Aranya Solutions

A honey bee on a globe. Text says "Aranya Solutions".

Improving lives of deprived communities in Dingam, Chipling and Thakani villages in Nepal - Empowering Women and Village Livelihood

Supporting the people in the Himalayas be more self-sustaining, empowering women and livelihood improvements through regenerative agriculture with shiitake mushroom and kiwi farming, beekeeping and leadership development. Aranya Solutions is working with three economically marginalized rural villages on strengthening their local capacities to improve their well-being and sustainability with a focus on indigenous sovereignty and cultural heritage preservation.

Partnering with the Institute for Cultural Affairs in Nepal (ICA-Nepal) and Rotary International, Aranya Solutions worked with  three adjoining villages in the  Nuwakot and Sindhupalchowk districts of Nepal starting in  2017 to implement a Village Livelihood Program. These two districts are among the most affected areas by the massive earthquake of 2015 in Nepal. 

The major objective of the project is to enhance the leadership capacity of the communities for income generation of 200 households through skill development activities and diversify their agriculture in these deprived communities.  

These rural villages are in the foothills of the Himalayas, 2,500 meters high in the mountains, 65 km from Kathmandu,capital of Nepal. These villages are connected with roads that are not accessible during rainy monsoon season.

Program Overview:

o General Agriculture and Livelihood training  provided to diversify the agriculture, extend growing season, improve livestock raising techniques, mushroom farming, beekeeping and create value added products. Agriculture Demonstration Plots to aid in the infrastructure and sustainability of their agriculture program. 

 

o Micro Entreprise Development – a Cooperative was initiated, with assistance from other successful programs and suggestions for income generation using local resources, such as honey production, a specialized sector will be for women’s skill development.

 

o Women empowerment – counseling, safe place for women and their empowerment to explore new ideas and explore inherent capacities to lead. Handloom training for women participants to engage them into income generating activities including cooperative training.


o Leadership Development – We gave leadership trainings to the whole community and support network, local leaders in the villages, Rotary Community Corps, Elected Local Government Officials for identifying the resources, making plans and resource mobilization.

IMPACT:

By the end of 2019, the Village Livelihood Program had provided several trainings to people in the villages of Dingam, Chipling, Thankani–and ultimately impacted 10,000 people in the region

The outcome is empowered communities to be self-sustaining. The impact is the well being of the community state of health and happiness, afterall, isn’t happiness the ultimate goal in life?

Over 100 villagers were trained in sustainable agriculture, including shitake and kiwi farming, nursery management and tunnel house cultivation, and beekeeping and honey production. Outcomes were skills-sharing amongst villagers that enabled the training to reach 1,000 people and the diversification of agricultural products, which resulted in increased income from market sales.

Women’s empowerment was promoted through training 60 women on traditional handloom weaving, which enabled women throughout the local villages to expand their craft sales at markets, while they bonded. Essential psychological and counseling support was also provided to ensure the training had a beneficial and long-lasting impact on women’s economic development.

Training was also provided to 30 people in micro-enterprise development and to 24 people in leadership and governance, furthering the capacity of the villages to be self-sustaining. All the villages were also taught how to create a cooperative to combine their resources for continued success. 20 new enterprises were formed with a support network of a coordinator and team for each new enterprise, and additional support from the village cooperative formed. ICA-Nepal and Aranya Solutions continue to provide trainings in accounting, market development and effective communication skills. 

Testimonials

“The work of Aranya Solutions has helped a lot in transforming the lives in three villages in Nepal. They take the time to listen to what the needs of the community are, then work collaboratively with us as partners to develop programs to meet those needs. They work through challenges when they arise and look at all sides of the problems to find resolve and understanding. We have really enjoyed working with Aranya Solutions, they provided some structure, connection to resources, including the necessity of raising funds needed for our project.”  

  • Dr. Tatwa Timsina, PhD, Professor, TU and Founder of the Institute of Cultural Affairs, ICA-Nepal, primary Partner Organization in Nepal

 

In the villagers words….

“We are really happy with the Tunnel Farming. Farmers used the tunnels for tomato farming, and many more farmers were able to sell their produce in the market. Tomatoes are selling well in the market, thanks to the tunnel houses. They sold tomatoes in the local market for a very good price, thank you for supporting us to reach our dreams.” 

  • Sukman Tamang, Village Leader, Dingam Village, Nuwkat Region, Nepal

 

Women’s Empowerment through Weaving in Nepal

Look at the detail in this gorgeous bag! This was created in Nepal in our women’s empowerment program, it’s one example of many – including scarves, bags and shawls that 60 local women learned how to weave during our 45 day training program serving 3 villages.

Our executive director/founder, Katrina Zavalney had the honor of being in Nepal personally for this training. She experienced first-hand the joy these women received from learning these new skills to weave. 

The course was part of a larger program to support local economies, enable families to stay together, and support communities to thrive through training in regenerative agriculture, leadership and to form a cooperative. Within one month, local stores began carrying these beautiful, handmade, local goods rather than only imported junk food, sodas and beer. 

Until this point, only a small handful of women knew how to weave these traditional items; it was becoming a lost cultural skill. Beyond the initial 60 women directly impacted, an inspiring ripple effect reached neighboring villages reaching over 10,000 people.

This is truly a regenerative circular economy. Looms are made from locally available and sourced bamboo, providing further benefit to the local livelihood. They live in mountain jungles of Nepal, in remote villages our work encourages to be self-sustaining. 

These women feel heard, seen and empowered to do more in their community. Aranya Solutions partners with ICA Nepal and Rotary International to find the best local teachers in Nepal.  These women have a new element in their lives that enables them to express their creativity, and earn an income. In addition, they learn about their once-dying culture and history, and can now keep that alive and thriving.