Keeping the lights on in the Hidden Himalayas

by The Nepal Trust Vetted since 2011 Site Visit Verified
Keeping the lights on in the Hidden Himalayas
Keeping the lights on in the Hidden Himalayas
Keeping the lights on in the Hidden Himalayas
Keeping the lights on in the Hidden Himalayas
Keeping the lights on in the Hidden Himalayas
Keeping the lights on in the Hidden Himalayas
Keeping the lights on in the Hidden Himalayas
Keeping the lights on in the Hidden Himalayas
Keeping the lights on in the Hidden Himalayas
Keeping the lights on in the Hidden Himalayas
Keeping the lights on in the Hidden Himalayas
Keeping the lights on in the Hidden Himalayas
Keeping the lights on in the Hidden Himalayas
Keeping the lights on in the Hidden Himalayas
Keeping the lights on in the Hidden Himalayas
Keeping the lights on in the Hidden Himalayas
Keeping the lights on in the Hidden Himalayas
Keeping the lights on in the Hidden Himalayas
Keeping the lights on in the Hidden Himalayas
Keeping the lights on in the Hidden Himalayas
Keeping the lights on in the Hidden Himalayas
A poor Humli family
A poor Humli family

Dear Friends and Supporters

The hard winter is now over and it is easier to get around in Nepal’s remotest district of Humla. Of course ‘easier’ is relative when walking is your only option. The lack of roads and the other infrastructures we are used to makes movement slow and laborious. This part of Nepal is also very poor and food deficient. More than 50% of children die in infancy and the average lifespan is only 58 years.

Once an economic powerhouse reliant on the salt trade from Tibet, finally succumbed to cheaper iodized Indian salt. Salt caravans are now a very rare sight.

The economy is slowly improving as tourism begins to take over and the area has become the official gateway to holy Mount Kailash in Tibet. This religious tourism is bringing many pilgrims from India and elsewhere to the region to fulfil a dream. Lodges and eating-places are popping up all along the main trail to cater for this demand. Renewable energy has become a very important source of electricity for the new economy and is expanding. It is also a clean energy that contributes to a healthier society

The Nepal Trust has been a leader in the development of this technology often in some of the most remote places. More have been installed by others but some are non-operational or only partially working due to a lack of effective maintenance.

The planned Renewable Energy Service Centre will facilitate the local maintenance of existing and future installations and offer much needed electrical, mechanical and related services, spares and repairs. It will provide the means for mountain villages to improve and sustain their livelihoods through clean energy technologies and to benefit from the consequent employment and business opportunities that develop alongside. Indirectly the Service centre project will also contribute to conserving the environment and forests that are depleting fast.

We are still in discussions with our chosen partner Ngo, LIDS, who will manage the Centre on our behalf. We hope to conclude our agreement over the next few weeks and then push ahead with the installation of machinery and equipment much, of which, will have to be sourced from India. We apologise for the apparent slowness but things do take time in this remote part of the world. A sick man in Humla may have to walk 2 days to get help but getting there is the most important thing! I hope to have some real positive progress by the next report.

Thanks to you all for your support and patience. We hope you will remain with us and pass on the news to your friends. Climate change and the damage to our environment are very much in the news these days. Your continued support and help will be a contribution to helping solve some of these issues.

On the trail to Mount Kailash
On the trail to Mount Kailash
Clean light
Clean light
A Microhydro installation
A Microhydro installation
Help the children
Help the children
Enjoying the Snow.
Enjoying the Snow.

Dear Friends and Supporters

Humla is still in the grip of a hard winter. Deep snows have isolated villages and blocked trails and made it even more difficult to move around and communicate. Of course, this is not unusual at these elevations but this winter has been exceptional. The people are very adaptable and mainly cope but, sometimes, it is very difficult. Communications are a problem particularly for the only transport means by light aircraft. Walking far is not an option. Cell phones are now everywhere but they cannot bring in the food and medical supplies!

As soon as the weather improves we will push ahead with the final development and opening of our Renewable Energy Service Centre. We have agreed an operational plan with our chosen implementation partner Local Initiative Development Support Consultancy Agency (LIDS). The Nepal Trust will retain ownership of the facility and will fund one technician for the first two years (LIDS will fund a second one). We will also supply all the initial office and mechanical equipment. 

LIDS will be expected to run a commercial business and the local communities will pay commercial rates. The service will also include advice to communities on how and where to source funding. After the initial 2 year phase lease renewal will be on a 3 year cycle.

At the present time the Trust is sourcing plant and materials much of which may have to come from India. I hope that by the next report we will have good news that the Centre is almost ready to go. After a hard winter there will probably be much to do servicing and repairing the many hydro and solar installations in the district.

We are still looking for your help and hope that you will continue to support this important economic project. Funds are required for the fitting out and start up phase. Thank you so much for all your support and interest and do, please, pass on the news to your friends and colleagues. The people of Humla already have a negligable carbon footprint let's make it a positive one!

Namaste

Chyaduk MHP
Chyaduk MHP
Chyaduk MHP installation
Chyaduk MHP installation
Nepal Trust team with Ghoti MHP committee.
Nepal Trust team with Ghoti MHP committee.
Children in Simikot
Children in Simikot

Dear friends and supporters.

Our 5 year Project Agreement with the government has now been approved and we can now look forward to moving ahead with the implementation of the new innovative Renewable Energy Service Centre. This unique and important project is needed badly in the remote region of the Hidden Himalayas. RE projects that break down very often are never repaired due to lack of skills and resources.

The Nepal Trust have been drivers in the push to establish RE projects throughout the district and have set high standards for others to follow. However, the cost of repair and maintenance has been high due to having to import the necessary skills and spare parts. The idea of having a Service Centre is to reduce this cost and to have at hand all the required skills and parts to provide servicing  and repairs throughout the district.

It is worth summarising what the Nepal Trust has achieved over recent years and why we have received international recognition for our work and innovation. We have built 7 Micro-hydro schemes for 8000 beneficiaries and 11 Community Solar projects benefitting 4500 people. We have also provided solar energy schemes to the local hospital, guest houses, and health centres. We have installed 7 Food Grinders and 2 Oil press machines. Other agencies have built schemes that more than double our figures. The Service Centre has been built and serviced with power and water and is near ready for operation.Our chosen local NGO is Local Initiative Development Support Consultancy Agency (LIDS) who will be responsible for the operation and management. The Trust will retain a responsibility for the provision of electrical, mechanical, civil and technical/support materials over the implementation phase of 5 years with a phase out period over 10 years. We will not run away!

I am very excited about this project and I hope you are too. Renewable energy is good for the planet and good for the people of this remote region who are never likely to be linked up to national grid. I want to thank you for all your support and encouragement and I hope you will continue to help in some way. Tell your friends about us and encourage them to support these very remote and very poor people. At the same time you will be helping to slow down global warming and climate change. Now that is some target!

Namaste 

Chyaduk MHP Power house
Chyaduk MHP Power house
Kermi MHP Power House
Kermi MHP Power House
Solar lamp
Solar lamp
Solar installation
Solar installation
Happy with her new solar panel.
Happy with her new solar panel.

Dear Friends and Supporters

Our team in Nepal have just arrived back from the field. They have been leading a government evaluation team to check out our proposals for a new 5 year plan. This is an essential part of the approval process that, unfortunately, takes time and slows down our work in the field. The good news is they were very happy with what they saw and we should expect to receive the closing letter from the Social Works Council (SWC) within the next 1 - 2 weeks.

We can now move ahead with the final development of our new and innovative Renewable Energy Service Centre (SC). Working in collaboration with our chosen NGO the Local Initiative Development Support Consultancy Agency (LIDS) we can now start equipment procurement and fitting out of the SC.

During the groups stay in Humla there was a micro-hydro power failure in one of the villages they stayed in. This was a project built in the early 90s by a bi-lateral agency and with a long history of problems. Previously repairs have not been carried out urgently due to cost and having to get engineers from Kathmandu or India. The SC project will hopefully solve this problem and ensure the smooth running of the many schemes in the district. It will also provide a blueprint for similar schemes in other remote areas of the Himalayas.

Thank you for all your patience and support for this fantastic project. Clean renewable energy has made remarkable improvements to the health and wellbeing of the local inhabitants of this remote part of the world. The SC will ensure a stronger and more reliable future and encourage further development. Please tell your friends about us and encourage their support. Perhaps you know of renewable energy companies that might want to help?

Namaste

Clean light.
Clean light.
A happy father and son.
A happy father and son.
The Renewable Energy Service Centre
The Renewable Energy Service Centre
Service Centre 3-phase wiring
Service Centre 3-phase wiring
Limi kids
Limi kids

Dear Friends and Supporters. Progress continues to be slow in this project. While the infrastructure is now all in place we cannot begin operations until an agreement with the Social Works Council (SWC) is made. For International NGOs like ourselves it is necessary to make agreements in 5 year cycles. It is very bureaucratic and time consuming but we hope to have all signed and sealed within the next month. There are always mountains to climb in Nepal but if you focus hard you eventually get there!

In previous reports I have written about some of the work we have achieved that makes us one of the most successful promoters of renewable energy systems in Nepal. I would like to tell you about another one that was built 10 years a go by a group of older scouts from the north of England. This was a solar energy project in the village of Til in the beautiful Limi valley. Limi is the remotest hidden valley in the Nepal Himalayas, very close to Tibet and with a 5 days walk south to Simikot, the capital of Humla. It is, in fact, closer to Tibet and economically dependent on trade with China. There are three main villages in the Limi valley all of ethnic Tibetan stock and a treasure house of ancient Tibetan culture. A hydro electric scheme was built in Til 2 years earlier by the Nepal Trust but because of elevation and location it freezes in the winter months and has to be shut down. Solar panels have been provided to supply all year round clean energy as have each of the other villages in Limi.

The following report was prepared by a scout leader to describe their trip, and a life changing experience, to this remote region. All project funding was raised by the scouts.

Scouts Light Up the Lives of Villagers.

In August 2007 we, the Wharfedale Scouts, embarked upon an expedition in Nepal to install 50 solar panels in the remote village of Til in the Himalayas. The trip took thirty days including days either side of the trek to explore the Kathmandu valley and Humla district.

After a couple of days sightseeing around Kathmandu we took a sixteen and a half hour coach journey to Surkhet. We then had an unexpected helicopter ride up to Simikot and completed a trial walk to acclimatise. The night was spent in the Nepal Trust Guest House. The next day we set off on the trek, taking a trail over a 4988m pass in order to reach our destination.

It took us two and a half days to install the solar panels and on the third night the village had a celebration to thank us for the work, including traditional food, drinks, songs, drama and dance. In return we stood proudly and performed 'Kum bah yah' and 'On Ilkley Moor Ba Tat' and then spent the evening listening to more of their traditional music and joining in the dancing.

We were given a beautiful speech from one of the village leaders about how the solar panels would improve the village's education and general welfare before returning to Simikot via the Tibetan border. Our trip ended in the Kathmandu valley with a chance to go white water rafting. The trip was a life-changing, phenomenal, cultural experience for us all and so thank you ever so much to the Nepal Trust for giving us this opportunity!

I sincerely hope to have a better progress report next time and I hope you will bear with us. Choosing to work in such a remote and difficult region has its problems! Thanks for all your support and I hope you will continue to follow us. Tell your friends and remember, life without electricity wouldn't be much fun.

Namaste

Til village
Til village
Til Hydro powerhouse
Til Hydro powerhouse
Til Gompa
Til Gompa
Ceremonial masks
Ceremonial masks
Weaving cloth
Weaving cloth
 

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Organization Information

The Nepal Trust

Location: Glasgow, Scotland - United Kingdom
Website:
Project Leader:
Tony Sharpe
Glasgow, Scotland United Kingdom
$4,787 raised of $60,000 goal
 
52 donations
$55,213 to go
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