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In Nepal, Agriculture is the main source of livelihood for 66% of people. However, due to the harsh environment in Far West Nepal, food security is not guaranteed year-round. At the beginning of the Start Strong Project, 53.6% of families reported that they were unable to grow sufficient sources of food for most of the year (6 to 12 months of insufficient food). This can lead to malnutrition, which worsens existing diseases and heightens infant mortality rates. To help combat this, PHASE offers multiple activities to help create sustainable changes so that rural communities have stable sources of nutritionally dense foods year-round. One of these activities is off-season vegetable growing.  

Shantikala is a 35-year-old mother with two children. She was provided with vegetable seeds, and the materials and training needed to establish and maintain a polytunnel –  a sort of greenhouse that can be used in harsh climates to protect and cultivate crops. She stated that using the polytunnel is “exciting because, when the winter starts here, then we are left with mostly nothing green.” She has been able to produce her own “tomatoes, cabbage and capsicums, both on and off seasonal” for herself and her family. 

By supporting communities with the resources and training needed to grow their own vegetables, families can make sustainable changes to their agricultural practices which improves access to nutritionally-dense foods and a diverse diet. The project empowers vulnerable members of the communities, such as pregnant and elderly women, to improve their agricultural outputs and thus their livelihoods. 

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