This story dates back to couple of months ago when I visited one of the Practical Action projects in mid-west Nepal. Funded by the Zurich Foundation, the Nepal Flood Resilience Project (NFRP) is building the resilience of vulnerable communities to flood risks.
Bidhya in her mushroom farm
I met a very enthusiastic beneficiary of the project – Ms Bidhya Kumari Chaudhary (28). During our conversation she was happy to describe how the project helped her to increase her resilience to flood.
Bidhya lives in Rajapur, Bardiya with her 10-member family. Her husband is a contract farmer and income of her husband is scarcely sufficient to maintain the expenditure of the family members’ basic needs. Due to the low income of the family they were not able to make any saving from the income which they could utilise responding to their needs in hard times.
However, now things have changed since Bidhya learned about mushroom farming from NFRP. With this practical knowledge she started farming and since last year (2015) she was able to make 10 thousand Nepali rupees (around US$ 100) from it. She invested this income in goats.
Bidhya with her goats
Now she has four goats as the goats she purchased gave birth to two kids. She earned another 10 thousand rupees from mushroom farming this year, out of which she invested six thousand rupees in her children’s education and household needs and saved four thousand rupees.
This year Bidhya is planning to expand her mushroom farming and expects that she will be able to make a profit of 30 to 40 thousand rupees. To take her farm to a commercial level, she is now asking the NFRP to connect her with a good input service provider for mushroom seeds.
How all these made Bidhya and her family resilient to floods
Bidhya’s village is at risk of floods from the Karnali River every year during the monsoon season. Earlier, due to lack of savings the family was vulnerable to the effect of floods and used to take long time to revert back to the same socio-economic condition. But now since she has an extra income and savings, she thinks that it has increased the resilience of her family. She says,
“With the increased income and savings I feel more resilient to floods and other hazards as I can use the savings to rebuild my livelihood.”
Bidhya has become the vice president of the Community Disaster Management Committee (CDMC). She understands the early warning system procedures established by the NFRP well and instructs fellow villagers about the early warning signals, communications channels, evacuation route and safer shelter.