LWR began working in Nepal in 2009 to improve food security in for indigenous, Dalit and marginalized communities. Despite recent declines in poverty, Nepal remains one of the poorest countries in the world. Rural communities often struggle with household food security and are extremely vulnerable to frequent natural hazards, including flash floods, landslides and earthquakes. Poverty affords communities few resources to prepare for or mitigate the effects of these hazards and even fewer resources to recover, which can destroy development gains. LWR promotes resilience and long-term development in the communities in which it works by better preparing communities for natural hazards and helping families realize food security and savings. In Nepal, LWR currently works with local partners on agriculture, food security, climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction (DRR) projects. LWR’s work focuses on areas of western Nepal.
In Nepal, nearly 60 percent of households live on less than $2 USD per day. Poverty touches all facets of life, including vulnerability to natural hazards and food insecurity. With limited access to resources to improve their conditions, people living in rural areas of Nepal have developed coping strategies, such as consumption of seed stocks, sale of productive assets, migration for wage employment and borrowing high-interest loans for food purchases — none of which provide sustainable solutions to poverty or food insecurity.
LWR’s agriculture and food security programs employ a value chain approach, which increases access to inputs and markets, leverages community assets and builds farmers’ technical capacities to generate higher value agricultural products and strengthen relationships across the value chain. For example, LWR supports citrus farmers in Nawalparasai District to improve yields and post-harvest handling while also assisting farmers in organizing into collectives to increase market access and negotiate bulk sales.
LWR works to strengthen community organizations and families to improve overall well-being with an emphasis on improved food security. Targeting women as one of the most vulnerable groups in Nepali society, LWR’s approach to agriculture and food security includes organizing women into groups and cooperatives that provide financial, technical and enterprise support for agro-based enterprises.
Disaster Risk Reduction
Nepal is highly prone to both natural and human-made disasters due, respectively, to geographic location and lack of enforced oversight on environmentally destructive socioeconomic practices, such as deforestation or development of large-scale water dams and hydropower projects. Situated at the junction of the Indian and Eurasian tectonic plates, earthquakes, landslides and avalanches are common and often severe. Flooding, fire and drought are seasonal occurrences, which are increasing in frequency and severity as a result of climate change. Despite these constant threats, awareness about disaster risk reduction and preparedness remains low, especially among marginalized populations, women and children.
In response, LWR works side-by-side with communities in Nepal to reduce the risk of disasters, increase preparedness
and improve resources available for disaster recovery. For example, in the Narayani/Gandak river basin, LWR is currently
working with flood-prone communities on both sides of the India-Nepal border to enhance awareness of disaster risk
reduction and increase the capacity of communities to carry out participatory hazard, risk and vulnerability assessments,
develop disaster response plans, form Disaster Risk Management Committees to create and implement disaster risk management plans, and establish an Early Warning System (EWS) for flash floods.
LWR also works to raise community awareness about the potential effects of changing climates and provide skills necessary to adapt to these changes. In Lamjung, LWR works to increase income from climate smart agricultural production by promoting specialized vegetable cultivation and bee keeping. Communities also learn about improved cook stove technology and techniques, heating and lighting methods, and more efficient use of energy through the installation of microhydro electric generators, bio-gas infrastructure, smokeless stoves and solar panels. These clean energy technologies help eliminate the need to cut down trees for fuel, which, in turn, reduces deforestation.