PHASE Worldwide works with disadvantaged communities in very isolated Himalayan mountains in Nepal. Through our implementing partner PHASE Nepal we provide integrated health, education and livelihood opportunities.
Our livelihoods training is the third and final stage of our work, after we have introduced our healthcare and education projects to the communities. PHASE offers various training and workshops which increase knowledge of animal husbandry, agriculture and nutrition, and help lead towards a sustainable future through increasing yields, income and health.
PHASE Fact: In some of the most food-insecure areas PHASE supports, acute and chronic malnutrition rates can be from 26% to 80%.
Why does PHASE offer these livelihoods opportunities?
Most families in remote, rural areas of Nepal are dependent on subsistence farming and have few other options for income generation.
This self-sufficient farming is also problematic due to the harsh mountainous terrain and weather conditions – in the villages PHASE supports, less than 20% of the total population have a secure food supply all year round.
These problems are compounded by the inheritance tradition of splitting family land between all sons and, recently, daughters too. This results in land available to family decreasing from generation to generation.
PHASE Fact: In 2014, we conducted a survey of acute malnutrition in children in the far west region of Nepal. The findings showed that –
- Only 12% of children ate leafy green vegetables regularly
- Only 7% of mothers breastfed exclusively up to 6 months
- Only 64% of mothers produced weaning food
- Up to 55% of children were moderately or severely underweight in some villages
What does PHASE do to address these issues?
We provide the communities with cash crops and crop management training. From these, farmers who have access to local markets can sell surplus produce and receive a good supplementary income. PHASE provides a variety of cash crops, including tea, coffee, vegetables, garlic, ginger and cardamom.
PHASE also provides animal husbandry techniques. The rearing and care of goats for profit can be beneficial to the communities. In a society where meat is very sought after, particularly during the season of religious festivals, having a goat to sell once or twice a year may make the difference between absolute poverty and being able to purchase necessities. These animal husbandry techniques, along with the crop management ones, can often double yields.
We offer training to female farmers. PHASE trains them in producing off-season vegetables, as well as teaching them the nutritional properties of each crop, how crop selection can improve family diet and how water use can be maximised. Our staff use model farms and demonstration plots to promote knowledge sharing, train participants in more productive farming techniques and increase understanding of nutrition.
PHASE Fact: 301 farmers from the Gorkha, Kavre and Sindhupalchok districts were trained in enhanced agricultural techniques, off-season vegetable cultivation, and improved seeds and pesticides advice in 2013-2014.
Our staff teach mothers how to rear chickens and care for laying hens. We offer this opportunity to mothers, especially those of very young children, as it can ensure there is high protein food for their offspring and contribute to cash income for the family. Our livelihoods training opportunities closely tie in with many of our Health programmes.
We have been working with community groups to establish savings groups and micro-credit schemes since 2011. This is a natural progression on from our literacy classes for adults (see our Education page). Members of the communities participating in this project have an established group structure coupled with the skills which allows them to improve their own livelihoods.
PHASE Fact: In 2013-2014 PHASE treated 2,000 goats with de-worming medicines.
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