6th March 2020

How we’re empowering women in Nepal

This International Women’s Day we’re celebrating our water projects and how they empower women.

One of the women we’re helping is 42 year-old Kalpana. A housewife living in rural Nepal, her home doesn’t have the mod cons the average western home has. Her day is formed of many gruelling tasks just so her family has the bare minimum to get by.

To put things into perspective, Kalpana has to walk for hours up and down steep hills to gather water for drinking, bathing and washing dishes. A task that just involves turning on a tap in the UK.

With two young sons and a husband working long hours as a teacher, Kalpana simply does not have enough time to do anything other than be a housewife. With a yearning to help provide for her family by taking over the family poultry farm, something had to change.

“We used to fetch water from rivers. We didn’t even know if there would be any water when we reached them. The water was not clean and the management was very poor. It was a very hard time. It was hard to manage both household activities and my poultry farm. It was physically challenging too.”

“I came to know that The Gurkha Welfare Trust provides clean drinking water for people in need, so I applied for it.”

After we visited Kalpana’s village to test logistics for water provision, we were delighted to tell the villagers that it was possible to give them access to clean water, and a tap outside each of their family homes.

Empowering women in the village

Before we started construction, we set up a village committee to include a Chairperson, Secretary and a Village Hygiene Worker. Forming these committees empowers the community themselves to take responsibility of the project, which ensures is sustainability into the future.

“Because many of the men have moved away to get better jobs, the other women and I put our names forward to build and run this project.”

“We insisted that we can also work 100% effectively to help build and construct it. We know the importance of water. So, we took the responsibility and divide the work among ourselves.”

This project is a leading example of how women can manage these projects to give a better future for their families.

“After GWT formed the committee, we felt empowered. Our level of self-confidence increased and it became very easy to tell other women what they can do too.”

“With the help of GWT, we came to know how we can form a group of women and work together, and also came to know how to properly utilise water. During the construction period, there were many challenges but we conquered and finished the projects 10-15 days earlier than estimated end date.”

The women in this village are now more aware about water purification methods, as well as personal hygiene and sanitation.

“To make this water project sustainable, myself and the other committee members carry out awareness programmes, operation and maintenance, and check for repairs we might need. We also have a village maintenance worker, who was trained by The Gurkha Welfare Trust.

“I am very happy now and have been working constantly. We all are working together in the efforts to make this drinking water project sustainable. I strongly believe that we can.”

“Thank you for bringing clean water to my community. There is no new incidence case of water borne diseases. People of our projects are very happy and satisfied. Sanitation has been drastically improved in our community. GWT have not only brought the water but also awareness and empowerment among us. Thank you for wonderful learning. On the behalf of all the villagers, I would like to thank GWT.”

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