In April 2015, news outlets around the world reported that Nepal had been hit by two devastating earthquakes. One of the areas most badly affected was Gorkha. Here, it was more than just a news story. Homes, farms and schools were destroyed as well as critical infrastructure. The damage left many communities vulnerable to extreme poverty.
In 2016, the National Lottery Community Fund (previously the Big Lottery Fund) committed £2 million to ‘rebuilding’ projects in Nepal. We received a project-based grant to run a five-year rebuilding programme in Gorkha. Three years later, a lot of progress has been made. Here are the most recent updates from that programme as it moves into its fourth year.
We last reported on the progress from this project as it was moving into the final stages of its third year. You can read that report here.
Access to Education
52 teachers in Kashiguan and Keraunja (the two villages participating in this programme), are enrolled in our Teacher Mentorship Programme. The programme has seen improvements made in group-based learning and appreciative communication.
The computer classes established last year are also working well. There are currently 14 operational computers in Keraunja Secondary School and five in Gandaki. Children are learning vital computer skills without having to leave their own villages.
Results from our education programmes are coming back extremely positive. With our support, in collaboration with local school management committees and local government, the quality of education in the region has improved drastically. Students in Keraunja Secondary School recently received some of the highest examination marks awarded in Gorkha.
The artificial pond in Kashiguan has been completed. The pond is providing farmers with a source of water for their crops and will continue to do so despite long periods of limited rainfall. This helps to improve sustainability, allowing crops to be grown all year round.
Additionally, PHASE Worldwide has been working in conjunction with local government to repair a storage facility. The project has been completed in partnership with the Nepali government. This is a good example of the capacity building which takes place in our projects and demonstrates our commitment to withdrawing our support once it is no longer necessary.
Improving Public Health Awareness
On top of our core primary healthcare provision in Gorkha, this project aims to improve public health awareness through a series of workshops, tutorials and activities, taking place at regular intervals. Recently, these have included a village cleaning programme, school health education classes, community health workshops, door to door visits from our trained medical staff and female community health volunteers meetings.
Monthly farmers group meetings have continued as normal. Topics of conversation have included off-season vegetable cultivation, crop disease and pest management, poultry management, seed production and spice crop cultivation.
The most recent developments have centred around fruit production. Several farmers from Kashiguan were trained on fruit production and provided saplings (young trees) for the production of the following fruits:
The PHASE agricultural team also audited hundreds of fruit trees across Kashiguan and Keraunja. Previously planted peach trees and kiwi fruit vines have started to bear fruit which will ripen later in the year. On top of this, PHASE Worldwide has provided additional technical support and follow-up training for activities which took place earlier in the project.
This programme, along with the majority of our projects, has a large focus on female empowerment. Female participants of our public health awareness activities are starting to display more signs of confidence. The women participating in this programme will receive additional support later this year.
Every day we are excited to receive news and updates from our team in Nepal on projects like this. If you want to hear more about our work in Nepal, we recommend you subscribe to our mailing list, just scroll to the bottom of the page. You can find out more about this project and its aims here. For more inspiring stories from Nepal and the UK, check out the rest of our blog.