Productive Project Planning Visits for 16J and local villagers

24th July 2016

From the moment you enter Chuwatar via a suspension bridge you are struck by its natural beauty. With every step across you become more immersed in what feels like a different world to the fast pace, noise and pollution of Kathmandu. The green hills and fast-flowing waters of the Trishuli river in this part of the Gorkha region are certainly a pleasant contrast.

Suspension bridge to Chuwatar

The entrance to Chuwatar village

Chuwatar, the village Jane and I and our Nepal Expedition 5 (NE5) team of young volunteers will be living and working in for Phase 2 of Expedition 16J, consists of just 24 houses and 113 community members. The area is one of many in the region adversely affected by the April 2015 earthquake and the villagers are slowly adjusting to getting back to normality and the welcome prospect of improved water systems and a sustainable future.

Our host family: father, Madan Babu; mother, Parbati Regmi and son, Binod, made us most welcome. Daily life in this small farming community consists of tending to the cattle and vegetable crops in order to earn a small income.

'Goreto Khane Pani Samuha’ community group

Sabina (third from right, front row) and Jane (first right, back row) join host family son, Binod, (first left, front row) for a Goreto Khane Pani Samuha community group meeting

Eager to ensure the mutual understanding of the water scheme rehabilitation projects we will be undertaking during Phase 2 next month, we accompanied Binod Pandey, our Goreto Gorkha project partner representative, to a ‘Goreto Khane Pani Samuha’ community group meeting. Formed many years ago, the collective consists of 26 members who are actively working for the benefit of the community.

As smiling 79 year old group member, Dinanath Regmi, put it: “We are very simple living people. I hope we will have better living conditions in coming days.”

16J, NE5's Jane and Sabina with Dinanath Regmi

Jane, left, and Sabina, right, with Chuwatar villager, Dinanath Regmi

A reliable, safe water source has become the greatest need for this village. During our walk around it we saw many pipelines but these were without water. Since damage caused by the earthquake, the villagers have to wait for their turn to fill their water tanks and buckets for daily use. The aim of our Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WaSH) project is make this a thing of the past.

The meeting was an excellent opportunity to learn more about the ways in which we will be working together to dig trenches for new pipework and refurbish existing distribution tanks, pipe stands and taps.

Host family son, Binod, and Sabina social mapping

Host family son, Binod, and Sabina carry out a social mapping exercise at the Goreto Khane Pani Samuha community group meeting

At Raleigh, the health and safety of all volunteers is paramount, and a requirement of our visit was to ensure that all potential challenges or issues were evaluated and considered in detail in conjunction with our project partner, Goreta Gorkha.

The people of Chuwatar have a pile of difficulties with earthquake damaged houses and water distribution tanks, but were so kind, honest and hard-working together for the better of their whole community. They welcomed us  as guests with great happiness and love. I feel I am in the right place at the right time as a Raleigh Volunteer Manager to work collaboratively with the community for a sustainable future.


What’s next?

27 July – 16J Venturers arrive
29 July – 16J deploy to Phase 1 – Trek
5-7 August – 16J changeover – Phase 2: Community
13-15 August – 16I 10 week changeover – Phase 3: Community and 7 week ‘Endex’ (end of Expedition)

Remember, you can contact a volunteer via the online form and why not like our Facebook page?


Photo credits: Jaci Berkopec

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Youth In Civil Society Nepal