Our higher education students get their hands dirty

The four students on our higher education programme in Nepal this year are well into their research in Solukhumbu. But it’s not all interviews and focus groups. A big part of getting an understanding of what life is like, how agro-forestry is done and the changes our projects enable, is to get involved in it.

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Yesterday, Rachel, Charlotte, Navin and Kanchan rolled up their sleeves and worked with staff from Deusa AFRC, our NGO partner Eco Himal and local farmers to plant a new fruit tree.

This wasn’t a normal tree-planting effort, they followed the ‘biointensive’ method. This method gives the tree the very best chance of flourishing by providing it with vital nutrients via leaves, mulch, compost, ash and wood.

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It is tough work, they have to collect all the nutrients for the tree, dig a hole that is a metre wide and deep and then work the soil back into the ground.

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Our higher education programme plays a vital role in developing the next generation of climate change adaptation professionals. If you would like to sponsor a Nepali student’s place on next year’s programme, please get in touch with our Co-Director, Dr. Morgan Phillips.

Developing the next generation of adaptation professionals

The 2019 TGT Higher Education programme is underway. This year, four students, two from Southampton University (UK) and two from Tribhuvan University (Nepal) are in Solukhumbu for three weeks to research the environmental, social and economic impacts of the agro-forestry work we have been enabling there over the last five years.

Keshab Rai (Deusa AFRC manager) explains the climate change adaptation work he is leading in Solukhumbu to Charlotte Thomas, Rachel Roberts and Kanchan Kattel.

Keshab Rai (Deusa AFRC manager) explains the climate change adaptation work he is leading in Solukhumbu to Charlotte Thomas, Rachel Roberts and Kanchan Kattel.

The students arrived at Deusa AFRC yesterday and they have already made a start on their research. Navin Bhanjade and Charlotte Thomas are investigating the local economic impact of the surge in coffee production, today they interviewed a local farmer, Yubraj Rai from Dipli, Deusa.

Navin Bhanjade interprets for Charlotte Thomas as they interview local farmer Yubraj Rai about the coffee value chain.

Navin Bhanjade interprets for Charlotte Thomas as they interview local farmer Yubraj Rai about the coffee value chain.

Rachel Roberts and Kanchan Kattel are looking at the impacts of Agroforestry and interviewed Panchalal Tamang about this experiences of the programme today.

Navin Bhangade, Kanchan Kattel and Rachel Roberts learn about the installation of polytunnels at Deusa AFRC.

Navin Bhangade, Kanchan Kattel and Rachel Roberts learn about the installation of polytunnels at Deusa AFRC.

The students have also spent time in the hamlet of Budhidanda, conducting a survey there with the people who congregate around the shops there. Tomorrow, all four students are going to trek down to Rindapu to visit a coffee plantation area and to interview Netkumar Rai.


TGT’s higher education programme is our contribution to developing the next generation of climate change adaptation professionals. We fully fund field trips for the Nepali students, UK students raise funds to cover their flights, travel and board while in Nepal.

If you would like to know more about our Higher Education programme or are interested in sponsoring what we do, please get in touch with our co-director, Dr Morgan Phillips via our contact page.

TGT’s future

Back row: Jamie Forsyth, Morgan Phillips,  Front row: Mary Peart, Andy Rutherford, Peter Osborne, Prof. Craig Hutton. 

Back row: Jamie Forsyth, Morgan Phillips,

Front row: Mary Peart, Andy Rutherford, Peter Osborne, Prof. Craig Hutton. 

TGT trustees and staff met for a full day’s strategy meeting in London yesterday. It was great to have Mary Peart, our newest trustee, with us for the first time. We covered a lot of ground:

  • Our project work in Nepal from Nawalparasi to Kavrepalanchok and Solukhumbu;

  • How to expand our Higher Education programme to enable more students to experience and study climate change adaptation in the field;

  • What we can do in Nepal, the UK and internationally to advocate for more and better Adaptation as a vital component of any response to the climate and ecological emergency.

Please keep an eye on our website and social media in the coming weeks as we develop and publish our plans.

This is such a critical moment in the history of Nepal and the world. We have to ensure that we mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change before things spiral out of all control. This is what we’re determined to do and the news of Cyclone Fani raging in India and Bangladesh is yet another reminder of the urgency and importance of our work.

Deusa AFRC continues to grow

Up in Deusa, Solukhumbu this week, farmers from surrounding villages have come together for a three-day training workshop led by specialists from Everything Organic Nepal (EVON).

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Deusa Agro-Forestry Resouce Centre (AFRC) is quickly becoming a hub for farmers and community organisers from right across southern Solukhumbu and even into neighbouring Khotang. One of the key elements to the success of the AFRC is its well stocked plant nursery. The agricultural specialists at the AFRC nurture plants from seed and then sell them onto local farmers who transplant them to boost their range of crops.

Deusa, however, is a rural location with few roads and very steep slopes. A round trip to the AFRC to buy seedlings or saplings can therefore take a whole day of tough trekking - time that busy farmers can’t really afford. To meet the growing demand for the services of the AFRC, an idea was hatched to establish ‘satellite’ nurseries in strategic locations across Deusa and neighbouring municipalities.

TGT funded this work in 2017 and the nurseries are now in operation. The training, led by two experts from EVON, was for the farmers who run the satellite nurseries. It is all part of the lifelong learning and knowledge sharing process that is key to all our work. As the name suggests, farmers learn how to farm organically, with an emphasis on water conservation and climate change adaptation.

TGT support for student strike

Our UK Co-Director, Morgan Phillips is one of 30 signatories of a letter to the editor of The Times today.

The letter calls for the children and young people participating in today’s Climate Strike to be commended.

Image via Alasdair Roxburgh @alroxburgh used with permission.

Image via Alasdair Roxburgh @alroxburgh used with permission.

STUDENTS ON STRIKE

Sir, Children and young people taking part in the school strikes for climate are to be commended, not ridiculed. The UN intergovernmental panel on climate change has said that we need to take decisive action now to avoid the worst effects of climate breakdown. Scorching temperatures, wildfires and floods are already claiming lives around the globe. As more land becomes inhospitable, the refugee crisis will deepen.

Young people seem to understand the urgency of this issue, while governments continue to drag their feet. The window for action is rapidly closing, and it is this generation, many not yet old enough to vote, who will have to deal with the consequences of global inaction. People in this country have a proud tradition of standing up for what’s right, so it is fitting that our school children have taken on that mantle on one of the defining issues of our time.

Professor Bill Adams, Moran Professor of Conservation and Development, University of Cambridge; John Ashton, UK Special Representative for Climate Change (2006-12); Craig Bennett, CEO, Friends of the Earth; Professor Ruth Blakeley, Professor of Politics and International Relations, University of Sheffield; Tom Burke, Environmentalist and Advisor; Mike Clarke, CEO, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds; Dr Richard Dixon, Director of Friends of the Earth Scotland; Professor Paul Ekins, Institute for Sustainable Resources, University College London; Henry Greenwood, Founder and Managing Director Green Schools Project; Kate Hampton, CEO, Children’s investment Fund Foundation; Hendrikus van Hensbergen, CEO, Action for Conservation; Professor Aled Jones, Director Global Sustainability Institute, Anglia Ruskin University; Laurie Lee, CEO, Care International UK; Professor Michael Jacobs, Professor in Political Economy, University of Sheffield; Nick Mabey, CEO, Third Generation Environmentalism (E3G); Andrew Norton, Director, International Institute for Environment and Development; Chris Packham, Environmentalist and Broadcaster; Dr Morgan Phillips, UK Director The Glacier Trust; Jonathan Porritt, Environmentalist and Campaigner; Peter Robertson, CEO, National Union of Students; John Sauven, Executive Director, Greenpeace; Professor John Schellnhuber, Director Emeritus of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research; Charles Secrett, Environmentalist and Advisor; Dr Emily Shuckburgh, Climate Scientist, Darwin College, University of Cambridge; Dan Snow, Historian and Broadcaster; Shaun Spiers, Executive Director, Green Alliance; Tanya Steele, CEO, WWF-UK; Professor Will Steffen, Fenner School of Environment and Society, ANU College of Science; Professor Iain Stewart, Director Sustainable Earth Institute, University of Plymouth; Sue Tibballs, CEO, The Sheila McKechnie Foundation; Steve Trent, Executive Director, Environmental Justice Foundation; Crispin Truman, CEO, Campaign to Protect Rural England; Professor Bhaskar Vira, Director Conservation Research Institute, University of Cambridge; Farhana Yamin, Founder and CEO, Track 0

Available online at www.thetimes.co.uk/letters

Levison Wood joins The Glacier Trust

We are delighted to welcome Levison Wood – professional explorer, documentary maker, best-selling author and photographer – as our newest ambassador.

A regular visitor to Nepal since his first expedition in 2001, and most famously in his ‘Walking the Himalayas’ series aired on Channel 4, Levison has witnessed first-hand the effects of climate change on communities in the Himalayan mountain range. Levison told us:

Nepal will always have a very special place in my heart. It’s been a privilege to explore some of the highest and most challenging terrain on earth, but when you meet the people who live in these fragile environments, it’s a humbling experience.

Increasingly the farming communities in remote areas of Nepal are on the front-line of climate change. They are in immediate need of help to adapt to the challenges like crop ruining insect pests that are now being seen at higher and higher altitudes; add to that landslides, drought and the ever-present threat of a glacial lake outburst flood, and you can’t ignore the need to adapt. TGT’s grass roots approach to enabling people in these communities to adapt to climate change and improve their livelihoods is really effective and absolutely essential. I’m looking forward to getting involved.

Levison’s appointment comes at an exciting time for TGT. Last week saw the launch of our new report ‘We need to talk about adaptation’ and earlier this year, we extended our work in Nepal with a new project made possible with funding from the Marr Munning Trust. 2019 will also see the formalisation of a three-way partnership between Tribhuvan University (Kathmandu), the University of Southampton and TGT which will enable early career researchers to gain research experience in Nepal’s mountain communities.

Our Co-Director, Dr Morgan Phillips, said:

It is really fantastic to link up with Levison, his incredible adventures are a firm favourite in the Phillips household, we were glued to Walking the Himalayas! Levison’s experience and deep knowledge of Nepal will be a fantastic resource for the charity. We hope to get him involved when his schedule allows and are delighted to welcome him to the trust.

Morgan will be in Nepal this month, monitoring project work in Kaverpalanchok and Nawalparasi, where he will be joined by a team of UK volleyball players who are travelling to Nepal to raise funds for TGT’s work. Levison is currently promoting his new book Arabia and planning his next adventure. Wood said:  

There’s an interesting parallel between my expeditions and the need to adapt to climate change. Although we manage risks and avoid danger by planning to the best of our abilities, we must be prepared and equipped to adapt if things go wrong. The same thinking applies for every community faced with the realities of climate change. TGT work in partnership with innovative NGOs in Nepal and together they are helping communities thrive, despite the disruptive forces of climate change.  

Levison joins acclaimed actor Sian Brooke as a fellow TGT ambassador.

The Glacier Trust is committed to raising the awareness of the need to adapt to climate change in Nepal and around the world. The charity’s core costs are covered by three specific grants, which allows it to dedicate 100% of every donation received on climate change adaptation work in Nepal.