Improving livelihoods security of socially-excluded communities in Nepal
Project highlights 2007-8
Improved income and employment
To improve the income and employment of the beneficiaries, various approaches have been applied in the project. For example, 680 households have benefited from leasehold farming with training and marketing support. Vegetable production training has benefited 147 individuals and vegetable vendors, and training on marketing to 20 women has resulted in engagement in group marketing. There is a visible, positive and encouraging impact through leasehold farming. In the past one year, farmers have doubled their earning to NRs 7,000 (£54). As a result of this income, 680 farmers comprising of 72 leasehold farmers groups are currently leasing 45 hectares of arable land for a four year period. This trend is likely to increase in the future with farmers making more profits.
The project has promoted mushroom cultivation as one of the sustainable livelihood options for landless people since it can be grown inside their house using rice straw which is found in abundance locally. Based on the growing demand for edible mushroom in urban areas the project trained 30 landless farmers from two groups on improved mushroom cultivation in Rupandehi and assisted them by providing mushroom spawn and drum for mushroom growing. In order to enhance the product marketability, the group has started to package and label their mushroom resulting in increased sales. On an average, each participating families have earned NRs 2,000 (£15) in six months.
A five-day ToT was organised for 24 project facilitators to enhance their capacity on group management and leadership using the sustainable livelihood framework. After the ToT, the district project team designed, implemented and facilitated saving and credit mobilisation training for farmer group members. Similarly, 188 farmers received the leader farmers' training during this reporting period. As a LRP (Local Resource Person), these trained farmers are expected to contribute towards the sustainability of the project interventions.
Altogether, 1,046 farmers from different vegetable production groups participated in three-day training on off-season nursery management and vegetable production. Additionally, 587 farmers received skills training on soil and fertiliser management, compost making, sowing time, nursery management and method of planting, off-season vegetable production practice, disease and pest control and use of local pesticides. Besides training, they also received orientation on cost benefit analysis and marketing skills development of local produces.
Seventy-eight youths participated in off-farm skill development training from SKILL Nepal.1 The project assisted the trainees by forming groups to exchange information and establish networks. The groups meet once every two months and this meeting is also attended by project staff. By the end of the reporting period all house wiring trainees have been engaged in new profession in their respective villages. Out of 10 motor-rewinding trainees, two have started their own business and five trainees who had undergone four months black smith training have now started their own workshop in Attariya of Kailali district. The project also supported the trainees by providing necessary tools and equipment to help them start their own businesses.
To promote knowledge sharing, the project introduced Participatory Video (PV) as a communications, monitoring and advocacy tool. With the introduction of PV the beneficiaries are seen to be empowered in communicating their messages within and outside their community and address some of the local issues. Practical Action conducted a two week facilitators training on PV approach for 13 representatives from Banke, Kailali and Surkhet districts. The trained PV facilitators are closely working with the project and SHGs. During training, the communities produced two videos with the help of facilitators. In addition to using these videos as policy advocacy materials, the videos are also used for demonstrating project's approaches and success, and to document the project processes.
In March 2008, the project organised an exposure visit for leasehold farming groups to Practical Action's gravity goods ropeway projects in Dhading. The ILISSCON project also has plans to install gravity goods ropeways in project districts to increase market access for rural producers. Project learning and experiences are regularly covered in local FM stations, leading newspapers and regular publications of the project partners. The project cases are also disseminated to the European public through Practical Action's direct appeal. Future plans are to share the project's learning and its approaches to a wider audience through Practical Action and other network member's website.
Altogether, 1,440 HHs affiliating to 139 farmer groups have formed saving groups. These groups are saving NRs 5 (£0.04) to NRs 20 (£0.15) per month per member with some groups opening bank accounts at their convenient locations. Out of the 139 farmer groups, 37 farmer groups are formed by women and the groups comprise 54 per cent dalit members. The has also project provided training for group leaders to enhance their knowledge, skills and efficiency for effective group management and leadership.
Altogether the project has organised exposure visits to 86 leader farmers, partner staff, government line agencies' staff and users to introduce new technologies, market system, successful production, harvesting sites and enterprises. In addition, 949 farmers have participated in 37 community exchange visits and have interacted with local users committees, which helped them gain knowledge on technology and management modalities. Farmers now report feeling encouraged and motivated to start vegetable production by using plastic tunnels and have learned efficient ways of water collection and its uses. They also learned vermi-composting technology, production of tomato and summer squash, and labelling and costing technologies/methods.
In Kailali, the project collaborated with KCCI, Helvetas/Elam Plus, IUCN and World Vision to disseminate market information using local FM radio broadcasting daily vegetables wholesale prices. This has benefited vegetable producers, wholesalers, retailers and consumers alike. It is estimated that around 1,000 small and marginal farmers are benefiting from this initiative.
This year, the project provided financial and technical support for installing sustainable micro-irrigation systems. These systems included foot-driven treadle pumps, low capacity electric and diesel pumps and plastic pipes. Altogether 70 hectares of land belonging to 1,023 families are irrigated through installation of 546 sets of treadle pumps, 27 diesel pumps and 17 electric pumps. The beneficiaries are also receiving benefit from the government's subsidy on electricity tariff for agriculture. After installation of the systems, training on use and maintenance have been provided to the users. In hilly areas of Surkhet and Doti, the project has supported farmer groups by providing plastic pipes and tanks for irrigation
To further support the farmers, two Resource Centres are established in Nawalparasi and Rupandehi which provides services to 2,500 people. The Resource Centres are designed as a market place and information/input centre for farmers. The infrastructure comprise of a raised open place for market, one room for office, price display board, telephone and an agro-vet clinic. The local marketing committees have taken the responsibilities of managing the Resource Centres. These centres are constructed in partnership with other local stakeholders.
Improving Livelihood Security of Socially Excluded Communities in Nepal (ILISSCON)
Practical Action Nepal Office is implementing the Improving Livelihood Security of Socially Excluded Communities in Nepal (ILISSCON) project since April 2006 with co-funding support from the European Union, Caterham Overseas Aid Trust, Enid Linder Foundation, Hodgson Charitable Trusts and others. The project aims to increase the income of the land insecure, vulnerable and socially excluded households (HHs) by diversifying livelihood options in six conflict affected districts - Banke, Doti, Kailali, Nawalparasi, Rupandehi and Surkhet in western Nepal. The target beneficiaries are dalits, minority ethnic nationalities and women headed HHs who posses less than 500 sq metres of land. Project component includes land leasing, capacity building for production, production diversification and enhancement, and technical and managerial assistance to target communities with the help of small but innovative technologies. The project is implemented in partnership with NGOs - Local Initiative for Biodiversity Research and Development (LIBIRD) and Welfare Organisation (DWO).