Panchkhal Village Development Committee (V.D.C.) is situated in Kavrepalanchowk district of Nepal. Farmers of this V.D.C. depend on agriculture for their livelihood. Most of the farmers of this V.D.C. practices subsistence type of agriculture and they barely meet their basic needs from farming. An average household owns 0.60 ha of land. Major cropping pattern of this region includes rice-wheat-mustard in lowland (irrigated land or khetland) and Maize-Millet-Summer Vegetables in upland (Unirrigated land or Bariland). In the irrigated land or lowland farmer always cultivate rice-wheat-mustard throughout the year. Due to the repetition of same cropping pattern for many years fertility status of agricultural land has severely degraded.
Ecoreach has chosen this project in order to support farmers from this region and make them able to practice sustainable farming system. Diversification of farm activities into high value commercial crop, and processing of agricultural and other natural resources-based materials, is very important to uplift economic levels of the farmers. Their farming system is socially, economically and environmentally weak.
Nepal has a high level of child marriage. According to 2011 population census, more than 2.7 million Nepalese girls gets married by the time they turn 19. Child marriage and human trafficking in Nepal have significantly increased during the post-disaster period. Sindhupalchowk, Kavrepalanchowk, and Nuwakot districts are the neighboring districts of Kathmandu valley which are well known for girls trafficking and early child marriage.
Nuwakot district is situated in the hilly region of the central development region of Nepal. It is one of the remote districts with a high population of the ethnic and marginalized community. Okharpauwa village development community (VDC) is situated in Nuwakot district which is only 17 kilometers from the capital Kathmandu. Two major devastating earthquakes of 25th April and 12th May 2015 have resulted in a huge loss, both of human lives and infrastructure in Okharpauwa. After two years of disasters, locals are still struggling to find proper shelters.
Farming is the main source of livelihood for people in Okharpawa VDC. The farming system is subsistence type which is not even sufficient to fulfill thir daily need for their meal. As most of the men are alchoholic and spend their time gambaling all the economic burden for household activities come under women. Similarly, they are also the main source of labor inputs in farming. Women in the village do all the household activities. Most of the women in the VDC were married at a very early age like 7-8 years. Hence, thye do not have skills in income generating activities. Their daily meals also lack proper nutrition.
Okharpawa VDC (mainly Kagati village) is also well known for several years for child marriage. In the past, girls were married off at the age of 7 or 8. Still, now, girls get married at the early age of 12-15. After the earthquake farmers in this village have a difficult time. They need to struggle even for the daily meal. So, they think their burden could be lessened by marrying their daughters as they will have a fewer mouth to feed. Poverty and lack of social awareness are the main regions behind the childhood marriage. After the great earthquake, the number of child marriage has been increasing. Hence, local government, international organizations and local community based organization have an important role in rising awareness in the communities and providing support. Income generating projects for women would be very effective in this situation. Hence, Ecoreach Foundation has felt the necessity to implement income generating projects for women in Okharpawa VDC.
3. Project Description
a. Brief Description
Income generation skill is very important for women empowerment and social awareness. There are several incomes generating activities suitable for women. After carefully studying the village situation and the educational background, we have decided to start two different training projects. First one is on-farm training (Mushroom farming). Mushroom farming will motivate women on income generating farming system. Mushoroom farming also adds nutrition in their daily meal as it is a good source of protein. Moreover, the mushroom is considered as the substitution to meat which is more expensive to buy. Farmers can easily sell fresh mushroom in Kathmandu as it has high demand.
Jobs like tailoring, garment, and beautician training are mostly liked by Nepalese women in comparison to difficult jobs chosen by men. We identified preference of women in tailoring after conducting a baseline survey and communicating with a resident of Kagati village in Okharpawa VDC. Tailoring teaching project will involve teaching local women and girls to sew clothes. After learning this skill, they can either open shop in the nearest place like in Tinpiple or Kathmandu.
The primary beneficiaries of the projects will be the women of approximately 50 households of the VDC who will get training and certificates for learning. This project will provide training for 50 women. Target groups of the programme will be the young girls and women dalit community (balami). Women are the direct beneficiaries as finally they will be employed by putting to practice their skills and talents. As a result, poverty will be challenged because illiterate women will be equipped with skills.
c. Secondary Beneficiaries
Children and old people would be the secondary beneficiaries of this projects. As women, will fetch some income apart from their daily household activities this will directly benefit the children and old people. After learning the skill of mushroom farming, it will add another source of nutrients in their daily meal. This will directly improve the nutrition of every member of the household.
This project will provide training to women from 50 households. The main goal of this project is to decrease child marriage by strengthening the livelihood of women by imparting income generating skills. Income generative training will directly help villagers to prevent childhood marriage and make them less vulnerable to trafficking. After girls and women start to earn some money by these skills their parents will not feel the burden of their daughters. Also, another goal of this project is also to help in enrich nutrition in the daily diet and improve the nutrition of the children and women. Moreover, the main goal of this project is also to increase the confidence, leadership skills and provide opportunities for self-employment for women in a vulnerable situation.
The main outcome will increase the proportion of skilled women. The number of child marriage will decrease considerably as parents will not feel a burden to their daughters. Women will start to actively invole in income generating activities. Such activities will equip women with skills and become self supported. The widow and divorced women will get more confidence and will be self-efficient. The good economic status will ultimatelly make them less vulunerable to traffickers and also help to reduce early child marriage. This will destroy the belief and myth which makes women inferior and make them more capable.
In six months training period, 25 trainees will receive the training in the first three months and remaining 25 in next three months. The participants will be trained in the training hall rented in a local school in Kagati Village by a master trainer and assistant trainer in Kagati Village.
Mushroom training will also be conducted with 25 trainees in each phase (3 months period). This training will be conducted in farmers filed and for storage shed will be hired or built with locally available material.
After each training students will be awarded certificate by Ecoreach Foundation and will be encouraged to continue their practice by opening tailoring shop or starting a mushroom farming business.
4. Project Management
a. Organization Experience and Capacity
Ecoreach Foundation, Kathmandu branch do not have more permanent staff. So, one project coordinator will be hired. Similarly, two local staff will also be hired for six months to facilitate the project. One Junior Technician of Agriculture (JTA) will be hired for the period of 6 months for mushroom farming training. Similarly, one tailoring training staff will be hired for the tailoring training for six months.
c. Logistic arrangements:
• 20 Sewing machines, bench, chairs, tables, electric iron
• Materials for mushroom farming
• Training materials, Stationeries materials, consumable and non-consumable, tools and equipment, trainers fees, training hall rent
d. Monitoring and Evaluation
Evaluators from Ecoreach Foundation will continually evaluate and monitor the progress of the project. Monitoring and evaluation will be done by regular reporting and monitor the implementation, project coverage and outcomes. Evaluation will be foucused on the need for the target gorups, input methods, and implementation. We also expect our donors to visit the implemented area.
5. Cross cutting issues
Income generating program has been found to be must successful in comparison to other training. Since women are also responsible for the daily household activities, they cannot give full time in other work. So, training like mushroom farming and tailoring training would be helpful to them. Every household has some land holding so; they can easily continue their farming. Similarly, the main market is not that far. Hence, women can have access to market easily. Mushoroom farming can be started with locally available resources. Farmers only need to buy fungal innoculants and plastic sheets. Farmers get rice hay is which is the main substrate for fungus from their farm. So, once farmers learn the skills, they can continue on their own. Similarly, after learning tailoring skills, women can continue their skills and make some income. With only tailoring machine they can open a tailoring shop.
b. Child Protection
This project will mainly focus on response to the recent earthquake to help in child protection by implementing income genrating projects to the affected househld. This project will lave long term effect in life-saving services and strengthen protection mechanisms for women and girls.
c. Gender and Development
This project is mainly focused on women empowerment by proving them income generating training. This project stress on the role of women in economic activities. Our main aim is to help women to actively participate in income generating activities in addition to their daily household activities. This project stress on the role of women in economic activities and development.
d. Environmental Protection
As the households are directly dependent on natural resources for their daily activities after the creation of jobs among women their dependency on the nearby forest will be relatively lower. This will have a positive impact on resource conservation.
e. Minorities and Marginalized
Lower caste and marginalized communities are dominated in the Okharpauwa VDC. Balami are the main inhabitant of this VDC who is discriminated as untouchable. So, our project is targeted for the marginalized ethnic group of Nepal.