Communities come together for livelihood
August 2010; Siwir Tole, ward number 8, Dhungekhola village in Sarlahi district is a very poor area where mostly the 1990 flood victims have settled down.
UNDP's Livelihood Recovery for Peace (LRP) Project has formed women's groups at the community level in Sarlahi and Mahottari districts. Within four months, there are signs of progress and women can be seen fighting social discrimination. Today, families from 70 households comprising Dalits, Magars and Tamangs (indigenous community) and Chettris are filling their water jars from the same public well, which earlier was a taboo.
Women there have formed the Deurali Livelihood Women's Group. "We have learnt to treat each other equally and take decisions through consensus," says Bishnumaya Bamjan, treasurer of the group. Based on their demand, LRP is constructing two more public wells for them.
31 women from excluded group have formed the Sagarmatha Livelihood Group in Katani, Murtiya village, located a few kilometers away from Dhungekhola. The women are looking after the construction of a multi-purpose community building and the new responsibility has brought both excitement and exposure to the members.
Nirmala Paswan says, "We never went to the market to buy anything before. It was always the men. The experience of buying iron rods, and bricks in the bazaar was so different. Men have started calling us 'Nawa Mukhiyas' (new leaders)'. The Peace and Livelihood Facilitators (PALs) are supporting them to make the best buy and maintain the accounts. The practice of exercising transparency and accountability is seen in their action. The members of the community group are updated fully of the budget approved under the first installment.
With a flurry of development activities taking place such as the construction of community buildings and infrastructure (culverts, drainage, drinking water taps) there is less conflict within and harmony is established with united and active participation of the communities.
This integrated community-based project is being implemented in Mahottari, Sarlahi and Rautahat districts since August 2009 and aims to contribute to strengthening the capacities of communities and local institutions address the needs of the marginalized and vulnerable communities.