this clear message, we began the process of shifting our official fiscal year to match the Nepali fiscal year which begins in July. This required a fair amount of juggling and reworking our financial systems – but it was well worth it. We officially began our new fiscal year on July 1st, 2015.

 

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Our new fiscal year allows for at least eight months of uninterrupted good weather for construction projects.

 

Changing our fiscal year, and in turn, the timing of our project cycle will make our construction work even stronger and more in sync with the natural seasons in our partner communities. Now, our community partners can prepare for the construction season by purchasing materials and preparing construction sites during the monsoons. This is followed by eight months of continuous good weather and the bulk of construction happening when community members have more time to contribute.

While something like when we choose to close our books may seem at the outset to have little bearing upon the lives of our community partners, it can actually make the difference between a door that opens or a door that is permanently shut. We are certain, as well, that this isn’t the last aspect of our work that will need to be reflected upon and improved. Indeed, we are looking forward to our next mistake – as this provides us with another opportunity to listen, to learn, and to do even better.

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A deep relationship with nature and craft – Chheskam

Chheskam is one of the most remote of our partner communities, nestled at the source of the sacred Hunga river. The residents of Chheskam are primarily from the Kulung Kirant ethnic group who traditionally maintain an exceptionally strong connection to the natural world through spirit mediums and shamans.

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At dZi, we understand that cultural preservation is an important foundation for social unity and overall happiness. This is one of seven ‘prosperity elements’ that we measure to understand how well our projects are benefiting the community members.

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A shaman blesses Ben

 

The dense wood in the photo below is just on the outskirts of the main settlement in Chheskam, and it is managed as a complete wilderness – people and livestock are not allowed to enter. It is believed this is the home of a powerful forest deity, the disturbing of whom will bring misfortune to the entire village.

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Many Kulung traditions require the use of cloth woven from a plant called allo (wild nettle), and there are still a number of active looms in the village. The village elder Amrit Kulung is one of the local cultural icons and a weaver himself.

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Amrit Kulung shows us his collection of traditional loom items

“During my childhood days, we didn’t have many warm clothes to protect us from cold. So we wove. Now, I weave to try to protect the culture. My children send me these fancy jackets from city, I wear them but they hesitate to wear handwoven garments. They, the young generation, do not understand why weaving is important. So it is more important that I weave, and keep record to inspire them” says Amrit when asked why he continues to weaves.

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Amrit Kulung’s Loom

Now, much of Amrit’s allo fabric is exported across Nepal and fetches a high price. It is renowned for it’s durability and uniqueness. Amrit continues to inspire a whole new generation of Chheskam and our team.

Mobile workstations

As remote as our working areas, and as spread out as our staffs are, all of us strive to continually stay in touch with each other. This is no easy feat, but we are a determined lot. Here are a few examples of just how we do the almost impossible.

Our social mobilizer Tulasa sends us photo and other email updates to Kathmandu from our field of Khotang regularly. She walks an hour away from her home almost every week to reach a chautari (resting place) place where she can have some phone signal to connect to internet. She carries her laptop and her mobile phone with her.

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First she transfers all necessary files and photos from laptop onto her phone. The internet is really slow via a laptop, so everything that needs to be sent has to go onto her phone first.

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Tulasa then sends the photos and documents to our Kathmandu office via her phone. It is a slow and laborious process, but her hard work makes it possible for us to share our progress with a global audience. We are very used to such “mobile workstations” while out in the field.

Here is our Solukhumbu Program Coordinator Jitna Janam Rai operating his very own mobile workstation as this is where he got a very good signal to report to Kathmandu office.

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“Wherever I sit is my office”

Our Khotang Program Coordinator Gyan Bhattarai has climbed this hill to get a better signal on his phone. Gyan climbs such hillocks almost everyday, as do many of us.

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“Hello hello can you hear me?”

In the next photo, Bhala Kaji Rai, our M & E assistant is changing his SIM card. Often we carry SIM cards from more than one service provider as no single network works uniformly across our working area. In many places, we do not get any signal from any provider but we have trialed so many times with so many SIM now we have at least a reasonable map of what works where. Figuring out a way to connect within our team is a daily part of our work.

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Let’s see if this one works!

 

The determined look on Bhalakaji’s face says it all.

Rooted in the grassroots

How is dZi “rooted in the grassroots” you ask?

Well, for starters all our projects are truly based on community demand. Here, locals of Dipsung, Khotang are discussing things that needs to be done in their community. Together they will come up with high priority activities which goes towards forming our projects.

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Prior to the start of our project cycle every year, our staff and NGO partner members walk far and wide all over our working area to facilitate community meetings, collect idea, brainstorm and then come up with proposals that truly encompasses the needs of the community. This process has led us to have more local contribution in each project, which results in the ownership of them long after we have handed all the responsibilities to the communities.

 

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Community members discuss what crops could be commercially viable in their area

 

From 2014, we have started a sustainable agriculture program in 5 of our working areas-Dipsung, Sungdel, Rakha, Gudel and Sotang which is again, demand based and community centered. We sat with the local community to talk about what they would want to plant, learn to grow, which crops will have a market in the future, which crops are commercially viable in their climate and geography, and about the nutritional aspects of planting vegetables. We have collected the demand from community, which drives our agriculture program.

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Community members attend the Sanitation & Awareness Training

We make it a point to involve maximum community members in all our projects. For example in our One House One Toilet Projects, constructing toilet is only one of the many activities that we do together with community. We first run “Sanitation & Awareness Training” in all the regions where we are launching the project. This training will help the community members learn about the toilet designs, its benefits, and how to maintain sanitation of toilet itself. For building 385  toilets in 2014 in the village of Chheskam, we conducted training in 5 different locations so that every body could easily participate. Because our Toilet Projects, like all our other projects, are demanded by the community, the participation rate in such training is very high. Most of the time, at least one member from every house will attend. Here in the above photo, a lady from  Chheskam attends one such training with her baby.

While going grassroots, we also come up with all sorts of interesting community members. Here is a short video story of two locals who have helped us realize the immense potential rural communities have within themselves, and both of who have been inspirational to both us and their community for carrying our work forward.

 

Real life “Superwomen”

Women in rural Nepal are superwomen.

One photo from our field in Solukhumbu shows a strong cheerful lady carrying fodder basket, and her baby en route to her farm. In between all this, she also manages to do some financial transaction with her neighbor (not in photo).1962887_10152265515764120_893463326_nTwo women in Cheskam of Solukhumbu on their way to work in the fields. Both of them are carrying “doko” with maize husks, and “kokro” (the smaller bamboo basket on top) which holds their babies. The woman in front is also busy weaving fiber of stinging nettle called “allo”.

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Women of the communities such as these where we work are multi-taskers who never have a second to spare. Through our “Revitalize a Village” approach, we have worked among other things to build safe drinking water which considerably saves time of women that would be spent fetching water.

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Its hard for the womenfolk in rural communities such as places where we work. Their plight, specially the difficulty they face during pregnancy and its consequences, is receiving global attention this week. Here’s one report that the Amnesty International posted in their site. http://goo.gl/vps2bn

We have fun while we learn

Learning games in a participatory environment is one of the key methods that we focus on during any of our training.

Here, community members in Khotang are participating in a fun learning exercise during a training for post-construction management of Drinking Water Projects. This was a 3 day residential training that the dZi Foundation organized in the district headquarters of Diktel.

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Participants of Group Management Training learning the importance of working in groups through a fun participatory game. Our Monitoring and Evaluation Assistant Bhalakaji in the center facilitates the process.

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Ben Ayers, our Nepal Country Director, is facilitating a learning game exercise during a Prosperity Mapping session in Cheskam of Solukhumbu. Supporting him is Bhalakaji.

Prosperity mapping is a tool to measure the impact of our “deep development” approach. We are excited to be evaluating our work through this tool-which is a combination of our learning in rural development and the community’s perception of what “prosperity” means to them.

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