Practical Action’s SWASHTHA project is addressing major environmental health risks, such as indoor air quality, water quality, sanitation and hygiene to create healthy homes and benefit 30,000 women and children and family members in these households. We are working with people, mainly women and children, from the socially excluded communities and marginalised ethnic and other caste groups in urban areas of Bharatpur, Butwal, Gularia and Tikapur municipalities.
Most memorable moment: Two really super bits for me personally today, firstly interviewing the woman from the co-op about her life and family and also sketching at the Dalit village with a huge crowd of little children watching.
Best person you met today: The interviewee – she was so gracious and willing, after a little initial hesitancy, and it was great to find that life for her family had most certainly improved because of the Practical Action dairy project.
What made you stop and think? So much! Again, being impressed by the calibre of Practical Action’s staff. Today it was Prakesh, the vet. So clear what value there is in being able to provide such professional expertise where it is needed. Good to see the mutual respect of all who are involved.
Anything else you want to say? I had to remind myself not to romanticise the life of the villagers. On such a lovely sunny day like this, with such welcomes everywhere, it looked good.
Most memorable moment: Watching Helen and a Nepali woman totally engaged with each other while Practical Action supporters, local villagers and children milled around them.
Best person you met today: Pratibha Acharya, a 17 year old Nepali girl currently in school and planning to go on to college and study farm management.
What made you stop and think?
Anything else you want to say? Last visit to Nawalparasi library didn’t work well because we met nobody who had personally benefitted from Practical Action work or projects.
Most memorable moment: The visit to the SWASTHA village and the changes to people’s lives by water, improved kitchens, and proper loos. Helen sketching by the river!
Best person you met today: Shanta Lama, a lady interviewed about SWASTHA and her comment about her improved kitchen which had led to fewer arguments!
What made you stop and think? The loss of land suffered by the farmer, Mana Badudur, at the DIPECHO site but his belief that he is no longer scared and felt safe/secure
Most memorable moment: Keshab Raj Achasoja and Ram Hazi Avyal heartily and joyously singing from the Muhabarat at the Thiskuni Community Library. Keshab co-ordinates the library’s religious programme – providing a place, musical instruments and books for those in the community wanting to celebrate their religion. He just took down a copy of the Muhabarat from the shelves and started singing and his friend joined in – infectious joy and a great picture He said, ‘Before the library we could just eat and sleep, take care of the animals, sometimes play cards. Now people come here, see all the books and magazines and know about the rest of the world.’
Best person you met today: Prakesh who runs the Kamadhere DFID-funded Practical Action project helping farmers with getting decent breeding stock, advice and expertise on food, help on animal health and much more. A great find for Practical Action as he trained as a vet for 5 ½ years at the only vet college in Nepal – others there went abroad to make a living, while Prakesh went to an NGO to use his skills for the community and then to Practical Action to set up and run an inspiring project with local co-operatives to produce more food and improve the livelihoods of some of the poorest.
What made you stop and think? Two examples of harnessing the knowledge of experts to help people help themselves 1. Prakesh and his work as a vet with local farmers 2. The Practical Answers interactive session at the library – Kemal Kent Singh, agricultural technician with a local agricultural company with expertise in manure, fertilisers and plants – was the expert brought in to answer interactively by computer the latest batch of questions from the farmers.
Anything else you want to say? Children – lots of wonderful incidents today with great children enjoying being photographed and being indulged by their families and all on the Practical Action expedition, from 6 year old Aurit who had to be in, and pose for, every photo and clearly should be a Hollywood star – to 11 and 12 year old Deepika, Gianga and Pabitra (and their nan) who already learned quite a bit of English and had lovely writing. All kids and families have benefitted from the projects we saw – and some of whom now have higher expectations of their future than we would have heard some years ago. When did Nepalese children learn words like ‘handshake’ and ‘high five’? Lots of laughter and smiles – great!
Most memorable moment: At Shree Kamadhenu Milk Co-operative Improved Cattle Resource Centre (phew!) the gentle pride and love shown in the way the men talked bout their cows and touched them, and talked about them.
Best person you met today: At the Grass Cultivation Centre, the man who explained how Napier grass is cut and gave me a root of it. Also the man who invited me to see his new house and his cows but then said actually his wife built the house. And the man who wanted me to see his 600 chickens.
What made you stop and think? At the Dalit village – Chainspur – I thought the cow-funding arrangements surprisingly tight and fast-moving (11 families per month enabled to buy cows) and I guess I began to grasp how much involvement there is from members of groups – co-ops, Practical Action, UKAID, Nepali, community forest user group, etc, etc – and banks, chambers of commerce etc. And at the library, Practical Answers’ support on technical queries – after local experts have been asked to solve issues raised at Community meetings.
Anything else you want to say? Children – lots of wonderful incidents today with great children enjoying being photographed and being indulged by their families and all on the Practical Action expedition, from 6 year old Aurit who had to be in, and pose for, every photo and clearly should be a Hollywood star – to 11 and 12 year old Deepika, Gianga and Pabitra (and their nan) who already learned quite a bit of English and had lovely writing. Ll kids and families have benefitted from the projects we saw – and some of whom now have higher expectations of their future than we would have heard some years ago. When did Nepalese children learn words like ‘handshake’ and ‘high five’? Lots of laughter and smiles – great!