ASHA Nepal

To improve the health, livelihood, education and socioeconomic status of the children and the community as a whole through: sustainable management of resources; capacity building for groups and individuals; institutionalization and advocacy for sustainable agriculture, food security, and social development.
Feb 26, 2007

February 2007 Update

In 2007, ASHA/Nepal plans to follow-up with women groups that were formed in the last two years by offering training workshops in group and fund management, sustainable agriculture, seeds and vegetable exhibition. ASHA/Nepal will also facilitate team-building exercises including group picnics, folk song competitions and community cleanliness programs.

ASHA/Nepal will take new initiatives in sustaining these women’s groups without external support. These initiatives include establishing market relations between the women and potential buyers for agro-products, activities to improve literacy skills and to strengthen their capacity for loan management and regular group monitoring.

In early January, all three women’s groups have received training in group and fund management to enable women to manage loans among their members. ASHA has also facilitated activities in sustainable agriculture including preparation and use of organic manures, farmyard management and cultivation in slopes and seed saving.

Dec 22, 2006

December 2006 Progress Report

ASHA, based in Nuwakot, Nepal

Funding was applied to a project implemented in Okharpauwa VDC that began in 2004. ASHA has been promoting linkages to local institutions as a way of helping poor women access the formal banking industry from which historically they have been excluded.

• Three groups of 64 women have taken part in trainings on group management and skills building. • They have approximately $330 in own savings to loan to members. (This is a sum equal to one year’s salary for one individual. Approximately 10 women can take loans from these funds.) • Purpose of loans: agriculture, small trade, and emergencies. • Sustainable agricultural training: organic composting and fertilizing training, seed preservation demonstration, seed bank development, intercropping demonstrations, sustainable land management training, and a vegetable exhibition. (Details in downloadable report.)

Topics Addressed in Women’s Groups The women were asked which topics were of interest to them in receiving training and support. The following issues were identified: • Mobilization of the women’s group for social welfare • Leadership development within the group to help play a larger role in the community • Advocacy for women rights • Accessing public funds • Developing skills/ training in agriculture, pest management, seeds saving, manure and fertilizer management, increase productivity in sloping land • Literacy classes (to read and write and perform simple calculations) • Field visits to other sites to learn more organic farming techniques • Fund management (group funds) • Market linkages to sell crops

B) Savings and credit activity • Savings are collected once a month and a loan is distributed at the meeting itself. Members who need a loan make a requisition prior to the meeting. All members are required to save. Approximately 20 women so far have taken loans from these funds. • Average savings per month per person has increased from 40 cents to 80 cents, with some women indicating that they want to save even more. • The interest rate varies from 18% in the Kurilo group to 24% in the Jalukeni and Jaleshwari groups. The repayment period is usually three months.

C) Sustainable agriculture Activities conducted: • Training on compost making, integrated pest management, agro-forestry, fruit and vegetable cultivation, fodder collection, and seed preservation. • Provision of quality seeds for vegetables (cabbage, radish, mustard, pumpkins, cucumber, beans, etc.), cereals (maize), and fruit saplings. • One-day demonstration visit to a sustainable farm and a one-day vegetable exhibition. • Seed bank development- Farmers have limited capacity to select good seeds from the field for subsequent years. (Seed selection is a specialized skill. Not all farmers are adept at this.) For crops such as maize, which is cross-pollinated, farmers have no knowledge of purity. The objective was to provide technical knowledge on seed production, selection, drying and storage. If farmers are able to produce good quality seeds by themselves, they do not need to buy them from the market and can reduce their overhead costs. • The program has helped to improve agriculture practices in terms farmyard manure management, cropping practices (multi-cropping and inter-cropping), and increase in utilization of available land. Many members were conversant in preparation of compost and manure, preservation of seeds, and farming techniques. The members together sold vegetables worth $2,750 in the local market.

Apr 7, 2006

ASHA Update April 2006

Activities carried out

Savings and Credit Groups:

The Kurilo Women’s Savings and Credit Group comprises of 60 women who have been divided into two groups Jalukeni and Okharpauwa. The women have accumulated $200 in savings. This amount is available for low interest loans for such needs as purchase of oil or spices for the household and to meet emergency needs. Three to six women take loans that vary from $5 to $15. As the amount within the group increases, loans will be made for productive purposes.

Sustainable Agriculture Training:

ASHA/Nepal organized two two-day sustainable agriculture training. The first one was a basic training for 15 women and the second a refresher training for 20 women in the second.

The topics covered during the basic training were current agriculture practices and food security, organic farming techniques and sloping land management. The training covered aspects such as nursery preparation, management and plantation of vegetables.

The second training was a follow-up and focused on how the women applied their class room learning and the issues that they encountered. An exhibition was organized where each woman showed off her produce.

ASHA/Nepal distributed vegetable seeds such as tomato, beans, Swiss chard, cucumber, etc. Once the women planted the seeds, ASHA/Nepal visited each woman’s field to see whether they were adopting the practices and to offer advice