55 years old and learning to grow vegetables for the first time

This is Tej Kumari Thada a resident of Dhabaha village in Hupsekot where TGT has been working with HICODEF since 2015 to enable climate change adaptation.  

  Tej Kumari Thada tending seedlings on her farm in Dhahaba. 

Tej Kumari Thada tending seedlings on her farm in Dhahaba. 

Tej is 55 years old and has been subsistence farming for three decades in the foothills of the Himalaya. Her livelihood, already precarious, has been further threatened by climate change. The TGT funded HICODEF project ECCLA (Enhancing Community Capacities for Learning and Adaptation), has transformed her life.  

Tej only started vegetable farming three years ago after joining a Farmer's field school run by HICODEF. Prior to this, she had no previous experience or knowledge of vegetable farming, she had never grown crops like tomatoes, cauliflower or cabbage before. This is the difference that our work is having, it is enabling farmers to adapt to climate change and improve their livelihoods through agriculture.  

Tej now has tomato crops growing on one katta of land (0.33 hectare) and other seasonal vegetables planted on a further 3 kattas. She is using a sprinkler for irrigation that was funded by TGT and has been selling vegetables at the local market.

She told our contact at HICODEF, Surbir Sthapit, that the vegetable farming has really engaged her and that her land is now covered with vegetables. Tej is now earning enough from farming to feed her family adequately the whole year round and with an improved diet.

In 2018, she has so far sold 100 kg of tomato, 25 kg of onion, 50 kg of cauliflower and cabbage, 7 kg of beans, 6 kg of bitter guard, 8 kg of chili and 5 kg of green leafs, a total of 206 kg of produce. This has earned her 30,000 Nepali Rupee; around £200. 

We are enabling thousands of farmers in Nepal to adapt to climate change through agriculture. This improves livelihoods and the life chances of some of the poorest people in the world. 

This is all made possible thanks to your generous support. Thank you. 

Great progress in Kavre

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As part of our Higher Education Programme, four students (two British, two Nepali) have been in Kavre on a study trip this month. Their research has been going very well. We caught up with one of the students, Tom Webber, earlier this week who filled us in on how things are progressing:

I thought this would be a good opportunity to update everyone on how our work is going.
Since arriving in Kavre last week I’ve had a fantastic time getting to know the local people and experiencing a totally different lifestyle to that of which I’m used to. The level of community spirit and mutual support of each other is something we could really learn from in England.
Due to a combination of excellent support from EcoHimal, good health and fortunate weather conditions have meant we are far ahead of schedule.
I’ve been able to speak with a wide range of people including schools, women and mothers groups, agricultural works and shop owners. Their experiences of water access prior and post earthquake have been incredibly varied and some very interesting points of view have been made. One thing that has particularly stood out to me is how resilient the people of Kavre are in spite of difficult conditions and how important NGO help is to their livelihoods due to the lack of government support given to many.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank both The Glacier Trust and EcoHimal for making this work possible and providing such great support throughout.

Tom is looking at water infrastructure in Kavre, he'll be providing us with a full report on this findings. Judging by the photos he has sent through, it will be an interesting read

 

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Study visit begins

Amrit, Katherine, Saraswoti and Tom have all arrived in Kavre and have started their fieldwork. All four are part of TGT's Higher Education programme.

We've made a photo essay to give you a snapshot into where they are living and working for the next four weeks. 

   The team at Chandeni tea shop on arrival in Kavre.

The team at Chandeni tea shop on arrival in Kavre.

   Tea preparation. 

Tea preparation. 

   From left to right: Tom, Saraswoti, Katherine and Amrit.

From left to right: Tom, Saraswoti, Katherine and Amrit.

   Home for the next four weeks.

Home for the next four weeks.

   Katherine and Saraswoti settle into their new bedroom.

Katherine and Saraswoti settle into their new bedroom.

   Tom and Amrit get down to work beneath their Mosquito nets. 

Tom and Amrit get down to work beneath their Mosquito nets. 

   A view across the valley showing how well crops grown when the rain  does  fall. 

A view across the valley showing how well crops grown when the rain does fall. 

   Venturing out for the first time on the dusty roads of Kavre.

Venturing out for the first time on the dusty roads of Kavre.

Our higher education programme aims to build the capacity of Nepali, UK and overseas students in the fields of climate change adaptation and glaciology. 

Tom and Katherine head to Kavre

  Tom and Katherine at a planning meeting in Southampton earlier this year. 

Tom and Katherine at a planning meeting in Southampton earlier this year. 

We've just got off the phone to Tom Webber and Katherine Reid from University of Southampton who are in the departure hall at Heathrow airport. They are flying via Oman to Kathmandu tonight to meet up up with our Nepal Co-Director Richard Allen tomorrow. 

  Saraswoti and Amrit in Kavre during a pre-planning visit in March.

Saraswoti and Amrit in Kavre during a pre-planning visit in March.

Katherine and Tom will be in Nepal for a month as part of our Higher Education programme to do their MSc dissertation research. They'll be joined by Saraswoti Byanjankar and Amrit Maharjan from Tribhuvan University who will accompany them to the district of Kavre, around fifty miles east of Kathmandu.

Saraswoti and Amrit are also students and will be acting as translators for Tom and Kat in Kavre while also doing valuable research of their own. Our Nepali NGO partners, EcoHimal will be coordinating the trip, they have a wealth of experience and contacts in Kavre and have had staff working closely with the community for several years.

Kavre has suffered greatly in the aftermath of the earthquakes that hit Nepal in 2015, the students will be looking at how they have been recovering and how these efforts are dovetailing with the ongoing struggle to adapt to the impacts of Climate Change.  

We blogged previously about the trip and hope to bring you lots of photos and stories from all four students over the next four weeks. Please keep an eye on our social media feeds and website!

 

Satellite nurseries extend reach of Deusa AFRC

Deusa AFRC is the central hub for the project work we are enabling in Solukhumbu. As it becomes more and more established it is attracting farmers for further and further away.

They come to the AFRC for training, meetings and to purchase plant seedlings that they take home to grow on their farms and in their kitchen gardens.

  The original plant nursery at Deusa AFRC

The original plant nursery at Deusa AFRC

Bringing the AFRC to the farmers

For many people it is a long, hilly and difficult walk to Deusa AFRC (and back), especially if laden down with a few new plants! So, we wanted a way to bring the AFRC to the farmers.

The solution is the establishment of satellite nurseries in strategically planned locations across Deusa, Waku and neighbouring districts. 

  Growing coffee from seed at an AFRC Satellite Nursery in Deusa. 

Growing coffee from seed at an AFRC Satellite Nursery in Deusa. 

The satellite nurseries are run by AFRC trained and supervised farmers. They grow plants from seed in Polytunnels and on small plots across their terraced land. The seedlings they produce are sold to nearby farmers providing an income for the nursery owner. A small percentage from each sale also returns to the AFRC to help fund its wider activities. 

So far, five satellite nurseries have been established and they are developing well. Our partners, EcoHimal Nepal have sent us an update on each satellite nursery. 

Progress update from EcoHimal

The five satellite nurseries (two in Deusa; two in Waku; and one in Tingla) are in good condition and are well managed. The farmers running the satellite nurseries are very optimistic and sharing the learning with their neighbors. Three more satellite nurseries are planned for establishment and we have identified potential sites. The current status of 5 satellite nurseries owned by following farmers is as below:
  1. Mr. Solahang Rai, Deusa 5: He has established a coffee seedling production nursery and there are about 1,500 seedlings in his nursery. In addition, about 1,000 seedlings of Epilipi, 30 seedlings of Picanuts have been prepared for sale. Also he has grown about 300 seedlings of tomato in his nursery.
     
  2. Mr. Youbraj Rai, Deusa 1: In his nursery, about 300 seedlings of orange, about 2,000 saplings of cardamom, about 400 seedlings of guava and approximately 300 seedlings of  Tuni (forest fodder tree) are at place for sale.
     
  3. Mr. Harka Rai, Waku 5: He has grown up about 300 seedlings of Badahar (Monkey’s Jackfruit), 200 seedlings of Uttis (Alder), 2,000 seedlings of Badulla Salla (Pinus roxburghii), 200 seedlings of Kimbu (fodders tree) and about 200 seedlings of tomato in his nursery. He is targeting production of about 50,000 seedlings of  Badulla Salla (Pinus roxburghii)  in next season.
     
  4. Mr. Bal Bahadur Rai, Waku: He has produced about 500 seedlings of coffee, about 400 seedlings of Kutmero (fodder tree), 200 seedlings of Bakaeno, 200 seedlings of Kimbu and about 150 seedlings of orange.
     
  5. Mr. Karna Bahadur Karki, Tingla 7: He has produced about 5,000 seedlings of cardamom, 200 seedlings of Moringa, 100 seedlings of Pomegranate, and about 4,500 vegetable seedlings (cauliflower – 1,700, cabbage-1,300, tomato-1,500)
  AFRC Satellite Nursery at Tingla. 

AFRC Satellite Nursery at Tingla. 

There are plans to establish more satellite nurseries, it is one of the ways we are trying to spread the progress being made in Deusa onto Waku and other neighbouring VDCs in the Dudhkausika Rural Municipality. 

  EcoHimal staff monitor the nursery at Deusa AFRC. 

EcoHimal staff monitor the nursery at Deusa AFRC. 

Get involved

Each satellite nursery costs £152 to set up. This covers the cost of equipment including tools, polytunnels and stationary for bookkeeping. It also covers the cost of the seeds the farmers need to get started. Please get in touch if you would like to sponsor a satellite nursery. 

Official recognition

Our NGO partners in Nepal, EcoHimal, have received a letter from Mr. Ashim Rai, Chairperson of Dudhkausika Rural Municipality. 

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The Dudhkausika rural municipality is home to around 20,000 people who live across nine VDCs (Village Development Committees). The Glacier Trust (TGT) has thus far focused on two neighbouring VDCs, Deusa and Waku.

Deusa is home to the Agro Forestry Resource Centre that TGT played a big role in establishing. Deusa AFRC has become a hub for Climate Change adaptation; its services are being used by farmers from Deusa, Waku and an increasing number from other VDCs in Dudhkausika. The impact has not got unnoticed.

In his letter (see translated version below), Mr Ashim Rai expresses how much the local authority appreciates the work EcoHimal and TGT have been doing over the last five years. This sort of recognition is fantastic and a real boost for everyone involved in the work. As the letter goes on to say, Mr Ashim Rai, would like TGT and EcoHimal to extend their work to other parts of Dudhkausika. 

We have started to do this, training events (such as the recent coffee training workshop) are open to farmers from across the muncipality and many come from outside of Deusa and Waku to attend these. We have also funded the establishment of plant nurseries that act as 'satellites' of the AFRC. These nurseries, run by AFRC trained farmers, make it easier for farmers to get the plant seedlings they need and advice on how to nurture them. 

The AFRC model is working, as a small charity, our aim is always to pilot and test innovations that enable climate change adaptation in a sustainable way. Deusa AFRC will soon be financially self sufficient, allowing TGT to direct funding to other locations. We believe that the AFRC model can be replicated and encourage other, larger NGOs, to learn from what we are doing and fund similar projects across Nepal. 

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Co-operative formed in Deusa

Back in January, our volunteer Meleah, visited Deusa in Solukhumbu to attend a coffee growing and co-operative training event run by our partners EcoHimal and Helvetas

Meleah is working with us to create a new film telling the story of the coffee growing revolution that is happening in Deusa and Waku. Below are some of her photo's from the co-operative workshop she attended in Solukhumbu in January.

We have just heard the fantastic news that a new co-operative has now officiallly formed in Deusa! 

 A temporary field classroom was constructed to host the two day workshop, which attracted over 50 farmers from across Deusa and Waku. 

A temporary field classroom was constructed to host the two day workshop, which attracted over 50 farmers from across Deusa and Waku. 

 Narayan Dhakal from Eco Himal Nepal opens the session. Narayan has given training on organising and running co-operatives across Nepal and in several other countries in the Himalaya and Hindu Kush region.  

Narayan Dhakal from Eco Himal Nepal opens the session. Narayan has given training on organising and running co-operatives across Nepal and in several other countries in the Himalaya and Hindu Kush region.  

 A farmer asks a question during the workshop session. 

A farmer asks a question during the workshop session. 

 Workshops in Nepal are not all lectures and note taking. Togetherness is a key value in successful co-operatives. Narayan Dhakal leads an exercise outside to break up the day. 

Workshops in Nepal are not all lectures and note taking. Togetherness is a key value in successful co-operatives. Narayan Dhakal leads an exercise outside to break up the day. 

 Participants were provided with stationary to take notes and handbooks to annotate for future reference.  

Participants were provided with stationary to take notes and handbooks to annotate for future reference.  

 Participants take a break and share some refreshing local oranges.  

Participants take a break and share some refreshing local oranges.  

 Meleah and Narayan both reported how encouraging it was to see the amount of information the participants were recording, a tangible sign of how engaged they were in the workshop and the co-operative concept.  

Meleah and Narayan both reported how encouraging it was to see the amount of information the participants were recording, a tangible sign of how engaged they were in the workshop and the co-operative concept.  

 Fresh ground coffee, locally grown and delicious. A vital crop for Deusa and Waku as it adapts to climate change. 

Fresh ground coffee, locally grown and delicious. A vital crop for Deusa and Waku as it adapts to climate change. 

We are very happy to report that as a direct result of the training, a Co-operative has now been formed in Deusa!

The Deusa Co-operative that will meet at the Deusa AFRC has 13 members, male and female, from across the community. By coming together in this way, farmers are better able to budget, plan, farm and sell coffee, oranges, banana's and other crops. 

Hari Kumar Kharki, the Eco Himal project officer who is leading on the projects TGT fund in Solukhumbu sent us this photo of the newly formed co-operative who met at the Deusa AFRC on Friday. He assures us that despite the tired looking faces, they are delighted to come together in this way!

 Deusa farmers Co-Operative, formed April 2018 at Deusa Agro Forestry Resource Centre (AFRC), Solukhumbu, Nepal. Co-op members are pictured here with family members and staff from Eco Himal and the Deusa AFRC. 

Deusa farmers Co-Operative, formed April 2018 at Deusa Agro Forestry Resource Centre (AFRC), Solukhumbu, Nepal. Co-op members are pictured here with family members and staff from Eco Himal and the Deusa AFRC. 

Studies in Kavre

Earlier this month our trustee, Dr Craig Hutton, was in Nepal to attend a conference in Kathmandu. While there, Craig took the opportunity to join our Nepal based Co-Director, Richard Allen, on a field visit to Kavre with our NGO partners Eco Himal and students from Tribhuvan University.

As we relaunch our higher education programme in 2018, we are focusing on supporting Nepali and UK students to study sustainable development and climate change adaptation in the field. This programme will be run as a collaboration between Tribhuvan University (Kathmandu), Eco Himal Nepal (one of our partners NGOs) and Southampton University.

Kavre lies around three hours east of Kathmandu, yet feels very remote, especially towards the top of the hills away from the main roads. It is very dry and still struggling to recover from the 2015 earthquakes that destroyed hundreds of homes, buildings and roads.

The earthquakes also affected many of the springs that families rely on for drinking, irrigation and cooking. Climate Change is exacerbating these problems.

By studying Kavre, its post earthquake recovery and its adaptation to climate change, two Nepali and two UK students will make a valuable contribution to understandings of these issues. Their findings will also inform any future projects work TGT and Eco Himal partner up on to deliver.  

Visiting Kavre - a photo essay

Prior to Craig and Richard's recent visit, Morgan visited Kavre in November 2017. Images from both trips make up this photo essay. 

 A view of the Himalaya's from Kavre. (March 2018)

A view of the Himalaya's from Kavre. (March 2018)

 Kavre is very dry, this school playing field is one of the highest in the district. (November 2017)

Kavre is very dry, this school playing field is one of the highest in the district. (November 2017)

 Crops here are rain fed. The monsoon season is now shorter and more unpredictable, presenting huge challenges for farmers. (November 2017)

Crops here are rain fed. The monsoon season is now shorter and more unpredictable, presenting huge challenges for farmers. (November 2017)

 Chemical pesticide use, to protect crops from insects, is common in Kavre. For the individual farmer, in the short term it makes sense, longer term it could be catastrophic to local ecological systems. (March 2018)

Chemical pesticide use, to protect crops from insects, is common in Kavre. For the individual farmer, in the short term it makes sense, longer term it could be catastrophic to local ecological systems. (March 2018)

 The earthquake caused a lot of damage in Kavre, here we can see a crack in the wall of the school, straight through the Nepali national anthem. (November 2017)

The earthquake caused a lot of damage in Kavre, here we can see a crack in the wall of the school, straight through the Nepali national anthem. (November 2017)

 Slowly, schools are under reconstruction. Until they are finished students cram into the classrooms that weren't completely destroyed. These have been deemed safe enough for use, in many cases only just. (November 2017)

Slowly, schools are under reconstruction. Until they are finished students cram into the classrooms that weren't completely destroyed. These have been deemed safe enough for use, in many cases only just. (November 2017)

 Dr. Craig Hutton and Tribhuvan University student, Amrit in discussion at one of the schools that is being rebuilt. (March 2018)

Dr. Craig Hutton and Tribhuvan University student, Amrit in discussion at one of the schools that is being rebuilt. (March 2018)

 The rebuilding process, for homes and schools has been very slow, nearly three years on from the earthquakes, building work is only just beginning for some. (March 2018)

The rebuilding process, for homes and schools has been very slow, nearly three years on from the earthquakes, building work is only just beginning for some. (March 2018)

 Many families are still living in what should have been temporary shelters. Due to the altitude these homes get very cold in winter, this is putting a lot of strain on the surrounding woodlands as trees are chopped down for fuel. (November 2017) 

Many families are still living in what should have been temporary shelters. Due to the altitude these homes get very cold in winter, this is putting a lot of strain on the surrounding woodlands as trees are chopped down for fuel. (November 2017) 

 Eco Himal Nepal are working in Kavre and will help to co-ordinate the Higher Education programme in June 2018. Here, from left to right are Narayan, Anisha, Laxmi (who works in Kavre full time) and Keshab. (March 2018)

Eco Himal Nepal are working in Kavre and will help to co-ordinate the Higher Education programme in June 2018. Here, from left to right are Narayan, Anisha, Laxmi (who works in Kavre full time) and Keshab. (March 2018)

 Tribhuvan University have selected two MSc students, Sarasati and Amrit who will study the impact of the earthquakes on societal structures in Kavre. They will also act as interpreters to support two MSc students from Southampton University. Together they will spend much of June 2018 in Kavre studying for their dissertations. (March 2018)

Tribhuvan University have selected two MSc students, Sarasati and Amrit who will study the impact of the earthquakes on societal structures in Kavre. They will also act as interpreters to support two MSc students from Southampton University. Together they will spend much of June 2018 in Kavre studying for their dissertations. (March 2018)


We believe education to be a vital in enabling Nepal to adapt to the impacts of climate change and become more resilient to any future earthquakes. 

As climate change deepens, we will need a growing number of professionals with the skills and knowledge to enable adaptation across the whole Himalaya's. They will come from Nepal and the wider world. Our higher education programme makes a valuable contribution to this training effort. 

The Glacier Trust, with your help, can build the capacity of the next generation of adaptation specialists in Nepal.

Our programme supports Nepali students to carry out in-depth field research, which they might otherwise not be able to afford. In 2018 students from Tribhuvan University will be collaborating with students from Southampton University in a process of shared and reciprocal learning. If you would like to support our work in this area, please make donation to The Glacier Trust today. 

International Women's Day

Today we celebrate International Women's Day and would like to introduce you to Nun Maya. 

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When we visited Deurali in November, we met Nun Maya and her two young children. They had just bought a simple water sprinkler with help from our local NGO partners HICODEF. It is all part of the climate change adaptation project TGT is funding there.

TGT and HICODEF generally don’t go in for tech ‘solutions’; they often require power (and therefore fossil fuels) and farmers can run into trouble trying to service and maintain them. But low-tech, labour-saving and emission free bits of kit can make a big difference. Nun Maya told us that the sprinkler saves her around two hours a day. That adds up to 600+ hours a year, around 50 working days! 

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Those extra 50 days will make an extraordinary difference; imagine if you were suddenly given two hours more a day?! Nun Maya is putting the hours saved to use developing and expanding her farm. HICODEF are training her in growing new crops and marketing them in the local town, she is already growing tomato, cauliflower, cabbage and peas. She hopes to become a commercial farmer and seems to be well on the way. Her first aim is to recoup the 20,000 rupee investment she has made in the irrigation equipment. After that, she wants to take on some staff to help during busy periods. 

As a lead farmer, Nun Maya is inspiring and motivating other women in Deurali. Watching her children's pure delight at running through the sprinkler water, she is no doubt inspiring the next generation too!  

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