Food Programme in Nepal 2020 and 2021

2.6 tons of rice and other food supplies sent to villages in Nepal to help alleviate poverty during Covid-19

 

Food provision in Nepal for Villages suffering from hunger due to Covid-19 Pandemic

To supply food to specific households falling into poverty in Nepal affected by Covid-19.

Portland RC working with Casterbridge RC, Poundbury RC and Okhle Village Trust (Local charity supporting the projects in Nepal that we have worked closely with over the last 18 years)

Describe the project its location its objectives and how they were achieved

The area is the Tanahun District Nepal. This area is in the western region of the country. Due to the lockdown restrictions many households found they could no longer afford or access basic needs including food and hygiene necessities such as soap and have fallen into poverty. We have undertaken water projects in this area in the past and know the area and people well.

At the time of the application, it was estimated there were 219 families in need of food. The aim was to supply as many households as possible with 20kg rice, 2kg Dhal, 1L oil, salt and soap for handwashing. This was done at approximate cost of £12 - £13 per household. With vegetables grown locally this provides their staple diet of Dhal Bhatt (boiled rice, vegetables grown locally to make curry and dhal).

Though commenced before District grants were approved it was accepted that projects may be started before formal approval. The initial purchases were made in May 2020. These funds enabled supplies to be purchased for the neediest villages and were distributed widely through the villages of Okhle, Kotguan, GhaleGaun, Tamakot, Arbaje, Bayapani, Ratanpur, Raipali Bhanyang. With the onset of the growing season in summer this was augmented by the crops grown locally later in the season. The initial contribution was enough to supply 90 households including transport costs. This being spread out and with a contribution from the municipal ward resulted in all the households in need being supplied.

Bimal Gurung, our contact in Nepal, project manager for water programmes over the years, advised us that in the months following more supplies would be needed so the remaining funds were retained for this purpose.

He has identified in recent weeks, amongst others, the villages of Dungeni, Raipali and Jayapani that are now in need of supplies.

As winter is now here the remaining supplies have just been purchased.

Rotarian involvement

Rotarians from the three clubs have been involved in the financing of the needs which Bimal has identified. Bimal, who is also President of the Municipal Ward, is in a good position to know the circumstances and needs of all the surrounding villages.

Rotarians from Portland and Casterbridge had planned to visit Nepal in November 2020 to review our current water project (Samjur) and to investigate any further potential projects.

Due to the pandemic and international travel restrictions this was no longer possible. Our active participation is limited to financial contributions and liaising with our contacts on site via Zoom. (Meetings Richard Backwell OVT, Bimal Gurung, Mark Townsend, Richard Brind and Jane Nolting-May) Although the bandwidth is poor this significantly enhanced our communications.

Non-Rotarian involvement

The partnership with the Okhle Village Trust continues. In this case the involvement is limited to financial contributions

Sustainability

Confirming ownership and responsibility for maintenance. This does not apply here as the funds are used for consumables.

There has been a huge loss of income in tourism and trekking in Nepal in general, and also the villages. The villages we visit are in a remote area. Our visits generate income to the local economy with local spending, food, accommodation, transport and using local people as guides and porters. No other westerners visit this area apart from the occasional trekker we have put in contact with the villages. Therefore, this has been a big blow to the area.

Some villagers are planning a goat farming project and we are actively considering ways in which we can support this as breeding animals for food is a truly sustainable project.

Total project cost

Our original projection was that it could be as high as £2847 and perhaps more if other villages were found to be in need.

We were able to raise £2030. With some assistance from the Municipal Ward this proved to be enough.

How was the project funded?

District Grants received by Portland and Poundbury clubs

Direct contributions by Portland, Casterbridge and Poundbury clubs

Contribution by Okhle Village Trust.