I’m Going to Nepal & I Need Your Help

by Rah-ed Ghuma

I have noticed you for some time, lurking behind your computer monitor, yearning to learn more about international development. You probably want to feel connected to rural communities internationally and learn how you can make a difference, right? You don’t know me, so please don’t be alarmed when I ask you this, but I really need your help.

Nepal is one of the most food insecure countries in Asia. (According to the World Health Organization, “food security” means that people have (1) sufficient quantities of food, (2) sufficient resources to obtain nutritious food, and (3) knowledge of basic nutrition and care, as well as adequate water and sanitation.) In some cases, families in Nepal only have adequate access to food for 3 months out of the year. For the remaining 9 months, families are separated as community members scatter to provide enough income to meet their basic needs. Lacking access to food forces families to make tough decisions: children may not be able to attend school, and health care is economically out of reach. In response, LWR is working with LWF-Nepal to increase the number of months that a family has access to food. We do this through a mix of improved agricultural practices and livelihood training.

Second, many communities live in the valleys and hills that surround the Himalaya Mountains. These communities are extremely vulnerable to the effects of flooding, earthquakes and landslides. Nepal is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to the risks of flooding and landslides. The Kathmandu valley experiences an earthquake roughly every 75 years. The last one hit in 1934, which means the next one is scheduled to hit any time. Our partnership with The National Society for Earthquake Technology (NSET) aims to reduce the vulnerability of communities to these risks. Aimed at Disaster Risk Reduction, this project empowers the community, health institutions and local governments to create policies that both reduce the risk and respond to these potential hazards.

Finally, deforestation remains a huge concern for the government of Nepal, and they recently instituted a two month logging ban. In the Lamjung area of Nepal, community members scrape out a living in the forests. The trees are cut down to sell as lumber or as fuel for stoves. In order to reduce people’s dependence on lumber, we partner with COPPADES and use an innovative mix of small hydroelectric dams, biogas and solar panels as well as fuel efficient stoves to assist communities in their energy needs. Additionally we will train communities in off-season vegetable cultivation, bee keeping or goat rearing, thereby reducing the need to use lumber to supplement their incomes.

Throughout the next couple of weeks I will be traveling to Nepal to visit these various projects and will be sharing what I find on this blog. (Don’t tell anyone, but my trip does include a 6 hour hike through hill country. Despite my best promises to myself I have not gotten in shape.)

Do you have questions about LWR’s work in Nepal?

Do you want to know more about life in Nepal?

Type your questions in the comments below and I’ll choose some to take with me on my travels and ask people I talk to.

Sounds simple enough right?

Check back here over the next couple weeks and I’ll post their answers.

Rah-ed Ghuma is LWR’s Program Associate for India, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Palestine.

  • Shaun Duvall

    I would like to know what are some of their most loved foods, and what they want to know about us.
    I'd like to know if there ever would be an LWR study tour of Nepal.

  • Shelly

    I would like to know more about how women are both celebrated and/or limited in their culture. Do they have gender specific roles? Are opportunities for women limited or not? What could we learn from them and what could they learn from us?


  • Chrissy

    Has LWR ever partnered with local healthcare clinics or facilities to increase access to basic healthcare for these communities? Has LWR been involved in promoting education of these skills for community members to offer basic healthcare?

  • Anonymous

    We know about many of the challenges Nepal is facing right now. In spite of that, what about their country or culture do they take pride in? What are the great parts about Nepal that we never hear about?

  • Anonymous

    What is Nepal's response to Tibet? Are refugees received and how are they integrated into Nepalese culture?

  • Adam Copeland

    What songs are the "heart songs" of the Nepalese people? What do people sing while they worship? And what do they sing while they work?

  • Lutheran World Relief

    Thanks for the great questions so far! They're amazing.

    Are there any questions specific to one of our projects?

  • Megan Thorvilson

    How have the communities responded to the lack of health care related to the food shortage? Specifically, what healing practices and rituals have grown out of the community's need to be creative in terms of health care?

  • Anonymous

    What steps is the government taking (besides the ban) to combat deforestation? How do people personally feel about the deforestation and the measures being undertaken to address it?

  • Sue Keehn

    I am curious what environmental health concerns there are (insects, animals, clean water, etc.) When you go on your 6 hour hike, what do you expect to encounter? Also, what are the traditional threads (daily rituals, customs, rites of passage like adulthood or marriage) that are common to all people of Nepal? Is there a small loan system in place that might help develop some individuals make a living by starting their own business of some kind?