Rural Community Reforestation - Terai Plains, Nepal
IN0903: 29th August - 12th September 2009
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Time for a renaissance: The people of Nepal have had their fair share of problems in recent years. In an already desperately poor country, heavily reliant on tourism, political disturbances have had a double impact on individual's lives and livelihoods.
Throughout this time BTCV has continued to work with villagers in the Terai region, and now, thanks to the peace accord signed on the 21st November 2006, and further political stabilisation since, our continued work is even more important as the country strives to get back on its feet.
Join us on this grass-roots project, live and work with local villagers, rediscover the beauty and amazing wildlife of Nepal, and be part of the renaissance.
Who we're working with
In 1999, the
Rural Conservation and Development Program (RCDP – Nepal) and local villagers of the Rampur village reached an agreement to develop the Rampur community forest as a "Model conservation programme supported by international volunteers and the local community in Nepal". There are five village-based nurseries involved in the scheme. This programme is a unique opportunity to contribute to the conservation of nature in Nepal and enjoy its beauty while working in these village-based programmes. RCDP-Nepal is a non-profit, non-governmental volunteer organisation.
A word from our partners:
"The mission of the RCDP-Nepal is to encourage and invite the international volunteers to contribute to the community development and nature conservation activities in Nepal. Through our volunteer programmes,
international volunteers promote mutual friendship, world peace, solidarity and enjoy the beauty and culture of nature."
Where we're working
Rampur Village and their Community Forest lie in the heart of the lush Terai lowlands of central Nepal, about 93 miles west of Kathmandu.
The village is under the Chainpur Village Development Committee located in Chitwan District approximately 108 miles south-west of Kathmandu. Chainpur is the original headquarters of Chitwan district. Brahmin and Chetri are dominant ethnic groups followed by Darai and Tamang.
Since 2001, RCDP has developed a multipurpose tree nursery in Rampur in order to foster conservation. Extending to 1.5 hectares, the nursery has been leased by the organisation for 15 years. A wide variety of species are grown including: china berry; silk cotton; ipilupi; sissoo; bamboo; and several fruit such as litchi; mango; jack fruit; and guava. In addition, the conservation nursery houses the flower species: bougainvillea; croton; hibiscus; and gardenia.
Seedlings produced in the nursery are then distributed free of charge to local farmers and partners in the area, providing a vital source of food, fodder and important erosion and soil management functions. Parallel to this, the nursery directly benefits local community members, who are learning new skills in plant cultivation and care.
What we'll be doing
We'll be joining in with all the activities associated with the day-to-day running of the nursery. The work will include weeding, cutting and grafting practices, pot filling, seeding and watering which are all done in the village nursery.
Other types of work may include digging, fencing and mulching on the associated green belt plantation programme.
Due to the location of this project and leisure activities planned, a good level of fitness is required.
We'll generally be working 5-6 hours a day. Work starts after breakfast and hours could be 8:30am - 12pm and 4pm - 6pm. These times avoid the heat of the day. Working times may change depending on the weather.
Local people participate in all projects. Some villagers will be working directly with our group. This gives an excellent opportunity for all of us to exchange ideas and views and to enjoy the local culture, religion and people.
Two RCDP leaders will also be with the group throughout the project period.
Benefits of our work
As well as immediate benefits to the local community and others in the area, it is intended that in the long run the Rampur Conservation Project will act as a model for the whole of Nepal. It will show how conservation and eco-tourism can go hand in hand. A great number of farmers, forest user groups, school children, visitors, etc. are expected to benefit from community forest projects in the future. Development of this kind of project is important in Nepal, where most of the forests have been disappearing at an alarming rate because of the growing population and the loss of traditional land management knowledge.
Where we'll be staying
We'll be staying in pairs with local host families in their own homes - an amazing opportunity to really share life in a different culture. There will be a separate room for males and females. Nepal is a developing country so accommodation is naturally basic. Our hosts will provide bedding in the form of blankets and local carpets - it's not essential but you may wish to bring your own sheet sleeping bag.
There'll be guidance on local customs and before long you'll feel part of the family - almost certainly with a new adoptive name!
All the host families live in Rampur village, a short walk from the nursery.
What else is there
We'll have plenty of time off during the project giving us chance to take part in local activities and festivals and to make the most of some trips and visits we've already organised and are included in the price:
- elephant-back safari - an opportunity to see wildlife (rhino, deer, wild birds, peacock, etc) in Royal Chitwan National Park
- guided tour of village
- cultural evening - music and dancing
- visit to Gyaneshwar community forest
- visit to the town of Nagarkot and
- sightseeing at Devghat and Kalaka, both world heritage sites