Improving livelihoods security of socially-excluded communities in Nepal
The objective of the project is to enhance livelihood security and socioeconomic status of vulnerable and socially excluded communities in conflict areas of western Nepal.
Leasehold farming is the main activity of the project. The support activities are concentrated in and around leasehold farmer groups. These farmer groups are further supported to improve their capacities to effectively secure their participation at all level of project management. The project is closely working with District Development Committees and Village Development Committees, government line agencies and NGOs for better coordination and collaboration.
The primary target beneficiaries are food insecure and socio-economically marginalised households (HHs) particularly, dalits, ethnic nationalities, women headed HHs and landless or HHs having 1-1.5 kaththas (500 sq metres) of land. The project will directly benefit 8,000 HHs and indirectly assist 12,000 HHs during the project period 2006 - 2010.
Increased income and employment opportunities
- Securing access of landless to cultivable land through leasehold farming: Leasehold farming is a concept where a group of landless farmers rent out land from a landowner for a given period of time on mutually agreed annual rent. Currently, 680 farmers from 72 farmer groups are growing vegetables and cash crops in 45 hectares of leased land reducing vulnerability of landless, marginalised and socially excluded families.
- Off-farm livelihoods: The project identifies and provides training (along with essential tools) for house-wiring, carpentry, cycle repairing, and motor-rewinding skills. The project further aims to help street shoemakers and rural bamboo artisans by providing them training and materials to enhance their indigenous knowledge.
- Value addition: Traditional water mills are identified as one of the interventions for value addition in the hills. Till date, the improvement work of three water mills in Surkhet is completed benefiting 450 families.
- Development of Local Resource Persons (LRPs): LRPs are trained on different aspects of vegetable production, processing, storage, fish and goat farming, and mushroom production so that they can help their respective group members even after the project phases out. The project trained 188 LRPs and plans to further strengthen their capacities on nursery raising, vegetable production and market research in coming years.
- Business development service (BDS) and entrepreneurship development training: Training on micro-enterprise development is provided to district project staff, who will later train LRPs and farmers to build capacity of occupational castes and new entrepreneurs to adapt to challenging market trends and enhance their income generating capabilities.
- Resource Centres: Resource centres strengthens the capacity of communities and help them be self-reliant. Out of six planned centres, one each in Nawalparasi and Rupandehi is completed. The project also supports the broadcast of daily wholesale vegetable prices in Kailali via local FM radio stations.
Improved access to infrastructures and other basic services
- Complimentary transportation: The project aims to increase access to food production and markets through the promotion of gravity goods rope way and tuin (cable bridge) technologies. Similarly, alternative transportation options such as bicycle trailers, pushcarts and bicycle twin crates are introduced in Terai communities.
Empowered dalits, women and minorities
- Formation and strengthening of saving and self-help groups: 134 farmers groups formed under the project are encouraged and supported to adopt saving schemes. Capacity building training on leadership development, group management/dynamics and accounts/book-keeping are provided to saving groups. The groups are enabled to make its own laws, bylaws and procedures, and prepare community action plans. Farmer groups will be federated and facilitated to register themselves to the District Agriculture Development Office.
Strengthened service delivery capacities of institutions
- Training on monitoring and evaluation: Project staff, leader farmers and stakeholders are provided training on participatory planning, monitoring and evaluation to build their capacity to enhance the participation of target communities to help them collaborate amongst different service providers.
- Exposure visits: The project organises exchange visits among farmers groups and stakeholders within and outside the project areas to share their learning and experiences.
Sharing of project learningswith policy makers
- Participatory videos (PV): 13 PV facilitators from Banke, Kailali and Surkhet are trained on PV production, who will facilitate local communities to produce videos of their own to expose various issues effectively. The prepared PVs can later be used as an advocacy tool to influence policies.
- Dissemination of project learning: Sharing meetings are organised in project districts annually to exchange learning and experiences among NGOs, stakeholders and practitioners and plans to organise one national level sharing workshop at the end of project.
- Advocating and influencing: In order to advocate project approach for inclusion of and endorsement by stakeholders, sharing meetings, learning visits and interactions are organised at district level targeted to local governments, NGOs and district line agencies.
- Monitoring and evaluation: The project team participates in quarterly planning and review meetings organised by Practical Action. Joint monitoring is carried out by nonproject staff from partner organisations.At the beginning of third year and after the completion of project, independent mid-term and final evaluation will be carried out respectively.
The project is implemented in partnership with two NGO partners - Local Initiatives for Biodiversity Research and Development (LIBIRD) and Dalit Welfare Organisation (DWO). LIBIRD provides technical assistance, technical monitoring and training; while the DWO is responsible for social mobilisation and implementation of project activities at the community level.
Project co-funded by the European Union
ILISSCON strengthens farmer’s livelihoods
Raghu Raj Chaudhari, 30, belongs to a Tharu aboriginal caste group. He used to work as a Kamaiya earlier and is free from bonded labour since 2001. He lives with his wife and three children in 500 sq of land given to him by Nepal government in Badariya village, Joshipur VDC in Kailali district.
With no land to farm he worked as a daily wage labourer. The daily income was barely enough to feed his family, his children stopped attending school and he had to borrow money every year during the festivals. Through the ILISSCON project, a leasehold farmer’s group was formed where Raghu is one of the members comprising of 12 liberated Kamaiya farmers.
The project gave NRs. 24,000 (Euro 120) in early 2007 to Jaya Bhola group to lease 24 kaththas (8,000 sq metres) of land for a year and provided trainings on improved methods of vegetable cultivation and nursery establishment. Furthermore, it supplied seeds, fertilisers, water canes, spray tanks and installed a deep boring for irrigation. As an active member of the group Raghu now reaps three harvests a year with each harvest profiting him of NRs 15,000. With this income he has purchased a water buffalo, replaced his rice straw roof with galvanized roofing sheets, readmitted his children to school and has not burrowed money ever since.
“I have been working on farm for the last 16 years but never had the opportunity to learn new methods of cultivation,” he says. “With the training I can now grow both seasonal and off-seasonal vegetables, raise nurseries and harvest vegetables at the right time.”
Jaya Bhola group has further plans to invest part of their income to lease more land in the future. The project will further facilitate farmer groups to register at District Agriculture Development Office (DADO) including other service providing institutions so that they will receive farming materials and services from these institutions for sustainability.
This project was completed in March 2010