Improving livelihoods security of socially-excluded communities in Nepal
Project highlights 2008-9
A number of integrated approaches were used to enhance the access to resources of vulnerable communities to improve their livelihood security. Leasehold farming, fish farming, nursery establishment, local poultry and goat rearing practices, riverbed vegetable farming, orientation on retail shop/grocery management, agro processing, off seasonal vegetable and farm training, improving traditional skills and establishment of market centres were some of the activities carried out during the past year. Implementation of these activities have significantly reduced seasonal migration, increased income and self employment, increased production and regular supply of fresh and nutritious vegetables, freedom from indebtedness, diversified livelihood options, reduced burden of women and children from HH chores, increased enrollment of school children, enhanced capacity of local service providers and increased social and political capital.
This was the third year of project implementation. During this reporting period ILISSCON piloted river bed farming in Kailali and Rupandehi Districts appropriate for landless communities living in or near by the river beds. One hundred and eighty eight leader farmers were trained from various farmer groups to help them become Local Resource Persons for replicating and up scaling the good practices. River bed farming is found suitable for off seasonal cultivation of vegetables of cucurbits family. The project farmer groups were encouraged to register with District Agriculture Development Office (DADO) for sustainable acquisition of government services and inputs. After the registration, one farmer group in Rupandehi has succeeded in receiving an irrigation pump set from DADO.
During the reporting period, a total of 13 exchange visits were organised and has helped built confidence of the farmers directly impacting the adoption of certain technologies such as timely use of fertilisers, water supply management and off seasonal vegetable cultivation under plastic house/tunnel. Moreover, intra project collaboration with Practical Action's SABAL project has helped to construct a large market cum collection centre in Kailali District where the local market committee also mobilises resources from Village Development Committee (VDC) and DADO.
Achieving impact at a scale
The total land leased by 69 leasehold farmer groups in project districts reached to 1,302 kaththas (43.4 hectare) till the reporting period. In order to share good practices on leasehold farming approach, the project organised local and national level meetings with district level, private, government and non government stakeholders while at the national level the focus was on policy makers such as National Planning Commission, Ministry of Land Reform and Ministry of Agriculture. Similarly, two farmer networks were formed in Kailali to influence the local level stakeholders for better and sustainable acquisition of private, government and non government services and inputs.
Regular sharing of project plan and progress with the District Development Committee (DDC) and DADO during coordination meeting has helped to bring synergy between similar actions in the districts. Some examples of such initiatives are installation of Non Timber Forest Product (NTFP) distillation unit in Banke involving a number of government and non government stakeholders; awareness programmes on dalits' rights in Kailali and construction of tuin in Doti with financial contributions from respective VDCs.
The project provided financial and technical support for installation of sustainable micro irrigation technologies such as human foot driven treadle pumps and low wattage electric and diesel pumps. With this support 70 hectares of land were irrigated benefiting 1,123 HHs. The project also benefited 1,300 HHs with improved watermills by replacing wooden shafts and pipes with steel shafts and polythene pipes. This modification has increased the efficiency and life of the four existing watermills in Surkhet and Doti. In collaboration with Nepal Agricultural Research Council (NARC) two millet thrasher/ huller machines and 40 corn shellers were provided to two groups in Doti benefiting a total of 130 HHs. Similarly, one cream separator, one sealing machine and two canes were provided to the rural dairy farm run by a dalit entrepreneur in Doti. This support has stimulated local milk production and increased income of the small holder dairy farmers and has enhanced the social harmony by accepting the milk processed by a dalit entrepreneur.
The project continued supporting Kailali Chamber of Commerce and Industries (KCCI) to disseminate market information using local FM radio. Around 60 per cent farmers in the hills of Kailali, Doti and Kanchanpur are using this broadcasted information as the base price for selling their vegetables. To further strengthen the market components the project constructed three resource cum market centres one each in Nawalparasi, Rupandehi and Banke Districts.
Modified bicycle trailers were provided to two farmers and pairs of bicycle twin crates were provided to 60 farmer groups in Nawalparasi to ease transportation of their produce to the local market. Moreover, the project also provided a modified rickshaw ambulance to a mother group in Nawalparasi as per the community demand. The ambulance can run well on earthen as well as graveled roads and has already transported many expecting mothers to nearby health centres.
Securing Food for the Poor programme
This programme aims to reduce the vulnerability of marginalised and disadvantaged communities by ensuring food security and sustaining livelihoods with increased production and incomes through improved natural resource management, skills enhancement and access to appropriate technologies and resources. Interventions focus on land leasing for productive use, water management, capacity development through networking and skill enhancement training, and developing linkages with the government and non government organisations to help access resources for both self food production and income generation.
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).
For more information on Practical Action's work during 2008-9, please see our Annual Report.