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.

Earthquake Reconstruction Update – April 2017

It has been almost two years since the devastating earthquakes of 2015 hit Nepal, destroying 500,000 homes and taking nearly 9,000 lives. Like nearly everyone in Nepal we at dZi, along with our local partner communities in the remote mountain districts of Khotang and Solukhumbu,  are still putting the pieces back together.

Our earthquake recovery plan focuses upon reconstructing local schools that were damaged by the earthquakes and providing income generation opportunities for families that have lost their homes. We set an ambitious goal of ensuring that all children in our partner communities are studying in safe classrooms. This meant rebuilding 28 schools in total (reduced from our initial goal of 31, due to the limited presence of other donors and subsequent assessments of all schools during our feasibility study).

In 2016 we finished rebuilding 9 schools, and our goal for 2017 is to complete another 8 using new Light Gauge Steel technology. We are well on our way and for some, like Shishu High School in Maheswori, the community started rebuilding early and has already completed half of the new classrooms.

Shishu High School, Maheswori

In the photo below a local community member transports Light Gauge Steel (LGS) trusses to the construction site of Sidda Kanya Lower Secondary School in Rakha.

Between January and March 2017, community members like him from across our partner communities have transported thousands of these LGS pieces from the nearest roads to the school sites. Transportation by foot takes half a day for the schools situated closest to the end of the dirt roads, and for others it can take up to a day and a half.

The LGS trusses being transported by tractors on the new dusty roads of Khotang. These pieces are for the Himalayan Primary School in Sungdel.

LGS is a new technology in Nepal although it is popular in many other countries for its lightness, ease of assembly, and earthquake safety. Another advantage of this technology is that the whole structure is portable – we can shift it easily from one place to another when required. This is especially important for schools in the hills and mountains where the ground might give out or where landslides or floods might endanger the schools and students.

We plan to finish the majority of construction before the monsoon rains begin in Nepal. The biggest challenge so far has been the transportation of the LGS trusses to the school sites. At this point though, all of the parts have either reached the construction sites or are en route, and the trusses for the last LGS school will be transported within the next week. Check out the video below to see how rebar required for our school construction is transported on foot by community members.

 

Community members have also been busy collecting local materials like gravel and stone for the schools, while mules are currently transporting the remaining construction materials such as plywood, glass wool, cement, and sand. People in these communities are working rapidly to complete the schools as soon as possible. We are concerned about the upcoming local elections, which are scheduled to be held on May 14. If the elections take place as planned, they may disrupt or slow down our construction activities.

Construction site of Himalayan Primary School in Sotang
Mules transporting external materials like cement and sand
Local community members carrying stones to the construction site of Basuki School in Gudel

Our technicians Raj Kumar, Chhatra and Subindra are working around the clock to train and oversee local masons in using this new technology. There have been several times when we had to redo a section, but overall this technology has been really well-received by the communities and readily adopted. In the following photos, our technician Subindra guides and teaches the construction crew how to assemble the LGS frames.

LGS fitting in Siddakanya School

After the completion of all 8 schools, we will have built more than 40 classrooms that will allow around 500 students who are currently studying in vulnerable or temporary learning centers to move into new, bright earthquake safe classrooms.

Students and teachers in front of the Temporary Learning Center in Panchakanya School, Susla. We are rebuilding this school now.
A student of Panchakanya School stands in front of her damaged school room. This is one of the 8 schools that we are rebuilding currently.

Livelihoods Support

We also provided direct support to 419 families that lost everything during the earthquake. Instead of providing direct handouts, we wanted to give the family members an opportunity to recover on their own terms and to have a sustainable means of support. We extended three types of support to these households: free agricultural materials and trainings; free seeds and training for market vegetable crops; and focused training and seedlings for high-value cash crops including cardamon, ginger, turmeric and hot peppers. 

 A local farmer with a batch of cardamon seedlings

Tarasur Rai lost his home during the earthquake and was left with little option to feed his family and rebuild his home. Already he has earned about $200 in new income from selling ginger. He has also begun to experiment with potato farming this year and has become successful in harvesting a lot of potatoes. He hopes to earn more than $400 from the potatoes this year alone. Pictured is Tarasur in his attic where he has stored all the potatoes and we can also see the massive crack that was formed in his house by the quake.

 

Punarsingh Rai lives alone, having lost his wife and family. Inspired by our support and with technical help from our staff, he has already started earning income from many of his farm products. He made around $100 from bitter gourd sales alone. Here in the photo, he poses with his pile of turmeric that he recently harvested. We supported him with turmeric seed as part of the earthquake package. He will earn about $100 from the turmeric this year.

 

While these numbers are only in the hundreds of dollars, this is a massive amount in the current context of Nepal, and a good start in terms of financial and personal empowerment!

Follow us in our social media networks, facebook, instagram and twitter to stay updated.

 

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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.

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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.

Rebuilding Schools

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Schools across Nepal were dangerous, even before the earthquake that struck nearly one year ago. Had the quake not come on a Saturday afternoon – the only day when school is not in session – tens, if not hundreds of thousands of students would have likely lost their lives. The photo above shows the cracked walls of the Janahit Primary School in the village of Rakha, and was taken before the earthquake. The building is now just a pile of rubble.

We were planning to reconstruct this school building this year anyways, and shudder to think of what would have happened had children been in the building when the ground started shaking.

In our very focused working area of 7 communities, the Earthquake damaged a total of 36 schools. This represents only a fraction of the devastation all across the middle-hills of Nepal. Besides schools, personal homes, drinking water, rural trails and other vital infrastructure have been severely damaged.

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Chandra School in Sungdel which is standing but is far too risky to use anymore.

Our Earthquake reconstruction drive includes rebuilding the Janahit school, and 30 others in remote communities of Khotang and Solukhumbu districts. This will take us 3 years to complete. This year, we have broken ground on 9 schools already.

Immediately after the earthquake, we mobilized our resources to support continuation of classes in by constructing 40 Temporary Learning Centers, using roofing tin that can be recycled in the final school construction. As the rainy season was just around the corner, building TLCs  enabled us to provide immediate shelter and continued education for over 2,000 students. It is quite impossible in the Nepali hills to start any solid construction work during the monsoon which is one of the reasons our work for building permanent school buildings did not start immediately after the quake.

 

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Students inside a Temporary Learning Center (TLC) in Solukhumbu

Meanwhile, we worked on several earthquake safe school building designs to improve upon our existing model. Our technician Raj Kumar Rai, with consultation from various quarters, finalized three different school designs. Then, we faced an even more daunting task – getting approval from the Nepal Government.

After the quake, the Nepal Government was overwhelmed with reconstruction work, and unfortunately mired down in political conflicts. After four months of diligent work, we finally received approval for our proven reinforced stone masonry designs and we immediately started working overtime to get all nine schools built before the monsoon rains arrive.

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Rajkumar and Chokpa pose with the Government’s approval letter. Finally!

Besides the bureaucracy, Nepal’s almost half a year long political instability together with the “unofficial blockade” in the Indo-Nepal border made it almost impossible for any real construction work to begin anywhere in Nepal due to acute fuel and material shortages.

As the blockade has now been lifted, and we have the green signal from Government to go ahead, we have now started reconstruction in earnest. Work has started in all the 9 schools. Collection of local materials – wood, stone, aggregates have almost completed for all the school. Below short video shows community members donating their labor to collect stones for Hunga Lower Secondary School in Gudel.

A video posted by dZi Foundation (@dzifoundation) on

We have already finished all site preparation and the foundations for all 9 schools are dug. We are optimistic that we will have them all completed by the end of June.

Community members working in school reconstruction in various schools

Our technicians, social mobilizer, and partner NGOs are working round the clock mobilize the community and to check progress on the schools. Our technicians are specially alert to monitor  every aspect of the construction process and to uphold our strict quality standards – thus ensuring that the schools will be safe during the next quake.

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Top: Rajkumar gives orientation to the community about earthquake safe school building. Bottom: Chhatra, another of our technician, checks accuracy of ground excavation work.

As a first and necessary step, our technicians trained community members and local dZi staff about the basics of earthquake safe technology. We focused specially on local masons and all dZi staff have now been taught to read basic engineering drawings, and to assist the local masons in interpreting the design documents.

We are working day and night to finish these 9 schools so that we can start working on the next phase of reconstructing 11 schools in July. We have to thank all our generous friends and donors from around the world who has made it possible for us to respond to the need of the community so swiftly. Stay tuned for more updates about our school reconstruction work.

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Girls in Gudel inspect their school building being constructed with much curiosity.

 

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.”

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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.

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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.

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