How we do it: Small is Beautiful

"We believe that small scale village level projects are the most effective at delivering sustainable improvements to people’s lives"

Within our climate change adaptation programme, we work with Nepali-based, international and local NGOs providing expertise, education and funding. We have successfully designed and implemented several projects both in the Himalayan foothills and Middle Mountains and have four programmes on the go at present. We tend to work on smaller scale projects, covering up to 5000 people, turning major problems into positive solutions. Carry on reading to see how we convert the problems into solutions and by what means.

The Problems

  • Food security
  • Water security
  • Natural hazards

The consequences of climate change vary considerably in this topographically and ethnically diverse region. We often hear of ‘too little or too much water’. Broadly speaking, rapidly increasing temperatures are changing seasonal rainfall patterns for mountain-dwelling communities, most of which only have a few months food security.  Winters are drier, so spring crops cannot be grown on rainfed terraces, increasing malnutrition.  Groundwater, for drinking and household use, now often runs out before the end of winter.  Since winters are warmer, livestock pests and invasive plant species survive more easily.  Survival is often only possible by working part of the year abroad or by migration to a squalid urban existence.


The Solutions

  • Community-led projects
  • A holistic approach
  • Painstaking follow-up

The Glacier Trust promotes community-led sustainable development programmes.  Unlike many of the larger aid agencies, we think that single fix solutions are usually counterproductive. We therefore take a holistic approach to building resilience to climate change with ‘hands on’ education programmes that focus on better use of existing resources.  We see cash generating as a key element in building resilience.

For example, loss of groundwater can be tackled by yet another borehole. But we take the view that by reforesting a catchment and training the community in agroforestry (using the forest floor to grow lucrative crops such as cardamom) groundwater will be recharged naturally and the community enriched financially against the type of Himalayan rainy day that washes away the crops.

This process involves a number of stages and is only possible with the help of Our Partners, Nepali-based organisations (NGOs), who manage and implement our programmes. We work on a small scale because no programme is easy.  All have problems. But working at the village level enables us to provide the painstaking follow-up which ensures that the programme will ultimately succeed.

The Means

  • Your donations
  • Our skills - The PEC
  • Community mobilisation

The Glacier Trust, through it's staff and trustees has developed a wide range of skills to put at the disposal of communities who are largely dependant on their next crop cycle.  We use these skills successfully to transform poverty into prosperity, mainly through the implementation of our Project Evaluation Committee (PEC), which ensures that all our projects are scientifically sound as well as appropriate, socially, culturally, economically and environmentally. To cover these specific knowledge areas the PEC consists of a wide range of skills and experience, for example we have Dr Craig Hutton (a current trustee) of the University of Southampton who’s socio-environmental research, much of which is centred on the South Asian region will be invaluable to many of our climate change adaptation projects; we also have Associate Professor Steve Gurney from the University of Reading who is highly experienced in periglacial and permafrost science so will be a great benefit to our education programme; we also have Dr Juerg Merz (also a current trustee) and Richard Allen (Co-Director of TGT) offering scientific but also social, cultural and political knowledge one can only gain from living in Kathmandu as they both have done for many years now.