Our Work in Gorkha, Nepal
The Gorkha district is a seriously neglected part of Nepal due to its remoteness. There is a lack of basic infrastructure including safe drinking water, toilets, electricity, roads, rudimentary health services, and irrigation systems. As a result, Gorkha has some of the highest rates of malnutrition, child mortality, and maternal, neo-natal and post-natal health.
Where do we work in Gorkha?
PHASE began working in Gorkha in January 2007 in the northern region of the district. PHASE concentrated its efforts on four isolated communities which we have now left after successfully delivering our projects.
Since 2013-2014, PHASE has moved to working in communities in southern Gorkha. PHASE is currently working on projects in Chhekampar, Chumchet, Gumda, Kashigaun, Keraunja, Lapu, Manbu and Sirdibas. In these isolated villages, PHASE projects are improving local community health, community education, livelihoods, and child rights.
We recently completed a Baseline Survey of Keraunja in September 2016 as part of our Big Lottery Project which give detailed information about the health, education and livelihoods status of the community. Here you can see that PHASE’s work in lower Gorkha has only just begun.
PHASE Education Project Gorkha
PHASE’s community education project provides schooling to community members who were previously unable to access this service. In Keraunja, a shocking 75% of the community is illiterate and only 10 of over 200 people surveyed have completed their SLC, the Nepali equivalent of GCSEs.
Most children do attend school, but leave at an early age. In our baseline studies, the vast majority of parents believe that children should be working from a young age and this a major barrier to continued participation in education. The realities of rural life in Gorkha, a lack of money, poor quality teaching and an absence of teachers all contribute to dropping out of education at a young age but PHASE is trying to change this.
PHASE has launched the alternative school programme which helps those who have dropped out of school catch up and re-enter the improving local schools. Mingmar is a prime example. She lives in Chumchet, a two hour walk from the government primary school (which is often closed). Her parents can’t afford to pay for her to be schooled and she therefore dropped out of education. Thanks to PHASE’s alternative education programme, however, Mingmar can now read, write and understand Nepali and she understands the importance of basic hygiene like teeth brushing and hand washing and she is ready to re-enter the state education system.
PHASE’s also works towards improving the quality of education too. Our partnership with Nepal Teacher Training Innovations (NTTI) trains teachers to move away from rote learning, gain skills and confidence and think creativity and critically in the classroom. Our former Education Programmes Officer , Fay Beverton, oversaw the success of this project in Manbu, southern Gorkha for example.
PHASE Health Project Gorkha
PHASE currently manages seven sub-health posts in the Gorkha district, with a total beneficiary population of approximately 10,000. PHASE focuses on providing maternal, pre, post and neo-natal care in the communities as the lack of access to health services in Gorkha is a major problem.
PHASE’s community health project has been a huge success in Gorkha. Young girls like 17 year old Mag who was unaware that she should have health check-ups, or 19 year old Sukmaya Gurung who experienced a breeched birth were nursed through their pregnancies by PHASE health workers. Their experience has helped to spread the word about PHASE’s work which encourages women to visit health clinics where they are treated and they are given invaluable information about post-natal care.
PHASE also spreads knowledge about healthy eating and nutrition in Gorkha. Community groups in seven project areas received training, and afterwards, were able to treat mild malnutrition, monitor the nutrition status of children, and make home-based nutritious food for children. Those who attended gained critical awareness of nutrition, which they pass on to other community members and to future generations. This small but fundamental area improves the health of many children and adults across the region in a sustainable manner.
PHASE Livelihoods Project Gorkha
In 2013-2014, PHASE piloted three training events in southern Gorkha with a selected group of farmers. They were part of needs assessment research which allowed PHASE to build a comprehensive training programme for farmers. They are taught about the advantages of different fertilisers, the cultivation of seasonal vegetables, polytunnels, seeds and the advantages of improved irrigation systems.
Dr. Anna Urquhart visited Gorkha in 2013 and she witnessed first-hand an agricultural training day in Manbu, where over 30 farmers received talks and demonstrations about seed planting, propagation and infection prevention. These training days take place across the region and are aimed at helping farmers improve their livelihoods sustainably.
More on Gorkha
Our projects in Gorkha are funded by the Big Lottery Fund and you can find out more about them on their website here: https://www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/funding/search-past-grants/project-details?appid=298399
Find out more about what we do in Gorkha in some of our blogs: