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.
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.
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.
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.