Our UK Co-Director Dr. Morgan Phillips talks us through his forthcoming visit to Nepal.
On Tuesday (November 7th) I am setting off on my second visit to Nepal. I will be there for just over two weeks and have a lot to fit in. I will be monitoring projects, looking at potential new locations for work, meeting up with TGT supporters on the trail to Everest, planning our brand new schools partnership work, meeting sector colleagues and collecting evidence and data to measure the difference we, YOU, are making. Here is a brief outline on what I am hoping to achieve:
Less than 18 hours after touching down in Kathmandu, I will be back at the airport for an early morning flight to Bhartapur, a small city on the very northern edge of the extensive Terai plain. This is the gateway to Nawalparasi, the foothills of the Himalaya and, more importantly for us, the stop off point for the hilly district of Deurali.
Working with our NGO partners HICODEF and Practical Action, we have been enabling climate change adapatation in Deurali for over four years now. I will be accompanied on this field visit by Dinanath Bhandari, a TGT volunteer and climate change adaptation specialist from Practical Action. We will also, for the first time, bring Narayan Dhakal to Deurali. Narayan is Executive Director at Eco Himal who are our partner NGO for the projects we support in the eastern Nepali regions of Solukhumbo and Sankhuwasaba. Narayan's visit is part of our effort to bring Climate Change adaptation professional's together in meaningful ways - facilitating shared learning and knowledge transfer across Nepal.
Nawalparasi was significantly impacted by the extensive flooding suffered by Nepal, India and Bangladesh this summer. As a consequence road links have been disrupted and we will be needing to hike several (hilly) miles to reach the three villages we are working with currently. I am particularly excited about heading back to Dhahaba, a community that is pretty much cut off by a huge river in the summer months, we are back working there this year after a two year gap and I hope to see much progress being made. In Durlunga I will get to see the completed and operational irrigation system that was under construction when I visited first back in February. I'll be needing a glass or two of that water too I think, the road is currently not open to vehicles and we have a four hour uphill trek to reach Durlunga! We have had some great news there recently too, the local government has agreed to match-fund an extension to this irrigation scheme. We will therefore be taking a closer look at the land and families that will benefit from the new water supply - and doing what we can to ensure the local government comes good on their promise.
Our last stop in Nawalparasi will take us outside of Deurali to the village of Kirtipur. Here I will be meeting the families who received support from us after the 2015 earthquakes. I am keen to update the many TGT supporters who so generously donated crisis relief funds. I will be reporting on the homes and lives that money helped to rebuild.
Sandwiched between my two field trips I have three days in Kathmandu. During this time I will be meeting with colleagues from Practical Action Nepal, Himalayan Adaptation, Water and Resilience (HI-AWARE) and Eco-Himal. I also hope to meet with representatives from UN Environment and will catch up with long time TGT collaborator DJ Regmi.
My trip wraps up with a field visit to Solukhumbo and our project work in Deusa and Waku. The visit will be led by Narayan Dhakal from Eco Himal and we will be joined by our Nepal Co-Director, Richard Allen and Mary Peart, former headteacher at GSIS school Hong Kong.
We will also host four TGT supporters from the Alpine Club. Led by Tony Westcott, a team of four will warm up for their trek along the path to Everest base camp, by hiking to and around Deusa and Waku with us. Tony, a long time TGT supporter and friend of our founder Robin Garton, has long wanted to visit Deusa to see first hand the projects we are enabling there. We are very much looking forward to showing him and his party around the Deusa AFRC and all the other fantastic work there.
One of my focus points in Deusa will be coffee. Several farmers here have been growing coffee under the guidance of our Eco Himal colleagues. They hope to develop this further and begin to generate significant income for the community over time. I recently met with the founder of Fairtrade coffee experts Falcon coffees and was offered some fantastic advice on how coffee production in Deusa might be scaled up. So I have a fact-finding mission and a checklist of questions to work through.
Mary Peart is joining us to spend time planning our new partnership programme. Mary is the recently retired Head teacher from a Hong Kong international school, GSIS. In 2018, we will organise a field trip to Deusa for students and teachers from GSIS school. GSIS will, in return, commit to raising funds for our project work in Deusa and Waku. Mary and I will be meeting with the local Secondary School to discuss how the partnership will operate and how students from both host and visiting schools will benefit.
Finally, either on the way, or way back, from Solukhumbo, we will visit the village of Kavre, a few hours west of Kathmandu. It is a scoping visit for TGT and a chance to assess Kavre's suitability as a location for an environmental education programme we are currently developing.
Please keep an eye on our Social Media streams - Facebook, Twitter, Instagram - as well as this blog, where I aim to update on my trip as I go. I will report in more depth via our newsletter when I return.
We thank you again for your support, you make all this amazing work possible. Please continue to enable climate change adaptation in Nepal by making a donation or by visiting our shop.