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

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.

Open Plastic Free

After we became an Open Plastic Free zone, our students and teachers started making colorful garlands out of wrappers of chewing gum, chocolate, biscuit and instant noodles. We haven’t had to disturb the forest for the flowers. Our neighborhood has become much cleaner as we collect all the waste lying around. Recycling plastic has also reduced the cost for us to buy learning materials as teaching students this method in itself has become an interactive, fun and inspiring lesson.

– Sharmila Rai, Principal, Denam Primary School, Chheskam

A local community member piling up garlands made out of recycled plastic waste and wild rhododendron flowers in Chheskam.

The community of Chheskam has been formally declared as an Open Plastic Free(OPF) zone in 2017 May 2. The OPF drive was made successful by the initiation and leadership of the 7 community schools within its area. Chheskam had already added a feather in its cap when it became the first village in the country to be an Eco-San Village with 100% of households owning an ‘eco-san’ toilet that collects and recycles urine.

In the beginning of this OPF drive, our local NGO partner Nava Yug Ekata Bikas Samittee (NYBS) with support from local VDC office had conducted a series of awareness raising and orientation programs in all 7 local schools.  This program helped raise awareness about the importance of managing plastic waste and helped the student club understand about how plastic harms the environment and health. The student groups agreed to take the lead in the OPF drive.

Students from Chheskam High School taking part in a rally to raise awareness about OPF in their neighborhood.

NYBS also conducted a one week training program on collecting and reusing plastic waste for 22 interested women from various parts of Chheskam. The trainer was a local woman and member of NYBS, Maya Devi Kulung, who had learned to make different household items like baskets, mats, and boxes out of plastic waste that she found around her home and neighborhood. All the women learned how to make such creative and useful items from plastic.

Plastic upcyling training in Chheskam
Participants of the one-week plastic upcycling training in Chheskam

On the day of the declaration ceremony, a lot of the trainees and other neighbors who had also learned the craft brought their upcycled plastic items for demonstration. They had made various items out of the plastic waste that they collected. Meera Nachhiring from Mamerku won an award for the best creation.

She says “I am happy to have won and recognized for my skill. But what I am happier about is that all the items on display were sold. I am the happiest to see that we have been successful in minimizing so much of the plastic waste.” She further shared that she will continue to follow the principle of making “money out of waste” (fohor baata mohor) that she learned in the training, and is committed to minimizing and recycling her plastic waste.

Various items made out of plastic wrapper for demonstration in sell during the OPF declaration ceremony.
Local women show the various items they made out of recycled plastic.
A student tries out a new style of hat.

Earlier in Chheskam, as is the trend in many places of Nepal, various wildflowers like rhododendron were used excessively to make garlands to greet guests and for various other programs. The principal of the local Denam School, Sharmila Rai, shares, “After the OPF drive started in our village, our students and teachers are making colorful garland out of wrappers of chewing gum, chocolate, biscuit and noodles. We haven’t had to disturb the forest for the flowers. And the neighborhood has become much cleaner as we collect all the waste lying around. This reuse of plastic has also lessened the cost for us to buy learning materials as teaching students this method in itself has become an interactive, fun and inspiring session.

Various guests of the ceremony were greeted by wrappers made out of recycled plastic.

Although plastic has made life in village easier,it has also brought with it serious hazard to the environment. Plastic waste has already started showing adverse effects in human health, air, soil and water. Even in our working areas which is very remote, we can now see plastics thrown around everywhere. Many community members opt to burn these plastic as their management which obviously is even more harmful.

In our working area, the community of Gudel is the leader in OPF. They had successfully run the OPF campaign in 2012 and declared themselves OPF zone. This was a key inspirational moment for Chheskam. As their community got more and more swamped by all the plastic waste, finally NYBS took the leadership to initiate becoming an OPF zone too.

Now as part of the OPF movement, local schools have become the leader in management of the plastic as well as keeping the community on toes. Every household has now made a bamboo waste collection bin. Similarly there are collection bins on trails, public places, school, the local health post and other office premises. Although NYBS initially started this conversation about being open plastic free, it got support from two other local organizations. The OPF program was also supported by Majestic Himalayan Trekkers-a trekking company run by local of Chheskam, and Mahakulung Poverty Alleviation Agriculture Cooperative- a locally formed cooperative.

Bamboo collection bins like this have been setup in every house and in all public places of Chheskam
OPF declaration program in Chheskam High School
Students checking out a vase made out of plastic.
Students check out various items made out of plastic.

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

 

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.

This is how things start!

What can you do for only $500? The community group in our new partner community of Maheswori built a new health post building with a $500 grant from the dZi Foundation. The community contributed the equivalent of over $1,000 in local labor and materials!

Posted on Sept 20, 2013

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Posted on February 16, 2014

The community of Cheskam built this trail seen in the next photo. People from ward no. 2 of Cheskam chose to improve their walking trails which makes a tremendous difference in their daily life.

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When we first work in a community, we cap our grants at $500 (USD), which the community matches and invests in any public project that they see fit.

IRIN’s Kyle Knight writes about our working approach, and also mentions this particular local volunteer approach that we have been employing. Follow the link for his article in the IRIN website. http://goo.gl/lkszO6

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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