As a volunteer living in a homestay, waking up every morning in rural Nepal to the sound of birds and animals is the best alarm, and the ray of sunlight in the face feels amazing. Nothing feels better than having tea with your host family in the early morning, sitting on the green grass next to the golden rice field before starting a long day of work in the community.
The community here in Kisedi start their day early by doing household chores and feeding animals. Most of the community people depend on agriculture as their main source of income. They practice sustainable farming. Almost all the villagers grow maize, millet, soya beans, vegetables, rice and coriander. Other than that, they also have livestock such as chickens, goats, and buffaloes for additional economic support.
It’s our sixth week working with the community in Kisedi on our livelihoods project. We start our day by meeting with the team leaders to undertake income growth activities. So far we have completed ten poly-tunnels, which will enable community members to increase their crop diversification and yield, and one goat shed for community people. After we leave, community members will have the necessary skills and knowledge to replicate the work we have completed together and increase their incomes.
We have also organised awareness session around plastic pollution, water, sanitation and hygiene etc. We encouraged the community members, including adults, youths, and children to collect rubbish from the street and around their houses. We were thrilled to see some of the families making their own bins at their home by themselves using bin bags and bamboo sticks. Our awareness sessions have slowly made small impacts in their daily lives and encouraged behaviour changes such as the community’s children washing their hands properly to stop the spread of disease and brushing their teeth twice a day.
These have been coupled with training sessions on farm building improvement, climate change, soil testing, nursery bed farming and building poly- tunnels. With the help of our local project partner WOCHEND, we also worked with the community members on improving the farming methods used and testing which seed is suitable for the soil which have been big successes in this project.
The feedback from the community about our livelihoods work has been positive. A host mother who participated in the programme said, “This is such an effective programme which taught us hard work, teamwork and how we can implement our farming economically in our daily lives.” She further added, “Now I’ll focus on growing tomatoes and making income by selling them”.
Host Country Volunteer Chandeshwori reflects on her own journey: “Before joining ICS I was shy, introvert in nature and had high temper. While making decisions I didn’t have confidence and always used to rely on my siblings. After joining ICS I gained confidence by being a weekly team leader, taking responsibility of events by leading and organizing them. On top of that, it’s my first time that I am away from home for months and living with different people with different cultural background (Now they are family). It has taught me to tolerate others and be more empathetic toward my peers, and I realise value of relation. I am going to take back some sweet memories, the lessons that I have learned, and friends for life as a return gift. I am happy to see changes within myself and in my community. Raleigh has given me so many memories which I’ll cherish forever. I think development is a slow, positive, complex process that empowers people in order to get long term results. Thus, we can’t hope for a sudden transformation within a day but I hope in the near future the people of Kisedi will benefit by the efforts we have made now”.
As a result of this ICS livelihoods programme, transformation has already been seen in both community people and the volunteers.
Stay tuned for next blog…….