Nepal Irrigation Initiative
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"March 2014 Nepal group shares their experience"
9 Canadian ICOers travel to Nepal to learn, build relationships and help support our friends in Lahachowk. The group from across Canada (Montreal, Edmonton, Vancouver and Campbell River) spent time living and learning with the villagers of Lahachowk. Their generosity will not be forgotten."
The Nepal Irrigation Initiative joined ICO in late 2011, but its history dates back to 1997, when the Nepal Initiative team members, Jen and Brad, visited Nepal for the first time. Jen went back for more hiking the following year, hiring Navin as a porter. Their families formed a lasting friendship. The initiative is made up of a group of friends and family with a common goal--providing assistance to a village in Nepal. The original plan was to help one man and his family in the hopes that together we could then help others. Since August 2008, when ‘the team’ provided Navin with the loan to purchase farmland and a home, much has been accomplished.
Between Sept and Dec 2008, Navin worked tirelessly, consulting with his fellow villagers to determine what type of project would help them most. Following weeks of meetings and discussions, villagers with religious differences, of varying castes and socioeconomic statuses, narrowed their focus to two projects–improved education for their children and irrigation for the farmers of Lahachwok. The villagers determined that irrigation for their farmland made the most sense. With close to 80% of all Nepalese being subsistence farmers, the more robust the harvest, the more prosperous the crops, the more prosperous the farmers, the more opportunities available to the children, including improved education, nutrition, and health, which means a chance at a better future.
The project has been building durable water canals to provide irrigation to land surrounding the 755 households. This will help approximately 4565 villagers and is contributing to dramatically increasing crop yields. The previous canal made of mud and grass is being replaced by a meter wide and half a meter high canal made of cement and reinforced rebar. This greatly improves the prevention of water losses and saves farmers from the work associated with the continuous need to redig and reinforce mud walls from caving inwards and being washed away by mudslides during monsoon season.
With the Nepal Irrigation Initiative, we have many hard working volunteers who come to Nepal to work hand in hand with the villagers on the project. Donations to the ICO Irrigation initiative support the purchase of cement, sand, aggregate and local skilled labour. When donating to the Nepal Irrigation initiative, there is a provision for an individual to donate to help offset the cost of travel for a volunteer to make their way to Nepal to work. The only way a donation will go to help a travelling volunteer is that a certain individuals name is clearly stated on the donation statement/cheque, clarifying that the donation is to help with travel cost. Any donation to the Nepal Irrigation initiative that is not clearly stated as such will go to the cost of cement/sand and local labour.
Before and After: