Finishing well is the hard part. Often there is much excitement and energy around the beginning of a project and great anticipation of what it will accomplish. On Friday, December 20, however, we celebrated a great example of finishing well with our partner, Sansthagat Bikas Sanjal and their community-based implementing partner, Community Development Society (CDS). These partners have just completed their 3-year earthquake recovery project in Ramechhap district in eastern Nepal.
The project worked primarily with a group of participants from the Majhi ethnic group, a group that has regularly experienced the effects of poverty and marginalization. CDS and Sanjal supported this community with masonry training, housing reconstruction support, training on agricultural production, market linkages for their produce, and the construction of irrigation and drinking water systems.
There were challenges of delayed access to electricity, the possibility of the construction of a dam that would disrupt activities, and worms that destroyed some participants’ crops. However, through the commitment of the CDS and Sanjal staff, this project finished with many stories of impact and change. Farmers reported for the first time seeing their agriculture production as a profession rather than just something they needed to do to feed their family. This empowerment they experienced was possible through helping forge connections with markets in which to sell their produce. They also engaged with CDS staff who advocated with local government for the rights of their community and access to the same resources that other communities in the district enjoy. As a result, the community is more equipped and confident for future involvement in advocacy efforts.
Though we will miss our engagement in this project community, we are grateful for the efforts of our partners, Sanjal and CDS, and for their commitment to helping communities like this one recover from the lasting effects of the earthquake.