In 2016, the Big Lottery Fund (BLF) committed £2 million to Nepal in aid of the devastating 2015 earthquakes. PHASE Worldwide was subsequently awarded a project-based grant over five years and began the Rebuilding Communities project throughout the remote district of Gorkha.
As we enter the final quarter of this project, we felt it was a great time to reflect upon how our work has helped to restore Gorkha’s vital infrastructures, whilst ensuring that marginalised groups have been successfully accounted for.
Since the beginning of its fifth year, the project team have been focusing on promoting long-lasting change by building upon the progress made over the previous four years. This is to ensure that individuals throughout Gorkha have the means to maintain economic empowerment and food security, meaning that PHASE will be able to confidently withdraw and bring the project to an end.
Improved Public Health Awareness
With the emergence of Covid-19, it was crucial that PHASE continued to provide essential healthcare services whilst introducing specific measures to tackle the rate of virus transmission within Gorkha.
PHASE has been running a series of socially distanced activity events to improve knowledge and behaviour towards public health. The events have integrated specific Covid-19 training into more general personal hygiene, nutrition improvement and sanitation awareness sessions. PHASE has successfully provided 86 awareness activities to a total of 315 individuals throughout Gorkha, the most vulnerable of which were provided door to door visits to avoid the risk of infection.
PHASE has continued to provide emergency medicines to health posts to support free primary health care services, emergency services and maternity care throughout the crisis. Maternal health services have had very encouraging participation levels with hundreds of women receiving regular antenatal checks and many having safe deliveries, assisted by PHASE Auxiliary Nurse Midwives.
Empowerment and Sustainability
Over 800 farmers have developed their skills and confidence and now have sufficient knowledge of improved vegetable, poultry, and goat farming. Through continuing to support local farm initiatives, the project has also prioritised the setup of larger farms as well as off-farm vocation skill development to create further employment. Several enterprise focused initiatives have been provided by PHASE throughout this quarter in order to encourage the commercial production of innovative crops such as kiwis, spice crops and mushrooms, along with bee keeping.
Vocational education specifically aimed towards vulnerable groups has been provided over the last five months, including lessons in tailoring, blacksmithing and food production. By focusing on inclusivity, PHASE can ensure that the most marginalised groups within Gorkha are still able to independently gain economic empowerment and develop their careers in the professional sector.
Skills such as hair cutting, carpentry and automobile repair have been provided to youths across Gorkha to improve the rate of employability amongst young people once the project ends.
Livelihoods have drastically improved across Gorkha as a result of this project, with the message of ‘leaving no-one behind’ implemented into all aspects of our work; ensuring that the inclusion of the most disadvantaged groups is a central theme. With the ability to utilise knowledge relating to farming techniques, vocational training and public health awareness, PHASE is confident that individuals throughout the district will feel confident and prepared for our eventual withdrawal.