Rural energy and transport

Increasing rural productivity

Isolated rural communities lack basic services like transportation, electricity, cooking fuel and proper sanitation facilities. The harsh terrain and the changing climate make it harder for the built-in facilities to sustain which adversely affects the lives of the local communities.

Practical Action is working towards sustainable appropriate solutions to overcome these challenges. It has introduced and successfully demonstrated various complementary transport means such as gravity ropeways, tuins suitable for hill areas and bicycle trailers suitable in the plains, and renewable energy technologies with particular focus on micro-hydro and wind energy benefiting thousands of rural poor.

Part of Practical Action's international "Access to services" programme, the Increasing Rural Productivity programme in Nepal aims to increase productivity of rural people and their access to other basic services and markets through use of complementary transport and energy systems.

Interventions include:

  • the scaling-up of Practical Action promoted technologies, including wire-bridges, gravity goods ropeways, bicycle ambulances and trailers;
  • decentralised renewable energy technologies focusing on the development of wind energy systems and strengthening their manufacturing bases.

An integrated approach is an integral part of this programme promoting partnerships with stakeholders including local governments, NGOs, CBOs, and private organisations at all levels, to increase uptake and help influence and create a progressive policy environment.


Read more about the technologies promoted by this programme


Ropes of hope

Case studies from Practical Action's gravity ropeway and tuin projects in Nepal.

Access for opportunities

A brief project information document

Study to determine outline plans for eliminating energy poverty in Nepal

Practical Action in Nepal has conducted a study to determine outline plans for eliminating energy poverty in residential sector of Nepal.

Chepang village comes to life with solar powered lamps

Chepang village in Bhumlichowk, Gorkha can only be reached by a single-track trail. To light their homes, local families had to buy kerosene from markets located further down the mountainside. It is both time consuming and costly – with families typically spending NRs. 300 a month on fuel. In addition, the kerosene wick lamps (tukis) are dangerous particularly for young children because the lamps are open and kerosene can spill easily igniting fires.

In 2007, Practical Action supported the Chepang community by installing 58 solar powered WLED lamps in 29 HHs providing 4W of light per household per night. When fully charged, these lamps can provide 4-5 hours of lighting facility. Chhabi Lal Chepang has one daughter and two sons. Their home now benefits from two WLED lamps and their life has significantly improved through access to clean and reliable energy. One lamp is used in their kitchen to help improvethe lighting condition for cooking and the other lamp is used by the children to study. Now the children can complete their homework and study in the evening as the WLED lamps emit are brighter compared to kerosene lamps.

Previously, Chhabi’s children would go to bed as soon as darkness fell. He is already seeing the difference that the WLED lamps are making; "these lights are not only improving my children’s study habits, they are also helping me to save money that I used to spend on kerosene," he says.

The advantages of these lamps are numerous and the project also ensures that villagers have a real interest in keeping the systems well-maintained for the future. Chhabi has taken advantage of the system and suggests other villagers to maintain the system regularly for everyone’s benefit.

Project: Access for Opportunities

Implementation dates: 1 February 2007 for 60 months
Total project budget: €1,259,178.00
Co-funding: European Union (59.56 %) State of Jersey and DGIS and Jose Foundation(40.44%)

Practical Action has been implementing ‘Access for Opportunities’ project since 2007 in Achham, Kalikot, Gorkha and Tanahu districts of Western Nepal. The project aims to secure livelihood opportunities for poor and marginalised people in the target villages:

  • by maximising benefits from services;
  • through increased social and economic interactions with external communities and stakeholders;
  • through increasing and diversifying income generation activities (production, processing and marketing of farm products);
  • by gaining additional income from community management of transport services; and
  • by strengthening the capacities of local community based institutions to select, manage, operate and lobby for pro-poor transport services and policies.

The target beneficiaries of the project are socially excluded, disadvantaged and marginalised households, households headed by women, households with disabled members, and internally displaced persons (IDPs) and conflict-affected communities. The project is implemented through its local partners – Centre for Community Development and Research (CCODER), Social Empowerment and Building Accessibility Centre-Nepal (SEBAC-Nepal) and Karnali Integrated Rural Development and Research Centre (KIRDARC)

Objective: To increase the incomes and reduce the marginalistation of poor communities in Western Nepal. The specific objective is to improve the socio economic situation of 14,838 marginalised households within the villages of Achham, Kalikot, Tanahu and Gorkha by delivering improved transport services which will enhance people’s mobility and access to other essential services.

Contact person: Jivan KC

Access for Opportunities
A brief project information document (604 kb)

Project highlights 2008-9

Project: Renewable Energy Village (REV)

Implementation dates: 2006 - 2010
Total project budget: £71,119.00
Co-funding: This project is funded by UK trust funds, Livelihoods and Forestry Programme (LFP), UKaid from DFID and individual supporters

The Renewable Energy Village (REV) project was established in 2006 in few wards of Bhumlichowk VDC, Gorkha District which has now been expanded to newer wards in Bhumlichowk, Devchuli and Dhaubadi VDC in Nawalparasi District. 

REV aims to provide practical solutions to the target villages and demonstrates various low-cost and community-managed renewable energy technologies including solar, wind, biogas along with increasing energy efficiency through promotion of  improved cook stoves (ICS) and SCORE stoves. The project’s concept is very instrumental in raising awareness of beneficiaries to make optimal use of natural resources available to them through use of technological options.

Target beneficiaries of the project are disadvantaged communities including Chepangs, Magars and Bishwokarmas (dalits).  The local implementing partner of REV project in Gorkha is CCODER while the REV project in Nawalparasi is being implemented with an assistance of HICODEF.  The project is working closely with the community members and local bodies i.e. Village Development Committee (VDC).

Objective: The objective of the project is to enhance livelihoods of the indigenous group Chepang by providing practical solutions and demonstrate various low cost communities managed renewable energy technologies to energy poor communities through increased access to basic infrastructure services.

Contact person: Pushkar Manandhar

Read more about the Renewable Energy Village project | Project highlights 2008-9

Energy Poverty Report (Unpublished Draft)

Energy poverty unpublished report
Practical Action Nepal Office recently (August 2009) completed a "Study to Determine Outline Plans for Eliminating Energy Poverty in Nepal". Please visit the link for Final Report (unpublished version)

Previous work under this programme includes the "Low cost wind systems for human development" project. Practical Action has been working in the "Increasing rural productivity" programme area since April 2004. The programme underlines complementary modes of transport and renewable energy services. Further more, the programme maintains a strong network with organisations and individuals with similar goals and works to bring about effective policy changes that promote and upscale these infrastructure services. It has accomplished to deliver complementary transport and renewable energy technologies - gravity ropeways and tuins, microhydro, small wind energy systems and biogas. Programme highlights 2007-8

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