|Geographic coverage||Jhule, Hawa & Mirge VDCs of Dolakha District|
|Project duration||July 2010 to June 2016|
|Budget||NPR 1,79,46,367 (for three years)|
|Funding partner/s||Hilfswerk der KatholischenJungshar (DKA)|
|Target groups||Direct HH: 600, Direct Population: 3200/ Indirect HH: 1145 Indirect Population: 5950|
Rural Reconstruction Nepal (RRN) has been implementing the project entitled "Women’s Empowerment through Community Based Sustainable Livelihood Enhancement" since July 2010, which has been expanded in the form of phase II (July 2013 to June 2016) with the financial grant of Hilfswerkder Katholischen Jungshar (DKA). The second phase of the project is being implemented in three VDCs (Hawa, Jhule and Mirge) of Dolakha, Nepal. The key aim of this project is to build an enabling environment for self-reliance on socio-economically sustainable development of the rural women. The achievements towards its objectives and goals are impressive so far. The success of the project to set an example for awareness raising among rural women on women’s right and development issues and achieving significant improvement on their economic and social empowerment has been applauded.
The overall objective of the project is to create an enabling environment for the local - communities (especially women) to make them self-reliant through the provision of various sustainable rural livelihood based vocational and skills as well as institutional capacity development training and to enable them to venture into the economic mainstream. The specific objectives are to:
- enhance awareness on right based development approaches and strengthen local farmers’ institutions,
- contribute to enhancement of the livelihoods of resource poor and marginalised women peasant farmers, and
- establish VDC level Resource Centre (VRC)
- Institutionalisation of women’s/ smallholders groups and cooperatives, enhanced awareness on right based development issues for active participation in decision-making and running agro-enterprises and agro-business.
- Increased incomes of rural women/smallholders by diversifying crops and increasing agricultural production and livestock raising (goat and pig)
- VDC level Resource Centre (VRC) established for community-level planning, locally accessible inputs, approaches and technologies in the promotion of small-scale agri-business and agro-enterprises including improved livestock raising
- Once the project introduced cardamom nursery, the farmers of Jhule VDC have started the campaign "Ek Ghar Saya Alaichi”. Subsequently, every house of Jhule VDC is engaged in Cardamom farming. Furthermore, more than 35 cardamom nurseries are established after the project intervention. Hence, Jhule VDC is going to be established as a resource centre for Cardamom Nursery soon.
- Formation of SHGs has helped women farmers for their self-empowerment and their participation in social works. For example, Baalutthan SHG of Mirge-1 has taken initiative to construct the community building and it involved in social activities, such as road maintenance and community sanitation programmes.
- The VDC allocated budget for women related programmes was used for a different purpose of infrastructure development previously, but when the project achieved its goals for women empowerment, the budget is being mobilised on women issues, such as improving birthing centre, running awareness campaigns, etc.
- The women farmers used to focus on mono-cropping and conventional farming practices before the project was initiated. Nonetheless, farmers, like Laxmi Karki, Nirmala Tamang and Tara Pakhrin are now involved in the commercial farming of high-value crops, such as onion, ginger, garlic, cardamom, turmeric, chilly, tomatoes, etc. They have become a source of inspiration to other women farmers in the village.
- The project covers the livestock management training, breed improvement and improved goat shed. With the inspiration of these programmes, 58 households from Hawa-9 have started community goat farming, by raising a minimum of Rs. 5,000 per household. This is one of the greatest impacts of the project towards commercial livestock farming.
- The women farmers own 3 community nurseries in each of three VDCs, by raising the seedlings of onion, bell chilly, tomato, etc. and earning a good income through the sale of seedlings. In community nursery of Mirge, the income generated from the sale of seedlings has been used in the building of shelter houses in post-earthquake condition.
- 12 REFLECT sessions that were conducted on different SHGs became a forum for about 282 women to discuss and debate several social issues. In the case of Hawa VDC, women campaigns, such as Women's Day, 16 Days of activism against gender violence, etc. were introduced and organised by the project and now the women group organises such campaigns every year as a sign of sustainability.
Impact on GESI and Environment
- The GESI concerns have been addressed in almost all project activities as the project itself is entitled "Women's Empowerment Project". The target group is only women, about 99% members are women in the self-help group and 95% project beneficiaries represent the women, including 50% of beneficiaries represent ethnic groups (Tamang and Sunuwar) and Dalits.
- Each user committee has been formed with 90% of women representative with the key posts. Under their leadership, they have been demanding and implementing different infrastructure activities, such as the construction of community building, irrigation facilities, etc.
- 564 women among the total 602 participants have received different pieces of training, such as skill development, integrated pest management, preparation of organic fertiliser, livestock development, vegetable and high-value crops, etc.
- The project has been supporting for integrated pest management and preparation of organic fertiliser that support for organic farming, which reduces the risk of environment degradation (water, soil, air) and health hazard from chemical fertiliser and pesticide.
- The project is highly concerned about environmental calamities and changes and has been involved in mass scale plantation of Amriso and Cardamom saplings in landslide prone areas after post-earthquake condition.
- Capacity building activities, like training, lecture sharing, exposure visits, method demonstration, etc. are the foundation for the economic empowerment of farming communities.
- Women's active involvement in agriculture is important footstep for the overall agricultural development of the society, as many of the women in the project area are directed towards commercial farming after project intervention.
- Coordination with line agencies and other organisation helps to minimise duplication of the project activities and resources sharing and the transparency in project activities helps to receive community support.
- The regular meeting of women SHGs and the group recommendation is very effective for need identification and beneficiary selection for input support.
- Women empowerment is simply not about providing the human rights, but in fact, it is a pathway for sustainable development and it is not the one that could be rapidly achieved; it is a slow and gradual process or change.