Climate Change Adaptation, Experience from Bardiya
As a youth activist in Nepal, doing campaigns and leading activities on climate change and sustainable development over the last 10 years, I had opportunities to experience the policy and decision making processes at national, regional and global levels. I had never expected to be part of projects specially led by Government, but now it has been nearly a year that I have been working as a consultant for Nepal Climate Change Support Programme (NCCSP). The first thing I realized about the project, as I met the team members from 14 districts where the project is being implemented, is that it has been providing opportunities to many young people like me. That has motivated me to see the positive aspects of government. At NCCSP, I have done data analysis, monitoring and evaluation for more than 7000 activities under the National Adaptation Program of Action (NAPA) and Local Adaptation Plans of Action (LAPA) being implemented in 90 VDCs and 7 Municipalities of 14 Districts in Nepal. It has been exciting for a person like me who is full of enthusiasm and hungry to learn and experience new things.
Even more amazing is when I had a field trip to Bardiya. For me travelling has been a process of learning about people, lifestyles and livelihoods on the ground. I believe that we should explore our country to know more about how adaptation projects can actually enhance capacity at grassroots level by promoting better environment friendly development processes.
Bardiya is a district that lies in Mid-Western Region of Nepal that covers 2025 sq. km with a population of 426576 (2011, CBS). It is one of the 14 districts where NCCSP is implementing its projects. NCCSP has been carrying out pilot activities in 8 VDCs in Bardiya, among which I had an opportunity to visit Shivapur VDC along with my co-worker, the Acting District Coordinator and LAPA Facilitator. In visiting Bardiya and monitoring the NCCSP activities, I made the following observations:
Gabion Dam Construction, Shivapur-1: During the monsoon, the villagers were suffering from the overflow and flooding of the nearby river, Juthe Naala. As a measure for adaptation, a dam about 20m wide was constructed with support from NCCSP. The dam has an outlet for overflow which leads to the fields of villagers via small irrigating canals.
Boring and Handpump, Shivapur-6: According to the LAPA Facilitator, in previous years there were many barren lands due to drought and changing climate. As government came with some plans of irrigation in Bardiya, it has now increased the agricultural land that villagers could cultivate. One of the practices being done by NCCSP is installation of hand pump and boring that serves more than 2 hectares of land for irrigation. Irrigation has improved the field yields and maintained moisture during the dry season.
High Raised Tap, Shivapur-6: Another problem with the flood is that it contaminates water sources. To cope with the scarcity of clean water, NCCSP has helped the village with the construction of a high raised tap of height up to 1 m above the ground that serves 5 households per tap.
Tunnel Farming, Bio Gas, Cowshed Management (Bhakaro Sudhar), Shivapur-7: It was most exciting to meet Basudev Gautam, a farmer from the village who lives there with his wife, son, daughter-in-law and two grandsons. He and his wife are already old, his son has a disability and his grandsons are small kids, but he has to look after the farm himself and his family depends totally on the income generated from vegetable farming in their 0.5 ha (15 Kattha) of land. In the last few years, winter vegetable production decreased due to extreme cold, and it was also hard to save the saplings from pest infestation.
In 2071 BS when NCCSP introduced tunnel farming in the VDC, Mr. Gautam was selected for the pilot tunnel vegetable farming. After financial and technical support from NCCSP, tunnel farming was initiated in 0.16 ha (5 Kattha) of his land with different varieties of vegetables. Along with tunnel farming, Mr. Gautam has also initiated bio-gas production, which he uses for cooking, while the sludge produced as the residue is well managed, collected and used as fertilizer in his farm. He has been also trained for proper management of cowshed for which he has different outlets for dungs and urines which are used for bio gas production as well as fertilizers for farming. Comparing the vegetable farming done as such inside the tunnel and outside, the production was better in the tunnel, which saved the vegetables from extreme cold and pest infestation. This has increased his income to 10000 Nepalese Rupee because of the higher yields. Most surprisingly, according to Mr. Gautam, the tunnel system gave green bean with a length of 1 m and a tomato with a weight of 1kg. He had to distribute many of the vegetables for free due to high production. Now he is also practicing drip irrigation along with the tunnel farming. The old struggling farmer has set an example of entrepreneurship in Bardiya and is very thankful for NCCSP for all the support he gained.
Travelling is more about learning. And the field visit has taught me many lessons. Through these pilot projects implementing NAPA and LAPA, NCCSP has enhanced livelihood of many vulnerable groups in Nepal. In other hand, it is quite challenging for the government that so many people are dependent and still wait for government projects to sustain their lives. We have to learn to replicate the successful projects, which might be why NCCSP aims to implement Climate Change Adaptation through Public Private Partnership (PPP) too. I also realized that institutions and academic sectors should make such visits for practical learning in the places where government has been implementing their projects. Such visits will help young people like me to be watchdogs in development processes, monitoring and evaluating the projects, generating new ideas and integrating the best practices at ground level, for the people and for the secured and sustainable future of this and the coming generation.
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