Nepal: Opportunity As The Great Equalizer
"I am usually dependent on my husband's income to run the household, but this project has helped me get some work experience and earn some money. We have proven that even women can work and contribute to the community's development, if given the opportunity."
BAJHANG - In the remote mountain village of Paira in Far-western Nepal, 23-year-old Dhaulidevi Bohara has had few chances in her life. She is from this area, where food is scarce and economic opportunities are limited.
In 2012, a new source water protection project, launched by WFP in collaboration with the German development agency, GIZ, has not only given her the opportunity to work outside her house, but also to learn the skills of a construction laborer – a job usually reserved for men.
"I am usually dependent on my husband's income to run the household, but this project has helped me get some work experience and earn some money. We have proven that even women can work and contribute to the community's development, if given the opportunity," she said.
Under WFP’s Livelihoods and Assets Creation Programme, from November 2012 to February 2013, around 35 households from Paira village participated in this project.
The food-insecure community worked together for 60 days, with each participating household receiving a cash transfer of NPR85 (approximately USD0.80) along with 2.5 kilograms of rice and 250 grams of lentils for every day they labored on the source water protection project.
Using handmade tools like shovels, pickaxes and hammers, Dhaulidevi and her neighbors – mostly women – dug and flattened the sloppy area around the stream and fenced it with rocks and wires to prevent cattle from grazing in it and polluting the source water.
Three taps were constructed by building a cemented wall so that the community could have safe and clean access to water.
“In the past, collecting water was so dangerous since the area going to the stream was very slippery. I was always scared that I might fall down while collecting the water," she recalled. "Although I have to walk a mile to get here, I am happy because now I can get clean water, without worrying about slipping!”
For her work on the source water protection project, Dhaulidevi received a total cash transfer of NPR5,100 (USD48.6), which she spent on buying household necessities and school supplies for her children. In addition, she also received a total of 150 kilograms of rice and 15 kilograms of lentils from WFP, which helped meet the immediate food needs of her family.
“This project has given me so much. I got employed, I learned different work skills and I received an equal wage as that of a male co-worker, which has really helped me and my family,” said Dhaulidevi.
“I am so happy to have been part of this project. In the long run, this will not only benefit our village, but many other communities who need clean source water as well.”