Minimising impacts of conflict

Practical Action Nepal

Archive content: please note, this page refers to historic work. Read about our current work in agriculture, markets and food security in Nepal.

The decade-long conflict produced a devastating affect on the livelihood of the people in Nepal. In particular, the agricultural sector, which engaged 80 per cent of the labour force, suffered the greatest with the destruction of agricultural extension and outreach services, input supply and marketing networks as a result of which significant number of households abandoned their farms and homes.

SABAL project works mostly with conflict affected, marginalised and poor dalits, women and youths in Doti, Accham and Kailali districts who have limited access to land and other resources.The overall effect is the rapid deterioration of the agricultural sector and livelihood of the people. Although Nepal is transitioning into relative peace with cessation of armed conflict, the residual impact of conflict is still a major challenge to overcome in order to bring sustainable increase in incomes and livelihoods of the poor.

Markets have the potential to connect marginalised producers to a large number of people and give them access to valuable commercial and social relations, technologies, experiences and assets that can help them escape poverty. The programme is exploring a participatory and systemic market development approach to reduce vulnerability and secure their livelihoods by applying technological, productive and networking skills to engage more effectively in fairer markets.

Objective

Within the strategic period 2007-12, 52,000 people from 10,000 households in six districts have minimised the impact of conflict through involvement in market and livelihood activities.

The Minimising Impacts of Conflict programme aims to improve the livelihoods of poor communities affected by the conflict. It rehabilitates the socio-economic situations of the poor communities by building confidence through mediation and later implementing activities to increase their livelihood. The programme focuses on the promotion of youth peace promoters to strengthen the project's key messages of peace, reconciliation and conflict mitigation along with the promotion of local agro products, optimising marketing and management strategies and addressing under utilisation of potentially valuable and marketable products.


Project: Market Access for Smallholder Farmers (MASF)

Background

According to the National Living Standard Survey conducted in 2004 some 31% Nepalese still live below extreme poverty line. Economic growth, increased levels of production, such as modern industrial technology which aids more production provides access and relief to the poor helping the poor to combat poverty. Investments in modernising agriculture production and increasing its yields are one of the best efforts to reduce poverty.

However, food insecurity and poverty, predominantly in rural areas exacerbated by the soaring food and fuel prices, global economic downturn, volatile markets and effects of climate change increases the vulnerability of the poor and has resurfaced as the foremost development concern.

Nevertheless, along with other agriculture production progresses, the dairy sector in Nepal provides a beacon of hope to millions of rural poor livestock crop integrated farmers. Experts estimate that despite the sluggish economic growth in the last ten years, the dairy sector is poised to grow at more than 10% annually. Approximately 2-3 million farmers and their families are involved in the dairy sector directly and therefore, the contribution of dairy sector to national employment rate is considerable.

To support the growing dairy sector further, Practical Action Nepal Office, with financial support of UKaid through Department for International Development (DFID) is implementing a project - MASF (Market Access for Smallholder Farmers) - Dairy Component in 30 VDC's and two municipalities of four districts in Nepal - Chitwan, Tanahu, Gorkha and Dhading for two years with a budget of £100,000. MASF Project is implemented by a consortium comprising Practical Action and International Development Enterprise (IDE) Nepal funded by UKaid through DFID. Practical Action is responsible for implementing the Dairy component of MASF whereas IDE Nepal is focussed on the agriculture component for a combined total budget of £2,000,000.

Objectives

The overall objective of the project is to reduce poverty of smallholder farmers in Nepal and its specific objective is to increase sustainable income of 10,000 smallholder dairy farmers within two years.

Contact person: Keshav Dutta Dawadi

Read more about the MASF project

CASE STUDY Riverbank farming: a new practice

Chuwa VDC lies near the east west Mahendra highway of Kailali District. SABAL project started riverbank farming in this VDC to improve the livelihoods of freed bonded labours known as Kamaiyaas. Vegetable farming is promoted in two sites of the VDC; Baghmara where 22 members are involved in 'Mukta Kamaiya Bagar Kheti Samuha' and Piparkoti with 28 members involved in 'Charela Bagar Kheti Samuha (CBKS).'

Mature cauliflower field - part of the riverbank farming initiative"In the beginning, our team faced difficulty in convincing the landless to start farming in a riverbank because they did not believe that a riverbank could be fertile enough to grow vegetables," informs Tilak Bohara, Community Mobiliser. "We had to give many examples to convince them to start farming in the banks of Charela River."

The project supported the landless communities to promote cucurbit crops in 1.53 hectares of land. The landless farmers are now mainly growing watermelon, squash, cucumber and bottle gourd. "After planting vegetables they saw the produce and are now confident that they can survive by farming in riverbanks too," states Tilak.

Today the river banks are flourishing with vegetables and the farmers are selling their produce in the markets. "We never farmed in the riverbanks before; initially we did not believe we could. Now, we are able to earn significant amount of money by selling the vegetables. So, we decided to increase the area for farming in the coming year," opines Sashi Devi Chaudhary, Chairman, CBKS.

The notable practice we can see there is the barter system. People come to the production site in the river bank and exchange wheat with the same quantity of vegetables. The farmers are pleased with the land and consider it a gift of nature. This approach has shown that farming at the riverbank can contribute to poverty reduction if we treat it as a resource to benefit landless people.

"We used to work on daily wages and did not know where we would eat our next meal. Now, we do not worry. All the group members have started farming in the riverbanks," says Chhote Lal Dagaura, Chairman of another group. "We are now interested in cultivating vegetables by leasing more land from the earned income but we will need continued support."



VIDEO CASE STUDY Ripples of change - multi-use water systems

The multi-use water system increases access to water for rural and mountainous communities in Nepal through low-cost technology. This video case study, telling the story of Bima Devi Saud, a resident of Ramaroshan VDC, Achham District, demonstates the impact of the technology, which was introduced as part of Practical Action Nepal's SABAL project.

Constructed with local materials, this simple technology solves the problem of water being out of reach - and helps families lift themselves out of poverty. This means that, for the first time in their lives, families have enough water, both to drink and to irrigate the crops they need to survive.

Read more about this technology



CASE STUDY Street theatre combats social discrimination

To raise awareness on 'Peace and Reconciliation' SABAL project has designed a series of behavior change communication activities. One of the key component of this is the-street theatre to increase knowledge and understand the root causes of conflict and the aftermath. Two such events of street theatre have been performed in March 2008 at two different locations of Bauniya VDC in Kailali. The script was designed to educate the communities to help them combat social discrimination and has showcased the process of peace building and reconciliation for social cohesion. More than 500 people were able to view these street theatres in their local communities.

As part of the impact assessment, the project team met Shova Bhandari, a permanent resident of Bauniya-4, Simrana who was happy to share her stories with the team. She says, "The drama has had a major impact in the lives of my community people. Men have reduced their alcohol consumption which has resulted in decreased domestic violence."

It was also observed that the villagers have now started working in groups for community development leaving aside the painful memories of the ten year long conflict.

"What happened during the decade long conflict is painful but now we have to live together and help each other to build a strong community so that all of us can live in peace and harmony," says Shova on behalf of her community.

With the preliminary feedback from the observers, the project expects such performances coupled by other behaviour change communication (BCC) materials to further increase awareness on conflict related issues and shed more light on helping people understand their role insustainable peace building process.


Project: Sustainable agriculture with bazaar for advancing the livelihoods of conflict-affected poor people (SABAL)

This project has now ended

Implementing dates: January 2008 - June 2010
Total project budget: €865,052,44.00
Co-funding: European Union

Practical Action has been implementing the SABAL project since January 2008 with support from European Union. The project aims to improve socio-economic conditions, promote social harmony and rehabilitate the defunct basic service systems.

Read more about the SABAL project | Project highlights 2008-9 | Project highlights 2007-8 | Video

Archive content: please note, this page refers to historic work. Read about our current work in agriculture, markets and food security in Nepal.

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