The Glacier Trust has submitted its annual return to the Charity Commission. You can view our annual reports on our finances page.
Please find an extract from the Trustee's report below:
The Glacier Trust Annual Report
The trustees present their report and accounts for the year ended 5 April 2017.
The accounts have been prepared in accordance with the accounting policies set out in note 1 to the accounts and comply with the trust deed, the Charities Act 2011 and “Accounting and Reporting by Charities: Statement of Recommended Practice applicable to charities preparing their accounts in accordance with the Financial Reporting Standard applicable in the UK and Republic of Ireland (FRS 102)” (as amended for accounting periods commencing from 1 January 2016)
Objectives and activities
The objectives of The Trust continue to reflect the tangible effects of climate change upon subsistence-based rural communities living in the Himalayas and their consequences of drought, flooding, landsliding, pest infestation and crop failure.
The trustees believe that education is the most powerful tool enabling communities to adapt to a wide and sometimes extreme range of variations from normal climatic patterns. While The Glacier Trust is willing to provide a small amount of finance towards infrastructures that will enhance their projects (for example materials to build irrigation channels and polytunnels), its main objectives lie in 'hands on' education to enable communities to find the best means of adaptation to suit the particular needs of the local topography and their communities and cultures. In particular the trustees see cash generating programmes, in a ‘for-profit’ type of development, as providing resilience to the effects of climate change. By focussing on better use of existing resources, the Trust's programmes are now beginning to lift subsistence-based communities with low levels of food security into relatively prosperous ones.
The Glacier Trust also seeks to enhance Nepali higher education in aspects of climate change, so that Nepalese university staff and postgraduate students are better placed to understand the problems and provide solutions. Here we have decided to focus on two streams of research: (1) developing the widely under-researched Himalayan permafrost and periglacial studies; and (2) producing research on climate change impacts on upland, rural Nepalese communities and the effect of adaptation interventions. This will inform the likely impacts of a warming climate in these upland regions and of the impacts The Glacier Trust’s type of projects can have. This research can therefore inform potential future projects of the Trust or of other NGOs working in these areas.
The trustees have paid due regard to guidance issued by the Charity Commission on public benefit in deciding what activities the trust should undertake.
The Glacier Trust ran three climate change adaptation projects and one higher education programme in 2016/17. Morgan Phillips made his first visit to Nepal in February 2017, visiting project work in Deurali, Nawalparasi and Deusa/Waku, Solukhumbo. In addition, our Nepal based Co-Director, Richard Allen made visits to both Solukhumbo and Nawalparasi to monitor and report on progress.
The start of the 2016/17 reporting year coincided with the anniversary of the two devastating earthquakes that hit Nepal in the spring of 2015. Unsurprisingly, recovery and rebuilding has dominated life for many in Nepal since. Our NGO partners, EcoHimal Nepal and HICODEF as well as colleagues at HELVETAS and Practical Action with whom we maintain close relationships, have been heavily involved in these efforts. Understandably this has delayed some progress on longer term projects, but through careful management has not had a detrimental impact on our climate change adaptation work. TGT is not an emergency relief organisation, but the extreme toll the earthquakes took in Nepal and the Government’s limited ability to help all those effected meant we had a duty in 2015/16 to raise funds to support those impacted in our project areas.
During his February 2017 visit, Morgan toured sites where funds raised through the TGT Earthquake relief fund were channelled. Progress in Waku, Solukhumbo is impressive. As well as the reconstruction of houses and schools, young adults have received training in carpentry and other construction techniques. These skills have been put to immediate use, but are skills for life that will enhance the careers of those involved. TGT also funded the reconstruction of three houses and a community centre in the village of Kirtipur in Nawalparasi. Building work on two of three houses was near completion in February 2017, progress on the third has been delayed by a family emergency. The new community centre, part funded by TGT, is complete and in full use.
Deusa Agro Forestry Resource Centre
Through our Nepal based NGO delivery partner, Eco Himal Nepal, we continued our support for the Agro Forestry Resource Centre (AFRC) in the village development committee district of Deusa, Solukhumbo.
Deusa Agroforestry Resource Center (DAFRC) has been recognized as an institutional platform for local community in adoption and application of improved agriculture, livestock and forestry practices. It is considered a local institution for supporting the livelihoods of rural farmers of Deusa Village Development Committee (VDC). DAFRC has been promoted as hub for the sharing seeds, seedlings and knowledge. Farmer to farmer dissemination of agroforestry technologies has spread learnings throughout the local communities of Deusa, Waku and surrounding VDCs as well as districts in eastern Nepal.
Sustainable Tree Cropping
In addition, in Deusa and neighbouring Waku, we supported an outreach programme of education and technical support to enable farmers to adopt new climate change resilient agriculture. This Sustainable Tree Cropping programme is delivered by a full time, TGT funded, EcoHimal project officer based in Deusa. Our project officer collaborates closely with the Deusa AFRC.
A total of 456 local households have been trained and oriented on various sustainable tree cropping techniques and practices. The practice has been promoted through 28 lead farmers (21 male and 7 female). As role models, they have been demonstrating the sustainable tree cropping technologies for other farmers. 42 local farmers have been trained on pest management and disease control. 13 agriculture groups (7 in Deusa and 6 in Waku) for production of cash crops have been formed. In some cases these are groups that have reformed after a post-earthquake hiatus. The members have been trained in landslide prevention, learning how and where to plant crops that bind soils and strengthen vulnerable slopes. Group members have been supplied with seedlings through the Sustainable Tree Cropping programme.
Working with experts from Kathmandu based, Swiss NGO, HELVETAS, EcoHimal Nepal facilitated a three-day coffee farming workshop for 28 local farmers in March 2017. Coffee production has accelerated in Deusa and began spreading to Waku as the 28 farmers share and spread knowledge. We anticipate an increase in coffee production in 2017/18.
Improved cooking stoves
Also in partnership with EcoHimal Nepal, we began the pilot phase of a project that aims to install and embed the use of improved cooking stoves in the remote region of Sankhuwasabha. Progress here has been delayed due to the Earthquake recovery process, which exacerbated the challenges already associated with transporting heavy items to this very remote part of Nepal.
Despite these challenges, our partners EcoHimal Nepal successfully carried out the pre-pilot research phase of the project. They identified thirty suitable homes with whom to test the improved cooking stoves. EcoHimal have also completed an extensive research and development process to select the stoves that are most suitable for the particular environmental conditions of the project area.
An inclusive training manual has been developed and local households have been trained on various issues like forest conservation, climate change and potato cultivation. Training and education on the health impacts of indoor air pollution and the environmental impacts of slash and burn agriculture. In total, 460 local households have been trained.
Enhancing Community Capacities for Learning and Adaptation to Climate Change (ECCLA)
In partnership with Nepal based NGO HICODEF, we supported three villages in the Deurali VDC of Nawalparasi in southern Nepal. Here the project work focussed on the initial construction phase of a new water supply system; slope stabilisation to improve landslide resilience and provide a source of fodder for livestock; and a series of farmer field school workshops and Climate Change awareness activities.
The irrigation system was designed in collaboration with HICODEF, local civil engineers and the local population in Durlunga Baseni. We broke ground on the construction work in February 2017, with an expected completion date of April 2017.
The second focus was slope stabilisation. 71 households from two of the project villages were involved in broom grass cultivation. Broom grass is a fast-growing crop and an excellent soil stabiliser. Additionally, its leaves can be harvested periodically to provide fodder for livestock. Using marginal and previously barren land in this way increases the agricultural productivity of the area, while also helping to prevent landslides that can disrupt everyday life and in worst cases, cost lives. Led by HICODEF’s TGT funded project officer, farmers collected over 20,000 broom grass seedlings and planted eight hectares of land.
Through a series of farmer field schools and climate change awareness workshops, we enabled farmers in Durlunga Baseni, Sartakun and Tandi to learn and implement new agricultural methods. 62 farmers (42 female, 20 male) attended the workshops. These farmers then organised into nine sub-groups across the three villages. An increase in commercial farming has been observed, with farmers putting their new knowledge and skills to use growing cash crops such as tomato, cauliflower, cabbage and pumpkin. The project is therefore lifting farmers out of subsistence agriculture, but in a climate change aware and ecologically sensitive way.
Higher Education and the Periglacial Environment
In October 2016, a team of three students and four teaching staff from Kathmandu and Tribahvan Universities visited the high mountains of Nepal. They were accompanied by TGT volunteers and experts in the Periglacial environment, Dr. Dhananjay Regmi and Prof. Jeff Kargel. Also accompanying the party was photographer Christopher Parsons who documented the field trip as part of his work with campaign group Project Pressure.
Setting off from Lukla, the team trekked through spectacular geography to the Nuptse Glacier, Imja Lake and Mount Chukkung Ri. The trek took a total of 18 days. Each evening our expert tutors lectured on periglacial and permafrost science, while also helping students with their MSc dissertation projects.
Project activity in 2017-18
During 2017-18 we are continuing our Climate Change Adaptation work in three locations. Projects which will be running throughout the 2017-18 financial year encompass:
- Ensuring project work is better aligned and more coherent to our supporters by amalgamating our Deusa Agro Forestry Resource Centre and Sustainable Tree Cropping programmes into one. Focus here will be on extending the production of Coffee, Macademia, Hazelnuts and other high value and commercially viable crops for the area; the development of six satellite plant nurseries to improve access to AFRC seedling production services and demonstration plots; and upgrades to the AFRC building’s including installation of a solar water heater and improvements to accommodation facilities to enhance the centre’s potential as a location for training events and tourism. The Sustainable Trees Cropping programme will continue to enable adaptation to the growing impacts of Climate Change in Deusa and Waku. Organic and in some cases biodynamic agriculture is promoted and practiced throughout, with a high priority placed on sustaining biodiversity and ecosystem services.
- In the Siwalik foothills of the Nepalese Himalaya in the Newalparasi District, we will continue working with local NGO partners HICODEF in three villages. We will complete work on phase one of the water storage and irrigation system in Durlunga Baseni. This project will bring drinking water and enable farmers to irrigate land that has historically been left fallow during the winter dry season. The irrigation system will enable farmers to grow crops all year round, significantly improving their productivity and supporting them to lift themselves out of subsistence agriculture. In addition, we will work with land owners and civil engineers to design a further extension to the irrigation system enabling even more land to be cultivated all year round. To adapt to these changes in the supply of water we will run Farmer Field School education programmes to teach about climate sensitive farming techniques and also provide the materials needed to implement these techniques. Farmers in each project location will be supported by three undergraduate students from local agricultural colleges. These Junior Technical Assistants will also benefit, by gaining valuable practical experience of climate change resilient farming.
- We will continue our improved cooking stove (ICSs) project near the Nepali/Tibetan border in the Sankuwasabha district. Thirty stoves will be installed and monitored to ensure they are performing well in the environment and being successfully adopted by the selected households. The ICSs selected in 2016-17 dramatically reduce respiratory diseases as they replace traditional open hearths. The ICSs have chimneys ensuring that most of the smoke generated escapes the building. These stoves also reduce the pressure on forests for firewood as they use almost 50% less wood, dramatically improving environmental conservation.
In addition to our Climate Change Adaptation work, we will continue to develop our work in the education sector.
- The introduction of nine Junior Technical Assistants to our project work in Nawalparasi will develop the climate change awareness and adaptation skills of the next generation of agriculture professionals in Nepal. We will also begin development of a school and university exchange programme to support the spread of climate change adaptation awareness amongst Nepali and overseas students.
During the year, our two Co-Directors Jamie and Morgan, who have both run the day to day workings of the Trust from the UK, have had invaluable support from Richard Allen, our Nepal-based Co-Director, and the four trustees without whom we could not run this organisation. We would also like to thank our patrons, Chris Bonington and Professor Doug Benn.