Dobhane lies in the far Northern corner of Bhojpur district in East Nepal. Dobhane also marks our formal expansion into a third district of Nepal besides Khotang and Solukhumbu. We started our work here in 2018 and through the visioning program conducted in May 2019, we have formally made a commitment to work with the communities here for long-term.
Dobhane gets its name from two rivers here – Chandrawati and Indrawati. Dobhan means “confluence” in Nepali and the place has been called Dobhane to mark the place where these two rivers meet. Formerly a VDC, it now comprises of wards 5 and 6 of Salpa Silichho Rural Municipality. It is one of the largest communities in Bhojpur. The elevation range here is from 800msl to 4453 msl. It is approximately 20 miles away from the district headquarter. Now, it can be reached from the headquarters in a day of drive through rough seasonal roads. During monsoon, the roads are impassable but during dry season one can drive upto Phedi.
Dobhane is home to 1034 houses and 5262 people. The predominant cultural group is Rai, followed by Chhetri/Brahmin, Sherpa, Dalit, Tamang and a few households from Newar. Like in most of Nepal, there is an intermix of faith in Dobhane too. People practice Kirat, Hindu, Buddhist religion. Each community have their distinct social customs, celebrate their festivals and speak a variety of languages.
Most of the people here are engaged primarily in agriculture. Rice, maize, finger millet, wheat and potatoes are the chief staple crops grown here. Livestock farming is a big part of the agriculture here. The biggest commercial farming is of cardamom although in recent days the production has seen a decline due to diseases as well as market vulnerability. Commercial rudraksha farming is also gaining some traction here. Dobhane is rich in forest and wild medicinal plants. We can find numerous herbs like lauth salla, sunpati, sungandhawal, satuwa, chiraito and others in its forests and grasslands.
The most famous landmark of Dobhane is the holy Salpa Lake and the adjacent Silichu Peak. People from all faith and culture worship the lake and the peak as a sacred site. It is an important touristic and cultural site in Eastern Nepal.
There are not enough health resources here. There is one public health post, 1 community health center and 2 community clinic in all of Dobhane. There are no private health resources whatsoever. There is one high school, one secondary school, 4 lower secondary schools and 7 primary level schools here. Although there are plenty of schools here, the structures of most of them are old, crumbling and are not earthquake safe.
There is little to no presence of I/NGOs here. A USAID funded nutrition program called SUAHARA is one of the bigger and more active projects here. There is also a program of Poverty Alleviation Fund (PAF) through a local NGO called Miteri Nepal.
Although there are no big industries or commerce here, small household level paper manufacturing cottage businesses are booming recently. Although it is connected by cell service of all major network providers the connection is unreliable and patchy. There is still no reliable internet service here. A portion of Dobhane enjoys electricity access through a local 28KW micro hydro power. But rest of Dobhane does not have access to electricity and mostly relies on off-grid solar power for household light.