Agriculture: The Roots of Empowerment, by Avi Belbase (A23)

by MH
Aug 16

In the community of Bolgaun, Bhimala works to ensure the livelihood of the crops and adequate maintenance of farming procedures over 7 communities. While community members have often been content with having enough crop to feed themselves for the year, PHASE and Bhimala are working to empower the community further by growing enough crops to sell in the country’s capital (Kathmandu). Farming in mountain regions is often difficult, with harsh conditions such as hail, landslides, and wind interfering with the growth of various crops.

One strategy that they have developed is the use of greenhouses, that shelter the plants from such conditions, and also optimize temperature for faster growth. Through her community visits, Bhimala ensured that these greenhouses were adequately maintained. She facilitated an open community forum through all her meetings that allowed for members to express their concerns and thoughts.

PHASE has conducted a nutritional project where they’ve provided some crops (kiwi, tomato, carrots) to encourage the residents of Bolgaun to engage in a more balanced and nutritionally rich diet. Bhimala works closely with Muna (health supervisor) to represent a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle for rural community members. From nutrition tests to health surveys, they both work with utmost diligence - making sure that each and every member has had the opportunity to disclose their concerns.

One of PHASE’s fundamental principles is empowering members of the community who are at the greatest disadvantage, such as single women, pregnant women, the elderly, and children. As a result, they have provided livestock to one of the community volunteers, Anjali, who was widowed after her husband passed away.

Overall, we were very impressed by the standards kept and maintained by all the communities. The commitment to discussion, improvement, and implementation of advanced agricultural techniques gave us a great insight into how empowerment works on a grassroots level.