At the beginning of June, Urmila Adhikari (ADA/EcoHimal project manager) and Raj Bahadur Shahi (core project manager) visited Jumla and Mugu for the recruitment of intern ANMs (auxiliary nurse midwives) and JTAs (junior technical assistants), to initiate the procurement of goats for the livelihood project in the area and support the field staff in implementation of the project activities. PHASE Nepal has recently expanded its project areas in the mid & far West of Nepal and started a community development project, funded by different donors – Austrian Development Cooperation through EcoHimal Austria , Innocent Foundation and States of Guernsey.
The visit started with a meeting in Karnali Technical School in Chandannath, Jumla, to discuss and complete the recruitment of intern ANMs for the project. The technical school was involved in the process of recruitment and was asked to disseminate the vacancies amongst its students. Due to challenges in communication and geographical remoteness, only 8 candidates appeared for the written and oral interview for the post of ANM. 3 intern ANMs and 2 JTAs were recruited (JTAs were recruited in Jumla, district headquarters in separate location).
Following the recruitment, Urmila and Raj travelled further to Ruga – Mugu – for a monitoring visit and to help the local staff to start the activities. Urmila supported the local ANMs in patient check up, medicine arrangement and in overall clinic management. Raj held a meeting with the local JTAs and social mobilizers. They were supported on the method of improved grass transplantation and proper techniques of using plastic tunnels focusing on vegetable production in winter season. They were also supported in making a crop calendar (sowing time) to establish a production plan for vegetable production throughout the year.
Six communities in Mugu received 90,000rs each through PHASE staff to procure local goats to set up the goat breeding programme. The communities suggested procuring local goats as imported goats from further districts or regions might have difficulties to adjust to the environment. An improved breeding buck will be brought from adjoining district or community though. Sets of improved grass, Napier and Mulato, were provided to 10 farmers’ groups in Ruga. These are high yielding nutritive grass sorts and are good for cow, goat and buffalo feeding. These grass sorts are planted on the alley of the field with the objective of dual benefit: use as livestock feed and also helpful to reduce the soil erosion.
For implementation of the project in Mugu, the team received 200 plastic sheets for tunnels, 150 drip irrigations sets and 46 boxes with medicines in Gamgadi. The transport from Kathmandu to Gamgadi was delayed and took 2 weeks. The materials are currently stored in Gamgadi and local staff will send the materials by mule to the project communities at the earliest.
There was a positive feedback from the farmers’ groups in Ruga: “It took us many days to prepare the land for the tunnels but we know it will be worth all the effort. We are sure that next winter, our fields will be covered with green vegetables. We can’t wait to enjoy green vegetables, even in winter!”