The Nepal Trust

Working with health, community development and hope in the Hidden Himalayas. We work with local communities, government and NGOs in improving and implementing basic health care provision in remote areas, develop and conserve community infrastructures that contribute towards conservation of nature and culture and promote and create income generating opportunities to support the local economy with the aim of enabling sustainable projects, reducing poverty and improving the quality of life.
May 4, 2015

Urgent help delivered.

Total distruction
Total distruction

Over the weekend the Nepal Trust with the Nidan Hospital and our collaborative community partners visited Sipa Pokhari VDC in Sindalpalchowk district. There are 9 villages in this VDC with over 600 residents. Whole villages have been destroyed and no one had visited the area up to this point.

Tents had been collected from Dharan near the Indian border and together with food, medical supplies and other urgent needs were driven for several hours to the nearest roadhead. Local community volunteers arranged for motorbikes to transport the supplies to the more remote villages.

The medical volunteers focussed on the health issues while the rest of the team distributed shelter, food and other essential items. 150 tents and 50 tarpaulins, more than 2000kg of rice and large supplies of biscuits, chura and noodles, etc, were distributed.

A Nepal Mandal Television crew were also taken a long so that the desperate state of the villages can be brought to a wider audience.

Fresh supplies of tents are due to arrive from India tomorrow. Money is in urgent need to pay for all these supplies and essential materials. Please pass on this information to your friends and family and encourage them to donate. 

Our Home!
Our Home!
Distributing supplies.
Distributing supplies.
Feb 26, 2015

Opportunities.

A home visit.
A home visit.

It has been a particularly long hard winter with heavy snowfalls blocking the high passes and trails. Life goes on albeit with limited manoeuvreability. The clinics continue to function and the two new Birthing Centres at Bargaun and Sarkegad will soon be fully functioning and helping to reduce the very high infant mortality rates in this remote corner of the world. A third Birthing Centre at Yari has a funding shortfall and can only start once the gap is filled. A summary of clinic records can be found at the bottom of this report. As always, the principal health problems are mainly intestinal, respitory and skin disorders normally as the result of poor hygiene. This is where our Little Doctors programme is making a difference by teaching young schoolchildren the elements of good health which they are then encouraged to pass on to other members of their families.

At this point it is worth considering the role of health care in these isolated and remote areas. There is little doubt that focusing on health is very important and saves lives but by itself and without sustainable economic development the future will remain bleak and lead to increased migration away to better economic opportunities. That is why the Nepal Trust operates in a fully integrated way to create opportunities for an economically better lifestyle. In partnership with our health initiatives we have focussed on renewable clean energy by building a number of hydro electric schemes and solar energy schemes. These together with energy efficient cooking stoves also help to reduce respitory diseases caused by oily lamps and smoky fires. We have, so far, improved living conditions for over 10000 people and 1500 households. Our new RE Service Centre is providing a support service and skilled job opportunities for local people.

As old economic systems collapse new ones have to be created to retain and support the population. Income generation is, therefore, very important. For a number of years the Nepal Trust has been helping to develop and support the Great Himalayan Trail (GHT), now one of the great trekking trails of the world, to bring tourism to this previously unknown corner of Nepal. The impact is huge as new lodges, guesthouses and campsites pop up. We continue to support this exciting initiative through a major project to help small farmers learn new methods and develop fresh ideas for agricultural production to meet the new demands of increased tourism.

There is little doubt that heritage and culture help to bind a society and keep it together. The rich history and culture of north west Nepal - the Hidden Himalayas - is unique and of major importance. The Trust has supported it in many ways. The rebuilding of Raling Gompa, so important to Buddhists and Hindus. The renovation of Halji Gompa in the beautiful Limi valley - probably the oldest gompa in Nepal and the renovation of the gompa at Muchu on the main trekking trail to holy Mount Kailash in Tibet. A healthy mind and soul helps towards a healthier lifestyle.

These are some examples of how the Trust is helping the local people to develop economically and eventually support themselves in a new and vibrant society. A new road is slowly creeping down from Tibet and will, no doubt, have a major impact but it will be many years yet before completion. Meanwhile as our project title says, we create new opportunities to help raise living standards. It is no great benefit to make someone better if they have no money to purchase a bar of soap and so the cycle starts over again!

Health Worker ANM Jaya Devi
Health Worker ANM Jaya Devi

Attachments:
Nov 26, 2014

Expert volunteers are very important.

Donya and Yeshi with our team in Humla.
Donya and Yeshi with our team in Humla.

Food and nutrition insecurity is a persisting public health threat in developing countries and at the same time a complex field to study. Food security is all about the basic human rights of food, care and health.

The ‘Asia Enigma’ or, food scarcity and malnutrition amidst plenty, is a problem in South Asia, from which women and children suffer the most. Nepal, at the World Food Summit in 1996, aimed to reduce the number of undernourished people by 50% by the year 2015. The food security situation is improving but one third of the households in the mountains experience inadequate food consumption compared to the rest of Nepal.

Nepal is currently the third poorest country in Asia after India and Bangladesh;
Humla, a post-conflict area that was heavily affected by the Maoist insurgency and where the Nepal Trust has been working for over 20 years throughout the conflict, is one of the poorest districts in Nepal and thus in the world.
Combined with its harsh climate and the fact that only 1-2% of the land is arable, Humla is a highly food insecure area which relies on food assistance and subsidies (mainly rice) from the Nepalese government and its development partners. Today the consequences of the conflict can still be felt and combined with the food security situation it complicates the health situation and living circumstances of the people of Humla.

In addition, Humla faces many problems in the area of health, which is mirrored in the high rates of infectious diseases, nutritional disorders and maternal and perinatal diseases. It has a relatively high fertility rate compared to the rest of Nepal (6.2 vs. 2.7 respectively). High fertility is often linked to maternal mortality in the prenatal and postnatal stage, but especially during childbirth. Reasons are low access to good quality care before, during and after pregnancy and the fact that only 2% of the births are attended by a skilled nurse. Women are normally expected to give birth outside the home often in outbuildings or cowsheds

Moreover, many women continue to keep working during pregnancy and lactation which increases the chance of serious health problems. Maternal mortality is closely linked to malnutrition, also considering that the period of pregnancy and lactation requires more nutritious food. Risks of malnutrition for girls and women prevent them from reaching their full growth potential, and they will, thus, be deprived for the rest of their lives.

Nutritionally stunted mothers have a higher risk of giving birth to low weight babies and statistics from the Nepal Demographic and Health Survey show that over one third of the women of reproductive age in Humla were anaemic and more than 20% were underweight. 60% of children under five years old were stunted, 15% severely underweight, and 53% anaemic. In addition, under-five mortality rates are extraordinarily high, with over 40% of the children dying before they they reach the age of five.

Women in general are often being disfavored in terms of food allocation, especially in their reproductive years, when their social status is low. Combined with the pressure to marry and work hard, female adolescents and menstruating, pregnant and lactating women are often the ones that are most disadvantaged.

 As part of our health strategy to focus on these high-risk groups in Humla (especially women and children) the Nepal Trust has currently started to build a chain of birthing centers, linked to our already established health posts, with the aim to tackle these high infant mortality rates and maternal mortality rates and to decrease the number of women that take themselves into cow sheds to give birth to their babies.

As good nutrition is, amongst other factors, the basis for maternal health child, and infant feeding and caring practices are the basis for good child health. So it is important to take this into account in order optimize the functioning of these birthing clinics, primary health care services and food security programs. As detailed information is often lacking about the health and nutritional status of women and their children and also to gain better insight into problems women face before, during and after childbirth, we are currently conducting a detailed study to address these issues.

Donya Madjdian, a masters student in Health and Society, from the department of Sociology of Consumption and Households at Wageningen University and Research Centre in the Netherlands is currently doing her research internship at the Nepal Trust whereby her main assignment is to conduct a comprehensive study related to Gender, Family and Intra-household Allocation of Food patterns in Humla as part of her masters course.

The overall goal of this study is to gain insights into the relationship between intra-household allocation of food including feeding practices of infants, and the under nutrition of women of reproductive age and infants in two villages in Humla, in order to optimize the functioning of birthing clinics and food and nutrition security programmes, with the ultimate aim to improve the health and nutritional status of Humli women of reproductive age and their children.

Donya has spent several months in Humla, and is currently working on her final report. In Humla Donya was assisted by Yeshi Lama, a female student who is currently studying in Kathmandu and who hails from Bargaun village in Humla, where we are currently constructing our first birthing center, for translating interviews and to be introduced to the communities.
Donya and Yeshi travelled to various villages to gather valuable information and stayed at home-stays (developed by the Nepal Trust as part of our tourism development program) throughout their stay, which provided Donya a great insight into the daily lives of local families and to learn more about their culture and traditions.

Below are some words from Donya on what inspired her to come to Humla;

“During my studies I learned to see health from a holistic point of view taking into account different perspectives. We learned to study the often-complex interactions between the social and physical environment of individuals and communities that might influence health behaviour and lifestyles. Gradually, I found out that I would love to work at the interface of global health and development cooperation.
In addition, I spent a considerable part of my studies on food and nutrition security as food and health are inseparable. South Asia and preferable Nepal is strongly appealing to me, on the one hand due to its incredible contrasts in nature and culture, its rich history and beautiful people and on the other hand the fact that it is one of the least developed countries in terms of human development.
From September to December 2014 I will hopefully join The Nepal Trust, a registered Scottish charity and (I)NGO in Nepal, for my research internship after which I expect to graduate from the M.Sc. Health and Society at Wageningen University.
Nepal Trust's values and development philosophy are very much after my own heart as they are actually the values on which my study program is based, for instance the participatory, bottom-up approach.
Although I certainly understand that I will have to go to one of the most remote areas in Nepal and that life in Humla is extremely challenging, doing a research internship at Nepal Trust would be a great opportunity for me to learn more about doing field research in the field of food and nutrition security, the working environment of a grassroots NGO, and to put my gained knowledge into practice thereby contributing to Nepal Trust's successful activities and helping to improve the life of the people of Humla.
As Nepal Trust already does since 1993, I am dedicated to work with health, community development and hope in the Hidden Himalaya’s and I am looking forward for making the most out of this opportunity”.

Donya has had a great time in Humla so far and, without saying, we are looking forward to Donya completing her study, which will help us to gain more insight into these complex issues that will improve our service delivery. We will be happy to keep you updated on her progression.

Meanwhile all at the Nepal Trust would like to thank all of our supporters and volunteers for their help and donations. Please let your friends and relatives know about our work and encourage them to donate or help. Enjoy the festive season coming up and hope that 2015 will be be healthier and happy for all.

On the trail.
On the trail.
With home-stay family.
With home-stay family.

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