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.