The district of Rolpa in Nepal’s mid-west is made up of stunning, rugged highland. These beautiful hills, however, contribute to many of life’s difficulties. Steep hillsides make it prone to landslides, while poor- quality roads make access to remote communities very difficult. Schools and health posts aren’t easily accessible outside the district centre, and land good for farming is hard to come by. In response to these challenges, INF initiated the EDUCATE [Economic Development of Underprivileged Communities through Agricultural and Technological Empowerment] project in Sunchhahari Rural Muncipality, Rolpa. INF Australia is proud to support this project.

Before commencing any work, INF conducted a rigorous baseline study, surveying four hundred and forty-three families, to find out about the challenges they face living in Sunchhahari. They found that:

  • Annual average income is less than $1,000 per family
  • Daily labouring and agriculture are the primary sources of people’s livelihoods
  • Almost 80% of households only have food available for up to 9 months of the year
  • In local decision-making forums, only 10% of positions are held by women, and there are no positions held by people with disabilities
  • Over 40% of people with disabilities reported being addressed with discriminatory language.

In response, EDUCATE helps communities in Sunchhahari Rural Municipality to take collective action for their own development. It will work specifically with women and people with disabilities so that they are included and can have better opportunities. It will also work alongside communities to help them to improve their livelihoods and food security, including through providing training on climate-resilient agriculture. By forming Self-Help Groups, community members will also collect group savings over time, enabling poor families to save and take low-interest loans to start small businesses and boost family income.

Commencing in 2018, this project is now heading into its second year of five. INF has already established twenty-seven Self-Help Groups, many of which are in communities only accessible by foot. A total of five hundred and forty people are part of the project, one from each household in Sunchhahari. INF has trained Self-Help Group Facilitators, who are local community and group members, and has also raised awareness on the importance of sanitation & hygiene, and the rights of people with disabilities.

While the challenges ahead are steep, the INF team in Rolpa are committed to working alongside the communities in Sunchhahari towards life in all its fullness, as God desires for them. The families of Sunchhahari are equally committed and determined to improve the lives of all.

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Pray for the EDUCATE project in Rolpa. With so much of the community involved, this is a profound opportunity for lives, livelihoods and attitudes to change for the better. Pray also for the safety and wellbeing of staff as they work in remote places.

 

Rolpa EDUCATE is supported by the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program.

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