Farmers are moving from pure subsistence farming to commercial farming - Chakra Chand, Livelihood sp
Dr. Chakra Chand worked with Rural Village Water Resources Management Project from, 2007 to August 2018 as a Sustainable Livelihood Specialist. During the project period, he did his PhD inspired by- and learning from the Project communities.
Q1. What are you proud of having done and contributed to during your time with the RVWRMP?
RVWRMP is a life changing project. It remained successful in service of the people with zero influence of the politics. I am proud of having worked in such a fair and open climate with people having very little or no access to WASH opportunities. We have introduced many localized and doable low-cost climate smart technologies for the promotion of livelihoods of the poorest people. The use of human urine in vegetable production was successful: on average, 28% of the households involved in our livelihood activities adopted the use of human urine in the project communities.
"We introduced the marigold strips in the garden as a natural repellent to insects"
We have spread the practice of improved composting with bio-waste and cow dung & urine, the production of liquid fertilizer-which is a mixture of medicinal plants, bio-mulching. We introduced vegetable production inside poly house (ed. green house) with stone fencing. We introduced the marigold strips in the garden as a natural repellent to insects and we built traps for the insects. I worked with farmers to teach them to work with drip- and sprinkler- irrigation system. Another change we promoted was the productive use of waste, and use of overflow water from the water supply. All these practices have improved the traditional farming system in almost all the project communities.
Q2. What are the biggest changes you have observed in the life of the people in the Far-West and Karnali Provinces during the time with RVWRMP?
The most noticeable and biggest changes I observed is that the people of the project suffer less from the waterborne diseases and malnutrition. This outcome is confirmed by data from Health posts. There is a remarkable decrease of disease incidence compared to the pre-project period.
"...women can make decisions to spend the income as needed"
Women and disadvantaged people have now more confidence and space to claim their rights. For example in the Thalara Municipality, Serala Village, Bajhang women have 1.8 million for the empowerment of women and Dalit communities from the RM this year. Even after my departure from the project I have supported the women group with a workplan. Women are able to continue low cost livelihoods options. Their household income is increased and women can make decisions to spend the income as needed.
Farmers are moving from pure subsistence farming to commercial farming; using low cost technologies, producing a greater variety of crops to improve the diet; there has been an increment in school enrollment of the children and reduction in the drop-out rate; people can celebrate the festivals with their own income; use of safe water and sanitation. Now most of the households involved in the livelihoods activities have food, and cash to meet their survival threshold and some small saving.These are the outcomes of the improvement in natural, physical, human, knowledge and financial capital related to improved livelihood status.
Finally, this has changed the livelihood status of the people.
Q3. What is your message to the staff that will continue working to improve the conditions of the people in the Far West and Karnali?
"Rural people in Far West and Karnali regions are inspirators of the development workers"
Rural people in Far West and Karnali regions are inspirators of the development workers.They have a lot in their minds and hearts and need some support to bring it out. I would like to say that RV-ians can unleash much of this capacity working together with them, learning from them. The Project can further harness the strengths of the community institutions, building on the expectations and support with capturing the opportunities coming their way.
What will you miss most of RVWRMP and the Far West Province?
I am missing the team spirit of the RVians, the working approach of the project and absolutely honest and hardworking rural people of the project area.
"I am missing the team spirit of the RVians"
I have one recommendation and hope and that is that project would have a more gender balanced team and can retain a handful of strong women.